Suddenly, Eli Manning looks like one of the more accurate quarterbacks in the land, with a new offensive system helping him and the New York Giants bounce back from a rough start and beat the Washington Redskins 45-14, while Kirk Cousins turns into an interception machine, making the declarations regarding his superiority seem a bit premature.
Kirk Cousins threw four interceptions and the Washington Redskins turned the ball over six times in general in their second consecutive loss to a division rival, and what turned out to be a huge blow to all the theories about Cousins being better than Griffin. Well, maybe he is, but this kind of performance makes it very hard to back that notion with facts. He completed 19-of-33 passes for 257 yards and one touchdown pass and almost like a completely different player than the one who looked so confident and capable in the narrow loss to the Eagles four days earlier.
Eli Manning on the other hand? He did throw an interception, but that was forgotten as he completed more than 70% of his throws once again (66.9% for the season) and threw four touchdown passes. The first three were to Larry Donnell, the come-out-of-nowhere tight end who wasn’t even drafted after playing for Grambling State. The other one went to Daniel Fells, as Manning had a lot of short field situations to work with, and did very well with the new system, focused on keeping things short and simple.
The first turnover came on Washington’s first drive, with Mathias Kiwanuka sacking Kirk Cousins and stripping the ball away. That gave Manning just 24 yards to work with and score a touchdown. The Redskins kept moving, but the Giants’ front four made things very difficult for Cousins, who doesn’t have the legs to get out of this situation. The Giants opened up a two touchdown lead before the Redskins got back in the game, but then the turnovers came back to haunt them.
Early in the second half, Cousins led a nice drive that was capped off by Alfred Morris scoring a 22-yard run for a touchdown. The Redskins got a stop, and were on their way to make it a one possession game (24-14 at the time). But then came an interception, and although Manning threw a pick himself, Cousins was intercepted on the next drive as well, and the touchdown Manning scored on the next drive, connecting with Fells, killed the game. Cousins kept making more mistakes after that in a desperate attempt to get back in the game.
The New York Giants have this deceptive quality about them. For moments, they look like the complete package. The secondary is aware and ball-hawkingly good, the front seven do an incredible job of penetrating and not giving the offense time. The running game is a threat again with Williams and Rashard Jennings. Eli Manning is capable of avoiding mistakes and keeping things simple for most of the time.
But these are the Washington Redskins. Playing with a backup quarterback behind a bad offensive line. A team with a terrible defense and probably still a season away from fixing all of the problems laid down to them during the troublesome Mike Shannahan era. It’s more than just a good or bad quarterback or even a bad day. This team has problems down to the core, and sometimes, they all come out to haunt them at the same time, making for a very depressing evening of football for the home fans.