EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The Washington Redskins suffered a 24-3 loss to the New York Giants at Metlife Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Despite forcing four turnovers (two interceptions and two fumble recoveries), Washington was held without a touchdown and gained just 176 yards of total offense. They also gave the ball away four times; Case Keenum threw an interception on the opening drive, while first-round rookie Dwayne Haskins, who replaced Keenum in the second quarter, was responsible for three picks in his NFL debut. Another costly factor was their continued ineffectiveness on third down, where they finished 2-for-11 (18%).
Defensively, the Redskins allowed second-string running back Wayne Gallman Jr. to total 118 yards from scrimmage and a score pair of first-half touchdowns. They also allowed the Giants to convert 62% (8-for-13) of their third downs during their fourth straight defeat to start the 2019 campaign.
And then there were the penalties -- 12 of them totaling 58 yards -- that hindered the Redskins on both sides of the ball.
“Well, we’re at 0-4 and you’ve got two options -- you can hang your head and feel sorry for yourself, or you can come out and battle your [butt] off next week, which I know we will. We’ll come out and be in a battle,” head coach Jay Gruden said postgame.
"It’s unfortunate. Nobody saw this coming like this -- I sure didn’t -- but here we are. So, reality has set in the last few weeks.”
Check out photos of the Washington Redskins warming up before their regular season Week 4 game against the New York Giants, presented by Bose.
For the second straight game, the Redskins (0-3 NFC East, 0-4 overall) took a shot downfield on their first offensive play. But just like against the Chicago Bears, quarterback Case Keenum overthrew his intended target. Two plays later, Keenum threw his fourth interception in five quarters. That set up New York (1-1 NFC East, 2-2 overall) in plus territory and kick-started their first scoring drive, which ended with Gallman catching a six-yard touchdown from rookie Daniel Jones.
Jones was hardly perfect in his second-career start, as he threw two interceptions to veteran cornerback Quinton Dunbar that allowed Washington to remain within striking distance before halftime. But when Jones avoided Dunbar, he effectively led his team downfield on several occasions. For the game, Jones completed 23 of his 31 passes for 225 yards and a touchdown. He also rushed five times for 33 yards.
As was the case against Chicago, the Redskins defense buckled down in the second half to give its offense a chance to mount a comeback. They did not allow a touchdown after intermission and held the Giants to 156 total yards.
But the offense, which Gruden said was “pretty much inept in all phases” over the final two quarters, never capitalized on their opportunities.
“We are all frustrated in the locker room,” Keenum said after the game. “We all have to play better. It’s a tough league. Everybody is really good, and you can’t do what we did on third down, have penalties, turn the ball over and expect to win.”
A large part of the offensive struggles fell on quarterback play, as Keenum finished 6 of 11 for 37 yards before being benched. In addition to missing Trey Quinn on the opening drive, he missed an even more wide open Quinn for what would have been a 53-yard walk-in touchdown in the second quarter. The play would have cut the Giants’ lead to 14-7 and given the visitors some sort of momentum before halftime. The Redskins punted two plays later.
On the next offensive series, Keenum remained on the sidelines while Haskins ran on the field for the first game action of his NFL career. Initially, the 15th-overall pick sparked an ineffective unit. He completed two of his four passes for 15 yards on his opening drive while also scrambling for a first down inside the red zone. The Redskins failed to punch the ball into the end zone, but Dustin Hopkins’ 21-yard field goal cut the Giants’ deficit to 14-3.
Unfortunately for the Redskins, the rest of his debut was far less inspiring. Haskins finished 9 of 17 for 117 yards and a trio of interceptions, the first of which was returned for a touchdown to basically put the game out of reach. With Jabrill Peppers' 32-yard return, the Giants held a 24-3 lead against a deflated opponent.
"We just have to execute at a higher level," Haskins said. "We have to stop killing ourselves with penalties and that’s just something that we have to continuously work on. It’s not going to happen overnight and I have to keep getting better and keeping working with the receivers, keep working with the offensive line, and do all I can to be in a position to win a game."
Sitting at 0-4, the Redskins will return home for a date with the undefeated New England Patriots next weekend. It’s a daunting task for a winless team, but it’s one Gruden believes will inspire improved performance.
“I know our guys are hungry,” Gruden said. “They’re great guys, they want to play well, they want to do well, they’re going to work at it and we’re going to coach hard at it and we’re not going to give up. We’re not going to quit. We’re going to come out and give New England our best shot.”