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Week 1 Game Recap: Washington Redskins 7, New York Giants 16

What you need to know

Washington Redskins

The Redskins were outscored 71-6 in their last two preseason games and that bad karma followed their offense into the first game of the season. They only converted three of 13 third downs, and entered Giants' territory only three times during the game. Washington's play calling was very suspect at times. They made very conservative calls and tried to establish the run game early, often choosing not to pass on first or second down, leaving themselves with a lot of third and long situations.

QB Jason Campbell just didn't look comfortable in new Head Coach Jim Zorn's offense. Campbell didn't complete a pass until there was only a minute and ten seconds left in the first half. He was only two for six for 25 yards at the end of the first half. He had a lot trouble converting third downs and often faced third and long situations. Campbell did have one touchdown pass to WR Santana Moss, but the Redskins' passing offense was simply out of sync all game. He finished with 133 passing yards, but 93 of those yards came in the fourth quarter as Washington tried to move the ball late in the game.

RB Clinton Portis and running game didn't fare that badly in this contest considering they got no help from the passing game. Washington tried to establish the running game early, but was unsuccessful as Portis had only 34 yards in the first half. Portis ran for 84 yards on 24 carries in the game, including a 23 yard run he almost broke for a very long touchdown run. But the Giants' defensive line played very well. They were able key in on Portis, and hold him to only 3.4 yards per carry.

WR Santana Moss did not have a good game, but did manage to get Washington's only touchdown on a 12 yard reception near the end of the first half. Moss also had a team high ten targets in the game. Another odd thing was how the Redskins used TE Chris Cooley, who led the team in receptions last year. He was nearly invisible, as he had one catch for eight yards, and had only two targets the entire game.

New York Giants

QB Eli Manning got off to a great start as he led the Giants on an 84 yard touchdown drive on the first series of the game. He capped the drive with a one yard touchdown run. He led the Giants down the field three more times in the first half, but was unable to get them into the end zone and they had to settle for three field goals. Manning didn't play as well in the second half, but New York wasn't under a lot of pressure to score more points as Washington's offense sputtered. Manning finished the game with 216 yards passing and one interception.

RB Brandon Jacobs looked great in this game averaging five and half yards a carry as he mowed over defensive backs in the open field each time he broke through the line. The Giants' offensive line did an excellent job of opening holes for Jacobs who finished with a game high 116 yards on 21 carries.

WR Plaxico Burress signed a big contract extension right before the game, and that may have provided extra motivation for him. He came out on fire catching seven balls for 98 yards in the first half. Burress caught a couple of key passes on New York's only touchdown drive to start the game. He caught a 30 yard pass which was the longest play from scrimmage in the game and then made a juggling catch on critical third down play deep in Washington territory that help set up a touchdown. He tied his career high with ten catches for 133 yards.


What you ought to know

QB Jason Campbell, Pass: 15 - 27 - 133 - 1 TD / 0 INT

New Head Coach Jim Zorn brought his West Coast offense with him from Seattle, which will be a change from former coach Joe Gibbs' more traditional offense that Campbell ran last year. The transition to this new offense did not get off to a good start as Campbell did not complete a pass until there was one minute and ten seconds left in the first half. But Campbell's second completion of the game was a 12 yard touchdown pass to Santana Moss who was wide open over the middle of the field with 13 seconds left in the first half. It would be the only points Washington would score in the game. Campbell completed only two of six passes for 25 yards in the first half. Campbell really seemed to struggle throughout the game and had trouble converting third downs. The Redskins' offense often found themselves in third and long situations, and Campbell would throw to the receiver underneath the coverage, instead of going down the field, completing the pass well short of the first down. This seemed to be a recurring theme for him during the game, and more reason to believe that Campbell is not completely comfortable in the new offense yet. Campbell only had 40 yards passing after three quarters, and most of his 93 yards passing in the fourth quarter came late in the game as Washington desperately tried to move the ball down the field.

RB Clinton Portis, Rush: 23 - 84 - 0 (1 targets)

The Giants defense did a decent job in containing what was a good rushing attack for Washington last year led by Portis. He didn't have a lot room to run most of the game and had ten carries for only 34 yards in the first half. His longest carry in the first half came on a draw play up the middle for nine yards late in the first half. The Giants defense seemed to really key in on Portis in the first half as the passing game struggled to complete even one pass. Portis had his longest run of the game midway through the third quarter when broke into the Giants' secondary for a gain of 23 yards. He showed what a dangerous runner he can be on that play and he may have taken it all the way had one of the Giants' defensive backs not slowed him down allowing another teammate to tackle him from behind. Portis did not have much of a role in the passing game, but he did have one catch for eight yards late in the game that was nullified by a penalty.

RB Ladell Betts, Rush: 1 - 0 - 0, Rec: 1 - 11 - 0 (4 targets)

Betts had only one carry in the first half for no yards. He did not get a carry in the second half and had only one reception for 11 yards. Washington did not target their running backs very often in the game. Four passes were targeted at Betts, but three of those came on a desperate, last drive at the end of the game.

WR Antwaan Randle El, Rec: 7 - 73 - 0 (8 targets)

The Redskins revealed shortly before the game that Randle El has a broken bone in his left hand. The injury occurred in the preseason, but he played in this game with a brace on his hand. The injury did not seem to affect him as he led Washington with seven catches for 73 yards. Randle El caught one of the Redskins' two completions in first half. He caught a 13 yard pass on the right side line that helped set the only score for Washington late in the first half. Randle El caught a 26 yard pass up the middle of the field late in the game for his the Redskins longest play from scrimmage in the game.

WR Santana Moss, Rec: 5 - 37 - 1 (10 targets)

Moss had two uncatchable passes thrown to him in the first half but was able get open on a short route over the middle and scored a touchdown with 13 seconds left in the first half. Moss caught the ball on the Giants' six yard line and was able to use his speed to get to the goal line for Washington's only score of the game. Moss' only other scoring opportunity came late in the game when he had another pass thrown to him in the back of the end zone, but the ball went over his head. The Redskins rarely went deep in this game except for late in the game when they were behind. Most of Moss' receptions were on short, quick routes, and he only caught half the passes thrown to him.

WR James Thrash (3 targets)

Thrash did not catch a pass in the game, but did have three targets, including two deep passes late in the fourth quarter.

TE Chris Cooley, Rec: 1 - 7 - 0 (2 targets)

Cooley was pretty much a nonfactor in this game. He caught a pass for 18 yards in the second quarter, but the play was called back because of penalty. It was the only pass thrown to him in the first half as the Redskins' pass game was completely ineffective. Cooley didn't catch his first pass of the game until there were three minutes left in the fourth quarter. He caught a short seven yard pass near the left side line. It appeared that Cooley was used some as a blocker and his only catch came on check down after the pocket started to collapse on QB Jason Campbell. Not a good start for the player who was Washington's leading receiver last year.

PK Shaun Suisham 0 - 0 FG, 1 - 1 XP, 1 points

Suisham saw very little action in this game as Washington only got into New York territory three times in the game. He did add an extra point on the Redskins only score of the game.

WAS Rush Defense

New York's offensive line was able to impose their will on the Washington run defense as the Giants running backs racked up 155 yards on them. This success on the ground also allowed the Giants to hold the ball more then ten minutes longer then the Redskins.

WAS Pass Defense

DE Jason Taylor was questionable coming into this game because of a knee injury suffered in the preseason but he was able to play. It was not a surprise he played considering Taylor has not missed a game since 1999. Taylor only managed two tackles in the game and was not much of a factor in the game. One bright spot for the Redskins defense was LaRon Laundry who had five tackles and a half a sack, but seemed to be everywhere on the field making plays. CB Fred Smoot had the team's only turnover as he intercepted QB Eli Manning in the third quarter.


QB Eli Manning, Pass: 19 - 35 - 216 - 0 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 2 - -1 - 1

Manning picked up where he left off last season by driving the ball down the field for a touchdown on the first drive of the game. After a pass interference penalty that put the ball on the Washington one yard line, the Giants ran a play action with Manning rolling to his right, where he was able to make a move on the defender and plunge into the end zone to cap an 84 yard opening drive. It would be New York's first and only touchdown of the game. He completed 11 of 21 passes for 141 yards, and led them to three field goal drives along with the opening touchdown drive in the first half. Manning and Giants did not do much in the second half, but they really didn't have much urgency as Washington's offense looked terrible and never threatened to close the gap in the game. He only had 55 yards passing in the second half.

RB Brandon Jacobs, Rush: 21 - 116 - 0, Rec: 1 - 8 - 0 (4 targets)

Jacobs and the Giants' offensive line looked like they were in midseason form in this game. The run blocking of New York was excellent as they opened holes for Jacobs all game as he averaged five and half yards a carry. He had 11 carries for 74 yards in the first half. Jacobs consistently punished tacklers as they tried to bring him down. The Giants did have the ball on the Washington one yard line early in the game, but choose to roll QB Eli Manning out on a bootleg where he scrambled for touchdown. That was the only goal line opportunity for the Giants in the game. Jacobs broke his longest run of the game down the left side line for 24 yard gain in the second quarter. The New York offense sputtered in the second half but he added another 42 yards rushing as Jacobs looked very impressive in the season opener.

RB Derrick Ward, Rush: 9 - 39 - 0, Rec: 2 - 21 - 0 (3 targets)

Ward had six carries for 27 yards in the first half. Ward was the primary back up in this game to starting RB Brandon Jacobs as RB Ahmad Bradshaw didn't see any action in this game. Ward had three carries for 12 yards in the second half, and also added two catches for 21 yards.

RB Madison Hedgecock, Rec: 1 - 4 - 0 (2 targets)

The Giants fullback had two passes thrown to him and caught one pass for a four yard gain. His biggest impact was opening holes for RB Brandon Jacobs and RB Derrick Ward who combined for 155 yards on the ground.

WR Plaxico Burress, Rec: 10 - 133 - 0 (10 targets)

Burress may or may not have been motivated by signing a contract extension just prior to the opening game, but he came out on fire in this game. Burress had a big first half, catching seven balls for 98 yards. His first catch of the game was his longest reception of the game; he got wide open down the right sideline for a 30 yard gain. DB Fred Smoot was no match for Burress who used his size and speed to burn Smoot often in the first half. He made a nice juggling catch to the Washington five yard line on New York's only touchdown drive early in the game. He had three more catches for 35 in the second half as the Redskins did a lot more double teaming of Burress in that half. He was the main target for QB Eli Manning as no other player had more then two catches for the Giants.

WR Amani Toomer, Rec: 2 - 12 - 0 (7 targets)

Toomer had two catches for 12 yards and six targets in the first half. One of those targets was a short pass to the corner of the end zone that went incomplete, but did draw a pass interference penalty. In second quarter, QB Eli Manning tried to hit Toomer on a short route in the end zone, but they were crossed up on communication it looked like as he quit running on the route and the ball went incomplete. Toomer only had one target in the second half and zero receptions.

WR Steve Smith, Rec: 2 - 15 - 0 (3 targets)

Smith had one catch for eight yards in the first half and another catch for seven yards in the second half. He was used primarily in three wide out sets as the slot receiver.

WR Sinorice Moss, Rec: 1 - 23 - 0 (1 targets)

Moss caught his only pass for 23 yards and a first down early in the second quarter. The play helped set up the Giants second field goal of the game.

TE Kevin Boss (1 targets)

Boss only saw one pass thrown his way the entire game and had zero receptions.

PK John Carney 3 - 3 FG, 1 - 1 XP, 10 points

Veteran John Carney replaced K Lawrence Tynes who has a leg injury and did not play. Carney made a 24 yard field goal in the first quarter and added a 25 yarder in the second quarter. He would add a 47 yard field goal with two minutes left in the first half.

NYG Rush Defense

The run defense did a good job of containing RB Clinton Portis and holding him to under three and half yards per carry. Defensive tackles Fred Robbins and Jay Alford got good penetration into the Redskins' line all game.

NYG Pass Defense

The Giants defense comes into the 2008 season missing five starters from last year's Super Bowl squad, including DE Osi Umenyiora who went down with a season ending knee injury in the preseason and the retirement of DE Michael Strahan. Umenyiora and Strahan accounted for 22 of the New York's league leading 53 sacks last year. DE Justin Tuck picked up the slack on Giants line as he recorded the team's only sack and had four tackles. There didn't seem to be a big drop off with the Giants front four as they got good pressure despite only having one sack. The other starting DE Mathias Kiwanuka went down with an ankle injury on the last play of the game.