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NT Chris Neild: Neild shined in limited snaps, and to get two sacks out of a rotational player is gravy. His first sack actually resulted from a mistake. He admitted after the game that he rushed through the wrong gap after the Redskins adjusted their blitz call. He bumped into DE Kedric Golston and slipped, and his blocker appeared to turn his attention away at that moment. Neild simply got up and kept after QB Eli Manning. It helped that ROLB Brian Orakpo got around LT Will Beatty untouched on a speed rush. That forced Manning to step up into Neild.

Neild’s quick hands and a hesitation move helped him get past C David Baas for his second sack. He also played low with power against the run, which is key to a nose tackle’s success. On the first play of the Giants‘ fourth series, he anchored in the middle and forced RB Ahmad Bradshaw to change his course to the outside.

P Sav Rocca: He was a major reason why the Giants started only one of their 10 drives after the first quarter beyond their own 20-yard line. He pinned four punts inside the 20. When he has the chance to back a team up, he uses that effective end-over-end style that’s popular among punters with Australian rules football backgrounds. The ball seems more likely to spin back when it’s kicked like that.


SS Reed Doughty: Doughty is on this list because he stood out on two big negative plays, but overall he played a decent game. He had a game-high 10 tackles because he was active in run support. On second-and-20 late in the first quarter, he was 10 yards off the line of scrimmage when the ball was snapped, but his run fit was perfect and he brought RB Brandon Jacobs down for a 2-yard gain. He helped CB DeAngelo Hall double team WR Hakeem Nicks on the play that resulted in the intentional grounding penalty. He also helped set the edge on the third-and-1 stop of RB Ahmad Bradshaw in the fourth quarter.

Doughty made one of the defensive plays of the game when he tackled FB Henry Hynoski 1 yard short of the first-down marker on second-and-five from the Redskins‘ 22 in the fourth quarter. The Giants threw to Hynoski in the flat, and Doughty took the perfect angle and dove to cut Hynoski’s legs out from under him. It was essential because Hynoski had lots of room to run beyond that. That set up the third-down stop, which preceded the blocked field goal.

But if Barry Cofield gets a game ball for two big plays, Doughty has to land here. He was victimized by WR Hakeem Nicks’ double move on a 68-yard pass play that set up New York’s first touchdown.

“I have the ‘dig,’ and I have the ‘dig-and-up,’” Doughty said Monday morning. “It’s really about following him with my eyes through the break. If you watch it, he runs the dig. He runs two steps and looks back at the quarterback. At that point the ball hasn’t been thrown. I probably should have [kept] my eyes on him one more step.

“If it was a dig, I would’ve [intercepted] the ball and I would’ve looked great. That’s not what it was. Really it’s the technique of that situation.”

Doughty also was too far outside and faked out by RB Ahmad Bradshaw on Bradshaw’s 6-yard touchdown run.

“They kept throwing what we call a ‘smoke’ out there,” he said. “So I kind of jumped out for that smoke route, and it was a run. You’ve got to come inside-out in that situation. You’d rather the ball bounce [outside] than cut up inside. That’s no excuse. You have to make a play.”

On the play before that touchdown run, RB Brandon Jacobs rushed for 14 yards. At first glance, ILB Rocky McIntosh appeared to overpursue on the play, but Doughty explained that it’s his job to funnel Jacobs to the inside. He said that in his five years playing the Giants, the tight end releases to McIntosh on that play, leaving him free for the tackle. But this time the tight end came to him. Doughty engaged the tight end straight on instead of maintaining outside leverage and giving McIntosh a chance to make the play.

Coaches can live with mistakes when players make them at full speed and correct them, and that’s what Doughty does. He’s not the athlete LaRon Landry is, but he’s a serviceable reserve stopping the run, as evidenced by his 10 tackles.


Defensive coordinator Jim Haslett increased the frequency of his blitzes after the Redskins took the lead on OLB Ryan Kerrigan‘s interception return. He rushed more than four defenders on only 5 of New York’s first 15 dropbacks (33 percent). After going up 21-14 in the third quarter, though, he blitzed on 9 of the remaining 20 dropbacks (45 percent).

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