Redskins gain ground with win over Giants
LANDOVER, Md. — The Washington Redskins’ offense on Thursday night didn’t look very much like the juggernaut that piled up yardage while scoring 61 points in the previous two games.
That was OK with coach Jay Gruden.
Kirk Cousins fired a 14-yard, go-ahead touchdown pass to Josh Doctson with 3:31 left, and the Redskins defeated the New York Giants 20-10 at FedEx Field, snapping a two-game losing streak.
“We’re not interested in stats here. We’re interested in wins,” Gruden said. “Thankfully, the defense played a great game and ... you could see the offense wasn’t moving the ball very well for the Giants and field position was important.”
The win capped a banner Thanksgiving for the Redskins (5-6), as two of the teams ahead of them in the NFC wild-card race — the Detroit Lions and the Dallas Cowboys — both lost.
On the decisive drive, a defensive-holding penalty wiped out a third-down sack, giving Washington another chance at the New York 48. Cousins soon hit Jamison Crowder for 17 yards to the 16-yard line, and two plays later he found Doctson in the corner of the end zone.
“We’re trying to work (tight end) Niles Paul down the sideline off play-action and hope that we can get the defense to bite on the fake. They didn’t bite,” Cousins said. “Josh did a good job trying to sell run to the right ... he’s supposed to sell that, sell that, sell that and then whip out of it and be an outlet for me late.
“He did the rest, he got separation and made a great catch and kept his feet inbounds.”
Crowder, who has come on over the past four games, finished with seven catches for a season-high 141 yards and a touchdown. Washington running back Samaje Perine carried 24 times for 100 yards.
Cousins was 19 of 31 for 242 yards with two touchdowns and a pick-six.
Washington’s Nick Rose added a 33-yard field goal with 1:49 remaining.
The Giants (2-9) generated three points on offense and netted 170 total yards, 39 in the second half. They picked up seven first downs, and Eli Manning was 13 of 27 for 113 yards and one interception. He was sacked four times and pressured throughout the game.
“We just never got into a great rhythm,” Manning said after New York went 2 of 14 on third down. “It was just first down, second down, third down. We weren’t able to get some drives and slow down that pass rush. They did a good job.”
Rookie tight end Evan Engram, who had a team-leading 41 catches coming in, finished with three receptions for 18 yards but also had three drops.
“Yeah, our margin for error is small with the way things are right now,” Giants coach Ben McAdoo said.
With the game tied at 3 in the third quarter, Washington took over at midfield following a punt. On a blitz, Cousins found Crowder open, and the catch and run was good for 33 yards.
The Redskins went backward, and on third down Cousins avoided the rush, rolled to his right and passed 15 yards to a wide-open Crowder in the end zone with 6:32 left in the third. It was Crowder’s first touchdown of the season.
“It was really a play that Kirk made,” Crowder said. “Off-schedule kind of play. I had a corner route and Kirk was able to get out of the pocket and I was just kind of able to settle in the end zone between the defenders and he was able to find me.”
On Washington’s next possession, Cousins’ left cleat got stuck in the turf as he threw, and his high pass was tipped by running back Byron Marshall. New York cornerback Janoris Jenkins reeled it in at his own 47 and raced down the sideline, cut toward the middle and scored to tie the game.
After an unappetizing first 15 minutes of scoreless Thanksgiving football, the offenses picked things up a bit in the second quarter.
On third-and-14 from his 24, Manning found Roger Lewis Jr. for a 19-yard gain. That sparked a 16-play, 60-yard drive that took more than eight minutes and ended with an Aldrick Rosas 30-yard field goal.
“We had plenty of opportunities, especially in the first half,” McAdoo said. “On offense, we didn’t capitalize on the opportunities.”
Following a Giants punt, a 37-yard pass interference penalty on Ross Cockrell gave Washington a first down at the New York 11, but the Redskins settled for a 28-yard field goal by Rose with 13 seconds left in the half.
NOTES: Giants WR Sterling Shepard (migraines) missed his second consecutive game. Also inactive for New York were T Justin Pugh (back), LB Calvin Munson (quad), DL D.J. Fluker (toe) and LB B.J. Goodson (ankle). Giants CB Eli Apple was a healthy scratch. ... The Redskins were without LT Trent Williams (knee), TE Jordan Reed (hamstring), S Montae Nicholson (concussion), LB Martel Spaight (ankle) and C Chase Roullier (hand). Roullier was filling in for C Spencer Long, who went on injured reserve this week due to a leg injury. ... With his first-quarter sack, Redskins LB Ryan Kerrigan (two sacks) became just the fifth player since the sack became an official stat in 1982 to record at least 7 1/2 sacks in each of his first seven seasons. ... Giants LB Curtis Grant (knee) left the game in the first half.