Giants fall to Redskins in Season Opener

After winning ten games but failing to make the playoffs in the 2010 season, the Giants came into the 2011 season with high hopes to erase memories of the previous two seasons. Sunday’s game did not start the season in the right direction.

The Giants got out to an early lead. On their second drive, after a 68 yard pass to receiver Hakeem Nicks, quarterback Eli Manning ran the ball two yards into the endzone for his first career rushing touchdown. The Redskins then tied the game on the first drive of the second quarter when runningback Tim Hightower rushed for a one yard touchdown. Runningback Ahmad Bradshaw the gave the Giants another lead with a six yard  touchdown run, but the Redskins tied the game right before the half on a six yard touchdown pass from quarterback Rex Grossman to receiver Anthony Armstrong.

After they came out of the locker room for the second half, the Giants’ offense just stopped working. They gained only 102 yards in the second half after gaining 213 yards in the first half. On the opeing drive of the second half, Redskins’s first round pick, linebacker Ryan Kerrigan intercepted an Eli Manning pass targeted for Hakeem Nicks and returned it for a touchdown.

41 of the 102 second half yards were gained on a third quarter pass from Manning to second year tight end Jake Ballard which set them up well in Redskins’ territory. But the offense stalled again, and the Giants ended up tuning the ball over on downs after Bradshaw was stuffed on a fourth and one play by Redskins linebacker London Fletcher.

The Giants made one more effort in the fourth quarter when defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul strip-sacked Rex Grossman. The Giants got the ball at the Redskins’ 27 yardline, but only gained 9 yards over the next three plays. Lawrence Tynes’ field goal which would have brought the Giants within four points, was then blocked, and the Redskins scored a touchdown on the ensuing drive.

After years of dominance against the Redskins, the 2011 season started differently as the Giants lost 28-14 to their division rivals. Both their offense and defense have a lot of work to do, but the imminent returns of defensive linemen Osi Umenyiora and Justin Tuck (who ended up missing Sunday’s game) should give mourning Giants fans at least a little hope.

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