Check out top photos from the Washington Redskins vs. New York Giants matchup Thursday, Sept. 25, 2014, at FedExField.
Weeks ago, in the dog days of training camp, the Washington Redskins' coaching staff began putting in their game plan for Thursday night's game against their divisional rival, the New York Giants.
The game was circled on the Redskins' calendar because the team knew it'd only have four days of rest between Sunday's contest against the Eagles in Philadelphia and Thursday's nationally-televised game at FedExField.
So with many bumps and bruises still not fully healed as they would be in a normal week – Washington's injury report heading into the game featured 17 players – the Redskins took the field Thursday hoping to even their record, both overall and in divisional play.
But the Giants had other plans. After getting its first win of the season on Sunday against the Houston Texans, New York was able to keep the momentum going Thursday, defeating the Redskins 45-14.
The loss drops Washington's record to 1-3, and 0-2 in NFC East games so far this season.
REVEALING MOMENTThe Redskins had trouble getting things going to begin Thursday night's matchup against the Giants.
New York, meanwhile, was clicking during that same span, and took a 14-0 lead about midway through the second quarter when Washington was finally able to get things going.
The Redskins began their drive at their 20 and had several key plays on the drive, including a nine-yard catch by fullback Darrel Young, an 18-yard run by running back Alfred Morris and a 19-yard completion from Cousins to tight end Niles Paul.
On 1st and 18, Cousins, lined up in the shotgun, threw a high pass towards the back of the end zone, where only his receiver, Andre Roberts, could pluck it out of the air. That's exactly what he did, notching the team's first touchdown of the game and, after the extra point, cutting the lead at the time to 14-7 with 8:57 left in the first half.
Roberts was a key free-agent acquisition for the Redskins this offseason, and even with that in mind, his skillset has been even better than advertised. He should continue to be a major playmaker for the Washington offense -- and special teams -- for the rest of the year.
PLAY OF THE GAME
The Redskins' best play of the game, unfortunately, came with a high price.
On 2nd and 10 at the Washington 31-yard line, Cousins, again lined up in the shotgun, found one of his favorite targets, Paul, with a dart down the middle of the field.
Paul, in traffic, made a terrific grab over the shoulder before his helmet was violently struck by at least one Giants defender's helmets. Despite absorbing a couple huge hits, Paul was able to hold on to the ball and come down to the ground with the ball cleanly, completing the 28-yard pass.
In a scary moment, Paul, for a while, laid motionless on the field as the Redskins' medical staff rushed to his side. He was eventually able to get up and walk off the field, but slowly, and was ruled out from that point on as he was evaluated for a concussion.
It was a heck of a grab by Paul, who took the hit from safety Quintim Demps, who was flagged on the play for unnecessary roughness. Best of wishes and thoughts go out to the Redskins tight end, who has turned in a quality season to this point of the year.
Ryan Kerrigan made headlines two weeks back with a four-sack performance against the Jacksonville Jaguars, tying a Redskins franchise record in the process.
But on Thursday night against the Giants, Kerrigan made several key plays that didn't involve the quarterback – and one big one that did. By the end of the third quarter, Kerrigan had just made three tackles, but all three of the plays came at critical times.
One was a nice play to stuff a run, in which Kerrigan went unblocked, ran straight down the line of scrimmage and wrapped up the back with ease, stopping him short of the end zone.
Then, in the second quarter, Kerrigan earned his NFL-leading fifth sack of the season. On 1st and 10 from the Washington 35-yard line, Manning, in the shotgun, was sacked at the 40-yard line for a loss of five yards.
Finally, with about 10:36 left in the third quarter, the Giants faced a 3rd and 8 from their 44-yard line when Manning, in the no huddle, lined up in the shotgun. He found his favorite target, Victor Cruz, to his right, but Kerrigan was right there in coverage, stopping Cruz three yards short of the first-down marker and forcing a punt.
In a game in which the Redskins weren't able to get much going defensively, Kerrigan made the plays he needed to make. He's turned in a career year so far through four games, and the Purdue product is hoping he's just getting started.
After a stretch in which they played two games in five days, the Redskins will finally get a good bit of rest until they hit the field again.
Washington has an 11-day wait until the defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks arrive Oct. 6 for another primetime FedExField matchup, this time on ESPN's
Monday Night Football*.
The Seahawks are 2-1 this season, good enough for second in the NFC Western Division. They are coming off a 26-20, overtime victory over the Denver Broncos Sept. 21 at CenturyLink Field.
In that game, Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch scored a six-yard touchdown on Seattle's first possession of overtime to seal the victory. The Seahawks had blown a 17-3 fourth-quarter lead to Peyton Manning and the Broncos, who completed a 26-yard touchdown pass and two-point conversion to tie the game with 18 seconds left in regulation.
The Redskins have won six consecutive regular-season games against Seattle, dating back to 2001. The Redskins have not lost a regular-season game to the Seahawks since 1998.
Washington's current six-game regular -season winning streak against Seattle includes a three-game home regular-season winning streak, earning victories in the 2001, 2003 and 2005 seasons.
The teams' last regular-season meeting at FedExField was on Oct. 2, 2005, a 20-17 overtime victory for the Redskins.