Redskins Lose Season Opener to Giants

The Redskins open the season against the New York Giants.
By Jason Reid
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, September 14, 2009

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J., Sept. 13 -- Surveying the field as the offensive line protected him well, Washington Redskins quarterback Jason Campbell was eager to make a big play late in the first half Sunday afternoon against the New York Giants.

Washington struggled early in a Week 1 matchup of NFC East rivals, and Campbell thought he needed only another few seconds to provide a spark, which he did. Unfortunately for the Redskins, Campbell's decision to wait in the pocket proved costly as defensive end Osi Umenyiora forced a fumble, recovered the ball and returned it 37 yards for a touchdown that helped the Giants in their 23-17 victory at Giants Stadium.

Umenyiora's timely play was among many the Giants made in defeating the Redskins for the seventh time in their last eight meetings, this time in front of 78,206. New York set the tone in dominating time of possession in the first quarter -- 12 minutes 11 seconds to only 2:49 for Washington -- and never seemed to lose control.

"They just did whatever they wanted to do. Offense, defense, whatever," cornerback Carlos Rogers said. "I don't know why it is, but they just made the plays. I wouldn't say they're a better team, but they play better against us."

The major improvement on offense the Redskins expected from last season did not immediately occur against the Giants and their formidable defensive line, and Washington also was searching for answers at the outset on defense.

That combination led to a shaky start for Coach Jim Zorn and Campbell, who might not move forward with the franchise if the Redskins fail to accomplish big things this season. Zorn and Campbell had high expectations for the opener, and what occurred was not what either envisioned.

"We had four plays in the first quarter," Zorn said. "I know that the time of possession must have been lopsided until we started moving the ball in the second half. Four plays and the quarter was over. That hurt us a little bit."

Campbell's first-half fumble provided the biggest blow.

With New York leading 10-0 in the second quarter, Washington took over at its 37-yard line. After completing a nine-yard pass to Antwaan Randle El for a first down at Washington's 48, Campbell dropped back to pass again.

Umenyiora beat left tackle Chris Samuels around the edge, slapped the ball from Campbell's hand and then continued to show he has fully recovered from the knee injury that sidelined him the entire 2008 season. Umenyiora, who is listed at 6 feet 3, 261 pounds, scooped up the ball and raced 37 yards for a touchdown that helped give the Giants a 17-point cushion. On the play, Umenyiora was credited with a sack, forced fumble and fumble recovery.

"The route was covered down field. The coverage took the deeper part of the route" away, Zorn said. "Jason was doing the right thing, looking for the underneath, the check-down, and either it got screened or he couldn't see it. He still hung on to the ball. He's got to get rid of the ball. The protection on that particular play was outstanding."

Apparently, Umenyiora surprised himself.

CONTINUED     1        >

© 2009 The Washington Post Company