Best and worst moments from the Redskins’ 20-10 win over the Giants on Thanksgiving.
Best play: The Redskins took the lead for good with 3:31 remaining on a 14-yard touchdown pass from Kirk Cousins to Josh Doctson. The completion, which came off play-action, was a rare thing of beauty in a game full of dreck.
Best sack: Junior Galette has had a quiet season, but his sack-fumble of Eli Manning on New York’s next possession was his biggest play as a Redskin and gave Washington the ball deep in Giants territory. A Nick Rose field goal with 1:49 remaining all but iced the game (and helped the Redskins cover the seven-point spread). Kendall Fuller finished the job by intercepting Manning on the Giants’ final drive.
Best postgame snack: The Redskins, who improved to 5-6 with a trip to Dallas on deck, celebrated with turkey legs on the field after the win.
Worst fiasco: Cousins’s touchdown pass to Doctson and Galette’s timely sack helped Washington overcome another clock management disaster. Facing fourth and one at the New York 40-yard line early in the fourth quarter, Redskins Coach Jay Gruden sent his punt team on the field before deciding to go for it. Gruden called a timeout to get the right personnel on the field, or maybe he called timeout to discuss plans for the weekend, because the stoppage was followed by nothing but confusion from Cousins and the Redskins’ offense. With the play clock winding down, Cousins frantically tried to call another timeout, which would’ve been a penalty. After Washington was flagged for delay of game, Gruden sent the punt team back in.
Best touchdown: It took 16 possessions and nearly 40 minutes minutes of game time, but those who braved the cold and, in some cases, ditched their families to attend the first Thanksgiving game at FedEx Field finally saw a touchdown when Kirk Cousins and Jamison Crowder connected on a 15-yard score in the third quarter. Crowder’s first touchdown of the season and the ensuing extra point gave the Redskins a 10-3 lead, and given how much the Giants’ offense had struggled, we could all be thankful that the likelihood of this snoozer of a game going to overtime decreased significantly in the process.
Worst turnover: Welp. New York went three-and-out on its next possession, but would tie the game minutes later, when Janoris Jenkins intercepted a Kirk Cousins pass that deflected off of running back Byron Marshall’s hands and returned it 53 yards for a touchdown. Despite being limited to 131 yards of offense, the Giants were even.
Worst turf monster: Cousins’s left foot appeared to get caught in the turf before he released the ball on Jenkins’s interception, which may have contributed to his high throw.
Worst field: This game deserved this field, or maybe this field deserved this game. Either way, the FedEx Field turf, especially between the numbers, looked as if it had been recently plowed by monster trucks outfitted with snow tire chains. Turkey Bowls were contested in backyards in better shape than the field in Landover.
Worst injuries: The Redskins were again without three of their regular starters along the offensive line. With Spencer Long and his backup, Chase Roullier, injured, Tony Bergstrom started at center. Ty Nsekhe and Arie Kouandjio started for the injured Shawn Lauvao and Trent Williams at left tackle and left guard, respectively. The results weren’t always pretty, as the line committed several penalties and allowed six sacks.
Best running game: The Redskins’ patchwork offensive line deserves credit for paving the way for another strong outing by Samaje Perine. The rookie finished with 24 carries for 100 yards, almost all of them coming in the second half.
Worst deficit: The Giants struck first on a 30-yard field goal by Aldrick Rosas with four minutes remaining in the first half. New York marched 60 yards on their plodding, 16-play scoring drive, which was one fewer yard than Washington managed on their first four possessions.
Best points: Hey, what’s this? The Redskins scoring points, instead of allowing them, just before halftime? It’s a Thanksgiving miracle. Josh Doctson drew a 37-yard pass interference penalty on Ross Cockrell to give Washington a first down at the Giants’ 11-yard line with less than a minute to play in the second quarter. The Redskins ultimately settled for a Nick Rose field goal to tie the game, but for a team that had been outscored 41-17 in the final two minutes of the first half, it was a positive sign.
Worst awareness: On third and 15 from the Washington 45-yard line late in the first quarter, Cousins found Doctson on a comeback route for what should’ve been a first down, except the second-year wide receiver stepped out of bounds a yard short of the sticks. One play later, Giants cornerback Darian Thompson broke up a pass intended for Doctson and New York took over on downs.
Best defense: Washington limited New York to 47 yards in the second half, 170 yards in the game and seven first downs. The Giants were 2 for 14 on third down. Manning was 13 of 27 for 113 yards.
Worst turkey: It wasn’t quite the “butt fumble” or Leon Lett touching a blocked field goal in the snow, but… After Washington went three-and-out on its first possession, Redskins safety Pete Robertson fielded Tress Way’s punt inside the Giants’ 10-yard line and proceeded to run into the end zone. That’s a touchback! Robertson’s teammates, including Quinton Dunbar and Fabian Moreau, couldn’t believe it. Dunbar made a great play to down a punt deep in Giants territory on the possession that preceded Washington’s first field goal.
Worst offense: The Redskins and Giants combined for 50 yards and one first down on their first five possessions. With all the punts, the only drama was whether Robertson would make the same mistake again. (He didn’t.)
Best catch: Crowder’s one-handed grab was the only good offensive play of the first quarter. That’s not an exaggeration. Crowder had a game-high seven catches for 141 yards and a touchdown.
Worst deja vu: Facing third and one on their first possession, the Redskins handed the ball off to Perine. The rookie running back was stopped for no gain, just as he was late in the fourth quarter in New Orleans on Sunday with a chance to ice the game.
Best pressure: Redskins linebacker Ryan Kerrigan joined some exclusive company with his first-quarter sack of Eli Manning, becoming the fifth player to record at last 7.5 sacks in each of the first seven seasons of his career. Kerrigan sacked Manning again on the first play of the second quarter to end a Giants drive.
Best record: The Redskins are only 3-7 all-time on Thanksgiving, but they’re still undefeated (2-0) against teams not named the Cowboys. Eight of Washington’s nine previous Thanksgiving games were against Dallas. The Redskins shut out the Lions in 1973.
Best costume: Happy…Halloween? This kid showed up to FedEx Field dressed as embattled Giants Coach Ben McAdoo. He could probably deliver a more riveting halftime speech than the real thing.
Worst fact: Vernon Davis, Kirk Cousins and Morgan Moses are the Redskins’ only three offensive players to start all 11 games this season. That’s crazy.
Best dedication: During player introductions, the Redskins played a video in honor of Sean Taylor, who was murdered 10 years ago this week.
Best clips: It’s a shame the football game got in the way of Vernon Davis and Jay Gruden explaining their favorite Thanksgiving side dishes during the first half.