Rick's Report Card: The WFT Loses to Winless Giants
Oh, Riverboat Ron – sometimes you got to hold them and play the long game. Rivera was asked to make more key decisions than most games and won the first two. Flush with confidence, Rivera pushed all of his chips in at the end and busted in a 20-19 loss to the New York Giants.
Several plays decided this game. The defense delivered a good effort, but the offense made enough mistakes to waste it. Washington is now 1-5 and looking like a pretender, not an NFC East contender.
Kyle Allen blew it. He played a relatively steady game with two big mistakes, but still moved the offense twice for potential game-winning drives. And then – poof – he fumbled on a sack and the Giants scored on the recovery to win. Wow, that was cruel. But even crueler was later missing a chance to win on a two-point conversion when there was a route to the goal line. Handful of plays cost Allen and Washington the game.
RUNNING BACKS: C+
Antonio Gibson and J.D. McKissic aren’t flashy, but produced a steady one-two presence as both runners and receivers. Gibson ran nine times for 30 yards and caught four passes for 25. McKissic gained 41 yards on eight carries and six catches for 43 yards. Not flashy, but productive.
Terry McLaurin led with seven receptions for 74 yards. Cam Sims, who seems to have been a developmental project for years, scored at game’s end. Dontrelle Inman was invisible until the fourth quarter and then made two big catches.
TIGHT ENDS: B
Logan Thomas showed perfect instincts on his touchdown catch, including great footwork. Offense isn’t quite relying on him as much as earlier this season, which is good. Thomas does better when used less.
OFFENSIVE LINE: C
Well, the great Saahdiq Charles debut lasted two snaps before his third different injury this season. Not a good look. The line was mixed. Did a few good things. Why, even left tackle Geron Christian made a good play. But, then they just couldn’t stop edge rushers. Overall, a neutral effort.
DEFENSIVE LINE: B+
Maybe Daron Payne’s best game as a pro. He owned the line of scrimmage on the run and batted down a fourth-quarter pass. It would be nice if Payne pushed into the backfield more, but at least clogged the middle. Chase Young’s biggest impact was pressuring Giants quarterback Daniel Jones into an interception. Montez Sweat’s speed across the backfield continues to impress.
They were missing too often in the first half. This team just can’t cover a tight end no matter who has been doing so for oh, five years. Cole Holcomb made a nice impression in gaining more playing time. Kevin Pierre-Louis delivered a knockout hit on a pass. Jon Bostic played his quietest game of the season. Overall, a neutral effort.
Kendall Fuller gained quick redemption after a pass interference call that looked devastating until the cornerback intercepted the next play with strong footwork to turn around the game. Fabian Moreau was beaten on a touchdown, but it was a perfect pass. Safety Landon Collins took some bad angles on play. Is he slowing down or being too conservative?
SPECIAL TEAMS: B-
Kicker Dustin Hopkins missed his first field goal badly, but came back with two later. But, what an ugly offsides kick at the end. Tress Way had his easiest game of the season with just one punt. Suspect decisions by kick returner Danny Johnson cost some yardage.
Give Riverboat Ron some credit taking a late second-quarter penalty and using it to grind a touchdown. Rivera would have been right to just leave the punt on the New York 1, but instead went for a fourth-down conversion that if failing might have cost the game. But, going for two at game’s end was obviously the wrong call. Kick the extra point and go into overtime with momentum.
Rick Snider is an award-winning sports writer who has covered Washington sports since 1978. He first wrote about the Washington football team in 1983 before becoming a beat writer in 1993. Snider currently writes for several national and international publications and is a Washington tour guide. Follow Rick on Twitter at @Snide_Remarks