Kirk Cousins threw two touchdown passes to compensate for a pick-six, and the Washington Redskins beat the New York Giants 20-10 on Thursday night on a drab field in a drab game between two injury-depleted teams that did not look ready for prime time.
The two NFC East rivals combined for more punts (nine) than points (six) in the first half, which ended 3-all on a pair of short field goals — from 30 yards by New York’s Aldrick Rosas, and 28 by Washington’s Nick Rose. The big play on Washington’s lone scoring “drive” of the half? A 37-yard flag for pass interference on New York’s Ross Cockrell; the entire possession covered 38 yards.
But Cousins led Washington (5-6) on two TD drives in the second half, connecting with Jamison Crowder on a 15-yarder in the third quarter that broke a 3-all tie, and with Josh Doctson on a 14-yarder with 3 1/2 minutes remaining in the game.
In between, cornerback Janoris Jenkins intercepted Cousins’ pass and returned the ball 53 yards to make it 10-all.
That one play involved more yardage than Eli Manning and the Giants (2-9) generated in the entire second half. They gained 47 yards and one solitary first down. One possession end with an interception by Manning, four ended with punts, and another dissolved they turned the ball over on downs.
This was the first time the Redskins had hosted a game on Thanksgiving, and they and the Giants didn’t exactly treat the national TV audience to a thriller. More of a snoozer.
Given the ugliness, perhaps it was fitting that it was contested on a terrible-looking field. A large swath of brown ran down the middle, all the way from one end zone to the other.
Route-runners stumbled and fell for no apparent reason. Redskins back Samaje Perine gained three yards in five carries during the first half, although he did finish the game with 24 runs for 100 yards. Some fans on Twitter blamed the shaky footing for Cousins’ poor throw that turned into Jenkins’ score.
The ineptness was on display all night.
One example: On fourth and one at New York’s 40 with 10 minutes left in the fourth quarter of a tied game, the Redskins sent out the punt unit, drawing some boos. But coach Jay Gruden called a timeout and sent his offense back onto the field. Coming out of that break, Washington made a late personnel change and drew a delay-of-game penalty — Cousins was trying to call another timeout, which would have been a penalty, too — so ended up punting. That elicited more jeers from the home crowd.
Maybe all the issues were a result of being so depleted by injuries: Washington has placed 15 players on injured reserve this season, including its top two running backs, and New York’s total is 14, including star receiver Odell Beckham Jr.
Both offensive lines have been particular areas of concern, and Thursday was no different. The Redskins were missing three starters, while the Giants were using their eighth starting combination of the season.
So maybe it was no surprise that there were 10 sacks, plus penalties for false starts and holding.
In the game’s first eight possessions, the club combined for seven punts and one turnover on downs, when the Redskins failed to convert a fourth-and-1 in Giants territory thanks to Doctson’s dropped pass. Indeed, there were the same number of drops as first downs (four) in that stretch.