|REDSKINS 28, GIANTS 14: SCORING SUMMARY|
|Giants||1||Manning 2-yard run||Giants 7-0|
|Redskins||2||Hightower 1-yard run||Tie, 7-7|
|Giants||2||Bradshaw 6-yard run||Giants 14-7|
|Redskins||2||Armstrong 6-yard pass from Grossman||Tie, 14-14|
|Redskins||3||Kerrigan 9-yard interception return||Redskins 21-14|
|Redskins||4||Gaffney 4-yard pass from Grossman||Redskins 28-14|
Redskins.com’s Gary Fitzgerald takes a closer look at Sunday’s season opener against the New York Giants at FedExField:
Amid a moving pre-game tribute devoted to the heroes and victims of Sept. 11, the Redskins opened their season on Sunday with a 28-14 win over NFC East rival New York Giants.
The victory ended a six-game losing streak to the Giants, who have dominated the series in the last five years. And it hasn't really been close.
This time, after a slow start, everything seemed to come together for the Redskins. There were big plays and big performances, led by
On defense, linebacker
So the Redskins are 1-0. Is this a victory that portends great things for this team? Too soon to tell. Yet, on a solemn afternoon, the Redskins lifted the spirits of their fans with a well-deserved win over a division rival.
The Redskins were clinging to a 21-14 lead early in the fourth quarter when Rex Grossman had fumbled after a sack by defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul. The Giants recovered at the Redskins’ 27-yard line and seemed poised to tie the game. The defense stiffened, though, forcing the Giants to settle for a field goal attempt.
REDSKINS PLAY OF THE GAME
Ryan Kerrigan made an impact in his first NFL game. Early in the third quarter, with the Giants starting a drive at their own 10-yard line, Kerrigan rushed ahead and found himself in Eli Manning’s passing lane. He batted Manning’s short pass to wide receiver Hakeem Nicks into the air. Kerrigan reached for the ball and grabbed it. He raced to the end zone for a 9-yard touchdown return.
REDSKINS PLAYER OF THE GAME
Rex Grossman got off to a slow start, misfiring on his first four pass attempts. He worked his way into a rhythm, though, and he finished the game completing 21-of-34 passes for 305 yards and two touchdowns. Pass protection was an issue as Grossman was sacked four times, and he fumbled once. He took the blame for the fumble but he was leveled by defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul on the play. Overall, Grossman overcame the scrutiny of the last week and turned in a strong performance. For this week, at least, he was the right choice as Redskins quarterback.
WHAT WENT RIGHT
-- Third down success was key in the Redskins' win. Rex Grossman and company were 5-of-15 on third downs while the Giants were a woeful 1-of-10.
-- Tight end
-- The stretch play was working well early for new running back Tim Hightower. He picked up 22 yards on a run in the first quarter. He scored the Redskins’ first points of the season in the second quarter on a 1-yard run to the left.
-- The Redskins won most statistical categories on the final stat sheet. They out-gained the Giants in total yardage by a 332-to-315 clip, had five fewer penalties and had the ball for five more minutes.
WHAT WENT WRONG
-- Defensive coaches had to be careful with strong safety
-- On a second quarter drive, the Redskins’ defensive front was pushed off the line allowing running back Brandon Jacobs to bulldoze ahead for a 14-yard gain to the Redskins’ 6-yard line. Next play, running back Ahmad Bradshaw slipped through a hole vacated by a blitzing Ryan Kerrigan and he powered past Reed Doughty and
Who did Rex Grossman turn to after he had misfired on his first four passes?
The red zone was a concern all preseason for the Redskins. On Sunday, the Redskins converted 3-of-4 times inside the Giants 20-yard line on Sunday. The only time they failed to score in the red zone was on Graham Gano’s 39-yard missed field goal.
-- "To start the second half off with an interception and touchdown, that's a tough way to start. We were battling even then. To be in a position to kick the field goal and have the field goal blocked, that was extremely disappointing and that very well may have changed the complexion of the game right there." -- New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin
-- Brian Orakpo suffered a sprained ankle in the first quarter but managed to play the entire game with the injury. The team will monitor the injury heading into Week 2 to see if it swells up.
WHO'S IN, WHO'S OUT
The Redskins' inactives were as follows: wide receivers
The Redskins will face off against the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday, Sept. 18 at FedExField. Kickoff is 1 p.m. ET. The Redskins are 73-44-2 all-time against the Cardinals' franchise. The last meeting between the two clubs was Sept. 21, 2008, and the Redskins won 24-17 at FedExField. Tim Hightower played for the Cardinals the last three years.
Recall that during the Redskins Welcome Home Luncheon on Aug. 24, head coach Mike Shanahan and several players noted that this season could be a “special” one. If that comes to fruition, then Sunday’s win was the first step. The Redskins needed to get past the Giants and prove they can match up with them. Plenty more challenges lie ahead, but this is the fresh start the Redskins needed.