Redskins Out-Slog Giants for a Turkey-Day Win

November 24, 2017

By Steve Thomas

The Washington Redskins defeated their division rival New York Giants Thursday night by a score of 20 – 10 in the first-ever Thanksgiving Day home game for the Redskins franchise. It was a sloppy game between two teams that seemed unmotivated and incapable through large stretches of the night, and was highlighted by backup players on both teams receiving significant playing time due to the state of injury to starters, particularly for the Redskins..  The bottom line, though, is that the Redskins got the win and kept their fleeting playoff hopes alive for another week.

The first quarter was a slow, poorly-playing affair for both teams, as neither the Redskins nor the Giants did much of note on offense.  The Redskins appeared to be suffering from the effects of their extensively injured roster and the short week, as they were unable to get anything at all going, punting twice and turning the ball over on downs after failing on a 4th down conversion.  Fortunately, the Giants suffered from the same problem, and the quarter ended in a 0 – 0 tie.

The second quarter brought more of the same, as both teams continued bringing poor play.  The Giants got on the board first with a field goal after a long drive down the length of the field.  Kirk Cousins finally saw some success later in the quarter with a 38 yard strike to a wide-open Jamison Crowder, but the drive then stalled and the team ultimately had to punt.  The Redskins got on the board in their last possession of the half thanks to a pass interference penalty drawn by Josh Doctson on a deep fly route down the sidelines brought Washington into Giants territory.  The Redskins were unable to convert into a touchdown, however, and were forced to settle for a Nick Rose field goal.  The teams went into the locker room tied at 3 – 3.

The Redskins continued to look flat in the third quarter, although Jamison Crowder began to pile up some of the best stats of the year for a Redskins wide receiver.  Washington eventually managed a touchdown on a connection by Cousins to Crowder under pressure.  Washington proceeded to give the points right back, however, on a 52 yard pick-6 interception on a play in which the errant throw appeared to be caused in part by Cousins’ toe being caught in the extremely poor Fed Ex field turf.  The quarter ended in a 10-10 tie.

Excitement finally came in the game’s final period, as Washington got their running game going, led by rookie Samaje Perine, who finished the day with 100 yards rushing on 24 carries.  Head coach Jay Gruden later commented on Perine’s performance, stating, “[h]is vision was really good today….he was very decisive with his cuts today.  They’re not all going to be there…he ran hard today and had great vision.”  Cousins led the team on its most impressive drive of the day late in the fourth quarter, going 60 yards in just 8 plays, scoring a touchdown on an impressive Cousins – Josh Doctson connection to put Washington up by a score of 17 – 10.  The Redskins later tacked on a game-sealing Nick Rose field goal to make the final score 20 – 10.

The Redskins were not without significant faults, though, as the team was flagged with multiple, unexplainable delay of game penalties.  In addition, Cousins had more errant throws than is his custom, and linebacker Pete Robertson inexplicably ran a punt recovery into the end zone, gifting the Giants with a touchback instead of being backed up inside their 10.  In addition, the patchwork offensive line gave up 6 sacks to a Giants defense that, coming into the game, had been ranked last in the NFL in number of sacks.  All is well that ends well, though, in that despite the mistakes and generally poor play, particularly in the first half, the Redskins were still able to come away with the victory.  Gruden echoed that sentiment after the game, stating, “[e]verybody was good.  It’s always really pretty when you win.  It doesn’t matter statistically or what happened.”

Kirk Cousins finished the day with 201 yards, completing 19 of 31 passes, with 2 touchdowns and 1 interception.  Jamison Crowder posted 7 catches for a career-best 141 yards, despite suffering a knee injury midway through the contest.  Linebacker Ryan Kerrigan got his 8th and 9th sack of the year.  Also, after many weeks of getting pressure on quarterbacks but barely missing, Junior Galette got his first full sack of the year.  On the Giants side, the Redskins held quarterback Eli Manning to just 77 yards passing.  Mercifully, Washington appeared to escape without significant new injuries, although Zach Brown, Perine, Crowder, Matt Ioannidis, and Morgan Moses all missing time.  Guard Tyler Catalina was forced to play right tackle for a short period of time due to Moses’ injury.

The Redskins next travel to Dallas to meet with the struggling Cowboys for their second Thursday night game in a row.