It’s been a long time since the Super Bowl Champion Giants played a game at the Meadowlands that mattered. They didn’t let the home fans down, as Thursday night they started the defense of their Super Bowl XLII title with a sound 16-7 win over the NFC East rival Washington Redskins.
The storyline of the contest was the Giants defense, which pounded the Skins all night, as well as the ball control offense, which held the ball for over 35 minutes, and pounded out 354 yards. They rushed for 154 yards, passed for 200, and other than one Eli Manning pick, they were pretty much error-free for most of the hot and humid evening in New Jersey.
For the new look Redskins, at least the first 29 minutes of opening night vs the Giants was about as bad as it gets. They were beaten up soundly by a defense that took some heavy shots on Jim Zorn’s new look offense. The Skins managed just 209 yards, 11 first downs, and just 84 yards rushing. They were at one point behind 11-1 in first downs, and that first down came via penalty on a personal foul on a punt.
They finally cracked the end zone late in the first half, taking the ball in on a Jason Campbell to Santana Moss pass that covered 12 yards to make it 16-7 at the half. Little did they know there would not be another point scored all night.
Washington was an awful 3-of-13 on third downs, and that is just one of many stats that told the story. They let the Giants take the opening drive that and march down the field, going 11 plays and 84 yards that ended with the only Giants TD of the night, as Manning ran in a score to make it 7-0.
After a forgettable Skins three play drive that saw them go negative five yards, the Giants again used the swift passing of Manning and the hard running of Brandon Jacobs to march to a field goal. The drive went 9 plays and 45 yards, and saw recently signed kicker John Carney kick a 24-yard field goal with 2:53 left in the first quarter to make it 10-0.
As the Giants continued to march the ball at will, the Skins offense was nowhere to be found. The new look Zorn offense was about as ugly as it could get. Clinton Portis found little room to run, going for 84 hard earned yards on 23 carries (3.7 yards per carry). Campbell was rushed all night, ending the night 15-for-27 for 133 yards. He was sacked on the first play of the game for Washington, and averaged just 4.9 yards per attempt.
Manning started hot, but cooled off and ended the night 19-for-35 for 216 yards with an interception. He found his buddy Plaxico Burress more than a few times on the night, as he caught 10 passes for 133 yards. He was open all night, and pulled in tipped passes and tough catches even when the Skins secondary covered him well.
The Giants will look for a 2-0 mark in 10 days when they travel to St.Louis to take on the Rams. The Skins will be at FedEx Field on September 14th to take on the high powered Saints at 1pm.