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Giants defense suffers letdown in Week 3 loss to Redskins

Olivier Vernon of the New York Giants knocks

Olivier Vernon of the New York Giants knocks Kirk Cousin of the Washington Redskins to the field at MetLife Stadium on Sept. 25, 2016 in East Rutherford, N.J. Photo Credit: Mike Stobe

The hole was just one point deep Sunday when Washington began a journey on the MetLife Stadium turf from its own 25 with 7:53 showing on the fourth-quarter clock. The Redskins moved mostly via the ground route, collecting yards and draining time.

When they stalled at the Giants’ 19 after 10 plays, Dustin Hopkins drilled the go-ahead 37-yarder through the uprights with 1:51 left. One interception later, Washington’s winless run and the Giants’ undefeated run to start the season were over in the Redskins’ 29-27 victory.

So the Big Blue defense felt kind of blue about that drive.

“I think anybody on defense would tell you that,” linebacker and captain Jonathan Casillas said of the disappointment, “that basically they ran the ball down the field. They took control of the clock and did what they wanted to do and kicked the winning field goal. So it was not our best series for sure.”

This game represented a step back for an upgraded defense that ranked as the worst in the NFL last year but stood eighth after wins over Dallas and New Orleans, allowing an average of 308 yards.

This time, the Giants allowed 403. Just 90 came rushing, on 30 carries. But 37 of those yards came on the winning drive, including important runs of 12 and 10 yards by Matt Jones.

“It’ll give us a big chip on our shoulder going into next week,” linebacker Devon Kennard said.

The Giants cut off five drives at a field goal but yielded two lengthy pass plays for touchdowns. Kirk Cousins completed 21 of 35 passes for 296 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions.

“We’ve got to tackle a lot better and execute a lot better,” Casillas said.

Two plays after the Giants grabbed a 21-9 lead in the second quarter, Cousins found DeSean Jackson in the end zone for a 44-yard score. There was a question whether the ball hit the ground, but the replay review confirmed the touchdown.

“I got my hand in and disrupted it a little bit,” cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie said. “Now whether he caught it or not, that’s not on me.”

A 55-yard touchdown to Jamison Crowder in the third quarter was on many of the Giants’ defenders because it was just a little screen pass.

“It’s a bitter taste in everybody’s mouth that we didn’t get that win,” Kennard said. “But we’re 2-1. It is what it is.”

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