The Redskins posted 31 and 36 points in their last two games, so the team entered Sunday's game against the New York Giants feeling confident on offense.
But this was the Meadowlands, where the Redskins have seemingly struggled for years. It's the only stadium in which a Joe Gibbs-coached team has been shut out: 17-0 in the NFC Championship game in 1987 and 36-0 last year.
Add into the mix that the Giants were 1-2, desperate for a win and coming off a bye, and you have a recipe for a tough game.
The Redskins' struggles at Giants Stadium continued in a 19-3 loss. Washington dropped to 2-3 and last place in the NFC East through five weeks. Perhaps most frustrating: the Redskins are 0-2 in the division and 0-3 in the conference.
On Sunday, the Redskins' offense was out-gained 411-164 in total yardage and held to just 10 first downs. The offense was 3-of-11 on third-down conversions.
"We couldn't get anything going," Gibbs said. "We couldn't get a spark."
Clinton Portis led the offense with 76 rushing yards on 19 carries. Chris Cooley caught four passes, including two to convert third downs, for 41 yards.
Mark Brunell completed 12-of-22 passes for a season-low 109 yards. He was sacked three times.
Defensively, the Redskins yielded pass plays of 44, 46 and 27 yards in the first half to set up Giants' scores. Running back Tiki Barber rushed for 123 yards on 23 carries while quarterback Eli Manning was 23-of-33 for 256 yards and one touchdown.
In the first half, it was a game of field goals.
The Redskins scored first, midway through the first quarter, when John Hall connected on a 39-yard field goal. The score capped a 10-play, 42-yard drive that seemed to suggest that the Redskins' offensive woes from last year's 36-0 loss were behind them.
The drive included a 15-yard roughing the passer penalty, called on defensive tackle William Joseph. The penalty occurred on a 3rd-and-11 play and kept the Redskins' drive alive. Brunell then completed a 17-yard pass to Santana Moss to get the Redskins into field goal range.
On 3rd-and-4 from the Giants' 21-yard line, Brunell's pass to Portis bounced off his hands. Hall's field goal split the uprights, giving the Redskins a 3-0 lead.
The lead would be short-lived, as the Giants responded with a scoring drive of their own. Manning, facing a blitzing Lemar Marshall, completed a 44-yard pass over the middle to wide receiver Amani Toomer, who had a step on Mike Rumph.
The play gave the Giants a first down at the Redskins' 10-yard line. Two plays later, Manning connected on an apparent touchdown pass to Toomer, but the play was called back when tight end Jeremy Shockey was called for offensive pass interference.
The Giants had to settle for a 24-yard field goal by Jay Feely to tie the game at 3-3.
The Giants used another big play to take a lead in the second quarter. Manning completed a 46-yard pass to wide receiver Plaxico Burress to give the Giants a first down at the Redskins' 22-yard line.
The Redskins defense clamped down again, stopping Barber on two runs and holding the Giants to a 34-yard field goal by Feely.
Trailing 6-3, the Redskins had not played well offensively, but the defense was keeping the game close with strong play in the red zone.
On one drive midway through the second quarter, the Redskins struggled to overcome penalties. Brunell guided the offense into Giants' territory, but within a four-play span, the Redskins were called for two false start penalties and a delay of game. Washington was forced to punt.
Late in the second quarter, the Giants increased their lead to 9-3 as Feely converted a 32-yard field goal with two seconds remaining in the first half.
The Giants drove 84 yards on 18 plays, with Manning spreading passes around to Barber, Shockey and Toomer. Manning's 27-yard pass completion to wide receiver Tim Carter with 19 seconds left put the Giants in Feely's range.
The Giants received the second-half kickoff and controlled the clock for nearly eight minutes on an impressive 15-play drive.
Barber reeled off runs of nine, five and seven yards in the first six plays, while Manning completed passes to running back Brandon Jacobs and Burress.
On a key 3rd-and-16 play, Manning completed a 21-yard pass to Toomer for a first down at the Redskins' 5-yard line. One play later, Manning floated a pass to Burress in the end zone, and the 6-5, 232-pound receiver pulled it in for a 2-yard touchdown catch.
The score gave the Giants a commanding 16-3 lead.
The Redskins' offense had opportunities in the second half to narrow the Giants' lead. Midway through the third quarter, Brunell completed several passes to Cooley to get the Redskins into Giants' territory again. But a 3rd-and-1 screen pass to Cooley was batted away and the Redskins were forced to try a field goal..
Hall's 42-yard attempt kick sailed wide left, and the score remained 16-3.
Midway through the fourth quarter, the Redskins were desperate for a big play to get them back into the game. Brunell dropped back to pass on 3rd-and-13 and threw a deep ball to Brandon Lloyd along the left sideline. Lloyd was well-covered, though, and the ball sailed beyond his reach.
In three fourth quarter drives, the Redskins' offense was unable to pick up a first down.
Meantime, the Giants were content to grind out the clock with Barber, who rushed for 100-plus yards for the third time in his career against the Redskins. Late in the fourth quarter, the Giants tacked on a 40-yard field goal by Feely, rounding out the scoring at 19-3.
The Redskins head out on the road for the third time in four weeks, this time traveling north to New Jersey where they take on the New York Giants at the Meadowlands. Kickoff is 1 p.m. ET.
Sunday's NFC East matchup has added significance because Washington is 0-1 in the division and 0-2 in the conference. Both of the Redskins' wins this season have come against AFC opponents.
The Redskins-Giants game will be broadcast on FOX. Locally, WTTG-FOX 5 will televise the game. Dick Stockton calls the play-by-play, with color analysis from Daryl "Moose" Johnston. Tony Siragusa serves as sideline reporter.
On radio, the game will be broadcast on Triple X ESPN Radio (94.3, 92.7 FM and 730 AM). Larry Michael handles the play-by-play with color commentary from Redskins legends and NFL Hall of Famers quarterback Sonny Jurgensen and linebacker Sam Huff. Bram Weinstein will serve as sideline reporter.
Washington is coming off a dramatic 36-30 overtime win over the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday, Oct. 1.
The Giants are coming off a bye week. Two weeks ago, the Giants lost to the Seattle Seahawks 42-20 at Qwest Field to drop to 1-2 on the season.
The Redskins and New York Giants have played each other every year since 1932, with the Giants leading the series 82-60-4. The two teams have played each other more than any other team in each club's history.
The Redskins and Giants have split the season series each of the last three years.
Washington defeated the Giants 35-20 on Dec. 24 at FedExField last season, the fourth of five consecutive wins leading to a Wild Card playoff berth. Earlier in the season, on Oct. 30, the Giants handled the Redskins 36-0 at Giants Stadium.
The Redskins and Giants have played just once in the postseason, in 1986 when New York defeated Joe Gibbs's Redskins 17-0 in the NFC Championship game at Giants Stadium. The Giants went on to win the Super Bowl.
REDSKINS-GIANTS NEWS & NOTES
- The top three NFL offenses all reside in the NFC East. The Eagles are ranked first, the Giants are ranked second and the Redskins are third. The Dallas Cowboys are ranked sixth. The four teams also rank 1-4 in the NFC.
- The Redskins rank second in the NFL--behind the Philadelphia Eagles--in average yards gained on first down, picking up 6.38 yards on first-down snaps.
- With the Redskins' victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars last Sunday, there are only two NFL teams remaining that a Gibbs-coached team has yet to post a victory against. Carolina has yet to play a Gibbs-coached team, but will do so in Week 12 this season. The only other team the Redskins have not beaten under Gibbs is the Baltimore Ravens. The Gibbs-coached Redskins lost a 17-10 decision to the Ravens in October 2004.
- In wins over the Houston Texans and Jacksonville Jaguars the last two weeks, the Redskins post 481 and 495 yards respectively. The last time the Redskins recorded back-to-back 400-plus yard games was in September 2003, when they gained 435 vs. Atlanta and 456 against the New York Giants.
- Family ties: Redskins wide receiver Santana Moss is the older brother of Giants rookie wide receiver Sinorice Moss.
- More family ties: Redskins director of pro personnel Louis Riddick and Giants defensive coordinator Tim Lewis are cousins.
FAMILIAR FACES ON THE GIANTS
Linebacker LaVar Arrington played for the Redskins from 2001-05. He was the Redskins' first-round draft pick (second overall) in the 2000 NFL Draft and earned Pro Bowl selections in 2001-03.
Quarterback Tim Hasselbeck played for the Redskins from 2003-04.
Long snapper Ryan Kuehl played for the Redskins from 1996-97.
Running back/kick return specialist Chad Morton played for the Redskins from 2003-04.
Linebacker Antonio Pierce played for the Redskins from 2001-04.
Offensive line coach Pat Flaherty served as tight ends coach with the Redskins in 2000.
Tight ends coach Michael Pope served as tight ends coach with the Redskins from 1997-99.