The game clock read 6 minutes 30 seconds. Very little burgundy and gold could be seen throughout the stands at FedEx Field, and as the New York Giants marched toward their sixth touchdown of the game, the several thousand blue-clad fans that remained chanted, “Let’s go Giants! Let’s go Giants!”
Once again, the Washington Redskins found themselves headed toward another loss to their oldest rivals, the 10th defeat in the past 13 meetings, and the clock wouldn’t wind down fast enough.
The game eventually ended, with the majority of the announced crowd of 80,573 well on its way home and the Giants having throttled the Redskins, 45-14. Washington fell to 1-3, and its losing streak against NFC East opponents extended to eight games.
Six turnovers, near non-existent pass coverage and 11 penalties proved too much for Washington to overcome.
Looking drastically different than in his two previous outings this season, quarterback Kirk Cousins threw four interceptions, all in the second half, and lost a fumble. He completed 19 of 33 passes for 257 yards — a far cry from the 427-yard, three-touchdown performance against Philadelphia on Sunday. Tight end Logan Paulsen had the ball stripped from his grasp for the other turnover. Washington’s offense succeeded on only 1 of 8 third downs and rushed for just 86 yards.
Meanwhile, the defense — particularly the secondary — struggled in its first game without captain and top cornerback DeAngelo Hall, who ruptured his left Achilles’ tendon on Sunday.
Eli Manning and his crew had their way with Washington’s previously stout defense. They racked up 449 yards (295 passing, 154 rushing) and the 45 points scored represented a season high.
Manning completed 28 of 39 passes for 300 yards, four touchdowns and an interception. He also rushed for a touchdown. Three of his touchdown passes went to tight end Larry Donnell, while the other went to another tight end, Daniel Fells. Running back Andre Williams rushed for another.
“By no means can we put the blame on Kirk for this one,” Redskins Coach Jay Gruden said. “This was a total team debacle.”
The coach later added, “We were abysmal. . . . Not a lot to say. Total butt-kicking from offense, defense, special teams. We just have to regroup, get our guys healthy and come back to work. ”
After racking up 75 points, 960 yards and only one turnover in their two previous outings, the Redskins’ offense found itself in an early hole thanks to a first-quarter turnover. Giants defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka blew by right tackle Tyler Polumbus and got to Cousins, sacked him and stripped him of the ball. Defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins recovered at the Redskins’ 24-yard line.
Six plays later, Manning found Donnell in the back of the end zone for a five-yard strike over linebacker Perry Riley Jr.
The Redskins’ offense continued to sputter, largely because of self-inflicted wounds.
On first down from the 27, Cousins threw a 15-yard dart to Pierre Garcon, but the play got called back because of a holding call on left tackle Trent Williams. Three plays later — on third down — Polumbus was called for holding. Cousins had thrown an incompletion while under pressure, so the Giants declined the penalty and brought on fourth down.
New York’s offense, meanwhile, was humming. Manning & Co. needed only six plays to go 75 yards and score — on a six-yard pass to Donnell, who was covered loosely by safety Brandon Meriweather.
Washington’s offense finally broke through on its fourth possession.
Cousins kept the Giants off balance by spreading the ball around to five receivers, and in between received an 18-yard run from Alfred Morris. The quarterback capped the drive with an 18-yard toss to Andre Roberts for Washington’s first touchdown.
But the defense still had no answer for Manning and Donnell. The two connected for another six-yard touchdown pass, this time on a pass to the corner, where Donnell used his size (6 feet 6, 265 pounds) to his advantage versus rookie cornerback Bashaud Breeland (5-11, 197). Breeland had tight coverage, and he went up at the same time as Donnell, but Manning put the ball in the ideal spot, and the defensive back had no chance.
The Redskins got the ball back one more time in the second quarter. Washington pieced together a drive, but Paulsen was stripped of the ball at the end of a five-yard reception. New York took over at the 18, and the Redskins’ defense offered next to no resistance. Manning completed 4 of 6 passes, including a 29-yarder to Victor Cruz to set up place kicker Josh Brown for a chip-shot field goal that gave New York a 24-7 lead at halftime.
“Eli did a good job of getting the ball out. He knows we have a good pass rush, so he was getting the ball out quick,” Breeland said. “We couldn’t get to him, and he was getting the ball to receivers fast. They were the better team tonight. They just outplayed us.”
Washington showed signs of life to open the second half.
Morris ripped off a 20-yard touchdown run to cap a five-play, 83-yard scoring drive. But the production ended there.
The third quarter proved the ugliest for Cousins, who completed 3 of 9 passes for 79 yards and threw three interceptions while posting a 26.9 passer rating. Six plays separated two of his interceptions — both deep in Redskins territory. He also had another in the fourth quarter.
“I was trying to get everything back in one play and you can’t do that,” Cousins said. “That’s not the way it’s going to come back. I was starting to force things and do too much and didn’t stay true to my reads. I’ve got to learn from it, but not a good outing tonight.”
More on the Redskins and NFL :
The Takeaway: With big shoes to fill, Cousins stumbles
Game summary: Giants 45, Redskins 14