Reviewing the four things to watch we identified entering Sunday’s Redskins-Giants game:
1. FLUSTERING ELI
Entering the game: Giants quarterback Eli Manning had already set a career-high in passing yards (4,105) and Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks both merit Pro Bowl attention – both are over 1,000 yards receiving.
What happened: The Redskins had three sacks, four quarterback hits and a season-high three interceptions. Manning was a dreadful 23-of-40 for 257 yards (a lot came in garbage time). Cruz and Nicks had five catches apiece, but none went for longer than 20 yards. O.J. Atogwe, DeAngelo Hall and Josh Wilson had interceptions for the Redskins.
2. FOUR STRAIGHT FOR HELU
Entering the game: Redskins running back Roy Helu responded to his starting assignment with three consecutive 100-yard rushing games (a Redskins rookie record). The Giants were ranked 30th in yards allowed.
What happened: Helu endured tough sledding, rushing 23 times for 53 yards (2.3-yard average) and having no rushes of longer than eight yards. But the Redskins still achieved 100-plus yards rushing thanks to Evan Royster’s 36 yards and 14 apiece from Darrel Jones and Anthony Armstrong. That kind of production helped the Redskins hold a 10-minute edge in time of possession.
3. TIME FOR A TRICK PLAY
Entering the game: The Redskins surprised the Patriots last week by putting Brandon Banks on the field (first time all year), handing him the football and letting him throw it – 49 yards to Santana Moss – for a touchdown. Now it’s time for the special teams to open the playbook.
What happened: Nothing on special teams, but the Redskins’ offense started with a flea-flicker – Rex Grossman to Helu, back to Grossman, but the Giants’ Corey Webster had the interception downfield. Later, Armstrong and Niles Paul, both receivers, had rushes.
4. ACCOUTING FOR PIERRE-PAUL
Entering the game: The Giants have 36 sacks this year and Jason Pierre-Paul has developed into a start with a team-high 12.5 sacks. It will be a test for rookie left tackle Willie Smith.
What happened: Pierre-Paul was New York’s best player – 16 tackles (incredible for a defensive end), one sack and three quarterback hits. The one sack didn’t come against Smith, who made his first NFL start. Young had bad technique and Pierre-Paul was unblocked.