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Turning points of the game

These two plays helped the Redskins defeat the Giants.

1. Ryan Kerrigan’s 9 yard interception return for a touchdown.

When Eli Manning checked out of the orginal play call,the Redskins knew what was coming.  Manning said he called an audible on the play for a quick throw to Hakeem Nicks, a play the Giants ran often today on account of the Redskins cornerbacks giving Nicks a big cushion at the line.  Unbeknownst to Manning and the Giants offense, the Redskins defense sniffed out the play. Cofield might have been trying to get Kerrigan’s attention, but the rookie claims he knew what was coming anyway, according to a breakdown by SBNation.com. Then again, maybe Cofield provided the buzz word in advance scouting. You could tell from his look after the audible he was saying to Kerrigan, “You heard that, right?”

This is called a tell.  What is a tell?  In the book, The Education of A Coach written by the late eminent author David Halberstam,(pg.116) A tell was a tip-off or an unconscious sign from the other team-the way a halfback positioned his feet differently on a pass play than on a running play, or the way a tight end might line up and what it would say about the ensuing play.  By informing his players with knowledge, this allowed Bill Belichick teams to adapt game by game to what was coming. 

And in this case, the Kerrigan touchdown turned out to be the game winning touchdown.  We did mention in Saturday’s post of the possibility that a tell would tip the scales in the Redskins favor.  Later, it is outrageous to find out after the fact that Gilgenius did not change the audibles. UltimateNYG Pete: “I would like to point out that Barry Cofield KNEW the play when Eli was picked. He shifted over as did a couple of Redskins he keyed and Kerrigans reaction to a “cut block was totally opposite what it should be as you never leap when a guy is coming at your knees and feet. Cofield knew the play!!”

Furthermore, Eli’s lapse in judgment has to be questioned too.  With the ball on the Giants NINE yard line, why did he elect to throw a sideline pass?  The reason is the Redskins corners were giving too much cushion.  Okay.  On the contrary, with the poor field position the Giants had, the chances of a ball being tipped and intercepted on a sideline route increases.  This type of play call reminded me of the infamous Kerry Collins sideline pass nine years ago. Justin Lucas intercepted Kerry Collins‘ ill-advised sideline pass to the sidelines and returned it 38 yards for the game-tying touchdown with 4 seconds left in the first half.  In a brief halftime television interview, Giants coach Jim Fassel said, “I’ll never be that stupid again in my lifetime.” After the game, Fassel said that he didn’t call the pass play but did give it the green light.
“The last thing I said was `Be careful, get the ball down the field,”’ Fassel said. “We throw it in the flat, and it will never happen again. It’s supposed to go down the field.”
Collins said he went on the field intending to take a knee and go to halftime with a 7-0 lead, but he got a message to change the play.  “I was looking for something on the sidelines. They were in a prevent. I was just trying hit Tiki in the flat,” Collins said. “I didn’t see the guy (Lucas) and obviously didn’t throw it the way I needed to throw it.” 

2. The other pivotal play in this game was the blocked field goal.  Trailing 21-14 with 11:05 left in the game, Coughlin decided to send out the field goal unit.  Still nursing a thigh injury suffered in the Carolina preseason game, placekicker Lawrence Tynes’ 38 yard attempt was blocked by Brian Orakpo.  This play was significant for two reasons.  The Giants were not able to cut into Washington’s lead. And quarterback Rex Grossman marched the Washington offense on a 10 play game clinching touchdown drive which ate up 5:53 off the game clock.  Needless to say, when the Giants got the ball back, the game was mostly out of reach.  After the game, head coach Tom Coughlin said the blocked field goal changed the complexion of the game.  In fact, according to Coughlin, it was all on Tynes.  “There was penetration on the left side and the ball was not elevated well,” coach Tom Coughlin said.. another Giants game which has special teams misadventures. Although Tynes did not own his mistake (he later changed his mind), he complained about not being in kicking shape.  “I got some work to do,” he said. “My endurance is awful, after pregame I was gassed. It’s going to take time, going to take another couple of weeks to get back in kicking shape.” If this is the case, this raises several questions.  Are we going to see another mishap against the Rams?  Is his range limited?  Knowing Tynes was not in kicking shape, why did they let go of Lloyd?

Summary: Turnovers and shoddy special teams play cost the Giants a victory.

Lacking a reliable slot receiver, the Giants signed veteran WR Brandon Stokley. The signing of Stokley means the Giants do not trust Cruz and Manningham.  Let us hope Stokley has something left in the tank.  Can he beat press coverage?  Can he find creases in a zone? Has he lost a step?  Vikings Coach Leslie Frazier said. “If you’re a slot receiver you’re as valuable as the No. 2 and sometimes the No. 1 receiver because that’s the guy getting a lot of throws to move the sticks. Look what [Wes] Welker did as a complement to Randy [Moss] in New England. Those guys’ value has really risen.  Move the sticks. Move the chains. The Giants did not do this against the Redskins.  What was the Giants third down conversion percentage on Sunday? TEN PERCENT!  That is atrocious.  Until the Giants can find a guy, perhaps Stokley is a short term answer.  If he can contribute, it is a major uptick.   But for the long term, not having Steve Smith stings. And losing him to the Eagles was stealing.