Giants’ defense gave team a chance to win despite trades
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Trading cornerback Eli Apple and 2016 All-Pro defensive tackle Damon Harrison in the last week wasn’t the reason the New York Giants lost to the Washington Redskins.
The new-look defense, which was also missing injured linebacker Alex Ogletree, actually was the reason the Giants had a chance to win in the 20-13 loss Sunday that sent New York (1-7) to its fifth straight defeat.
It limited Alex Smith and the Washington offense to 13 points, and didn’t break down until Adrian Peterson scooted around the right side on a 64-yard touchdown run with 3:06 to play to open a 20-6 lead.
“I think the guys stepped up,” Giants linebacker Olivier Vernon said. “I think the guys that had to step up stepped up and made the plays that they needed to make. We just came up short.”
With Eli Manning and the offense struggling most of the game, the defense almost came up with a game-changing play late in the third quarter. Safety Landon Collins forced Peterson to fumble on a first-down run from the Giants 17.
The ball hit the ground and Vernon scooped it up and ran 43 yards to the Redskins 39 with Washington clinging to a 10-3 lead.
Following an incompletion, a pass to Odell Beckham Jr., for a 2-yard loss and a 9-yard pass to Bennie Fowler. The Giants had a fourth-and-3 at the Washington 32.
Washington played a zone, as Giants coach Pat Shurmur expected, and tight end Evan Engram ran a 4-yard curl pattern. Manning put the pass in his hands and he let the ball slip through his fingers.
“I thought we had what we were looking for, we’ve just got to execute it,” Shurmur said.
On the sideline, Collins’ frustration was evident.
“Every turnover you think is going to be different and I thought it was going to be big, but stuff happens,” Collins said. “They got a good defense over there, they’re doing a great job over there with their defensive coordinator and their guys that they have over there, and they got the stops.”
Manning, who was sacked seven times, said no one likes losing. He said the players are working hard and competing, but they are just not making enough plays, especially on offense.
“We just have to keep fighting,” said Manning, who threw for 316 yards but was intercepted twice by safety D.J. Swearinger. “The defense gave us a chance today and played outstanding. Offensively, we have to do our part. We are not scoring enough points. We are playing in close games and we are just not finding ways to win them, unfortunately.”
Beckham was at a loss to explain what’s happened to the team this season. After posting a 3-13 record last season, much more was expected in Shurmur’s first season.
“It’s definitely not where I want it to be, it’s definitely not what I envisioned this team being,” Beckham said of the record going into a bye week. “It’s definitely not why I worked the hardest I could have worked all offseason to come back and give my very best. I just don’t feel like on Sundays I get do that. If there is any frustration, that’s where the frustration comes in. All I want to do is come in and do whatever I can to help this team win.”