In Round 2 vs. Redskins, Giants depend on familiarity, momentum

Sam Spiegelman

It took a 77-yard strike from Eli Manning to Victor Cruz with 73 ticks left in the game to defeat RGIII and the Washington Redskins in their first meeting.

Since then, the Giants and ‘Skins have each embarked on their own journeys.

New York has been searching for an identity after dropping two of their three games following the 27-23 vs. Washington. But after a week away from the grid iron and a 38-10 rout of the the Packers Sunday night, the defending champs appear to be on track.

Washington too dropped two straight following their loss to the G-Men, then secured two victories over Philadelphia and Dallas in each of the last two weeks.

Keep in mind, however, Philly and Dallas have a combined record of 8-14.

Washington has momentum, but their wins have largely come against inferior teams.

In their five wins — New Orleans, Tampa Bay, Minnesota, Philly and Dallas — the teams have a combined their of 25-31. In their six losses, in contrast, teams are a combined 37-29.

Have the ‘Skins turned a corner? Justin Tuck expressed there may be value in familiarity.

“We were the first team to play (RGIII) twice, but they’re going to change some things up … They’re going to have some things in this game plan that they didn’t necessarily feature in the first game plan,” Tuck said. “They’ve been so successful because you have to play them honest and when we you’ve got an athlete like they do at quarterback, playing them honest gives them the upper hand.”

The electric rookie, RGIII, has been playing with veteran poise of late.

He’s thrown for more than 500 yards, 8 touchdowns vs. 1 interception in the last two wins, and rushed for more than 100 yards. On the season, his video game-esque numbers read 2,500 yards via the air, 642 on the ground and 22 total touchdowns.

In their first meeting, though, New York limited RGIII to about 350 total yards, two touchdowns and an interception. Head coach Tom Coughlin believes the rookie has improved since then, but his team has taken notice.

“He’s getting better, no question. He’s got the numbers to prove it. What you notice is the effectiveness with the completion percentage and the yardage that’s attained,” Coughlin said. “You’re obviously going to do some tweaking of how we played them … but if you’ve got something to build from it’s easier for the players to relate to and that’s where we started on defense.”

On the other side of the ball, the Giants’ offense scored the second fewest point total (27) in a win against Washington.

Manning managed a 337-yard performance, but threw two picks. The Giants’ backs totaled 60 yards, and will head into Monday night without goal-line specialist Andre Brown.

Cutting down on those turnovers, Manning said, will be the biggest point of emphasis for the offense as they prepare for Round 2 with the surging ‘Skins. And it didn’t hurt to get on track last week vs. Green Bay.

“We were very good at third-down last time. We were pretty good in the red zone getting touchdowns. We played pretty well most of the game, except for those two turnovers,” he said. “It’s good to see the offense clicking and making plays. (The) whole offense is playing better football.”

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