- The Washington Times - Friday, September 25, 2015

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — The result was supposed to be different on Thursday night against the New York Giants.

This was supposed to be a better Washington Redskins team, one capable of winning its first game in the Meadowlands since last doing so in 2007 when they beat the Giants, 22-10.

After beating the St. Louis Rams, 24-10, the Redskins had an opportunity to take a step forward in the NFC East.

They beat the Rams by dictating the pace of play with a solid rushing attack and a strong defense.

On Thursday, that formula crumbled like a straw hut in a hurricane. MetLife Stadium turned into the Redskins‘ personal House of Horrors. The Redskins fell behind early after a special teams miscue and trailed 12-0 after the first quarter. Cousins had to throw the ball 49 times and completed 30 passes, while throwing two interceptions.

Running back Matt Jones fumbled running into the end zone.

Giants receiver Rueben Randle caught a 41-yard touchdown that deflected off cornerback Bashaud Breeland.

“Nobody played good enough tonight,” coach Jay Gruden said. “Nobody coached good enough to win tonight. Last week, I thought it was a total team effort in the victory. Tonight it was a total team victory in the loss.”

With that, here are three takeaways from Thursday’s defeat.

** Special teams: It was a tough night for Terrance Plummer and the rookie linebacker knew it. On the Redskins‘ first drive, Giants running back Rashad Jennings blocked Tress Way’s punt, which rolled out of the end zone for a safety. Plummer missed his assignment on Jennings, who had a clear lane to block the punt.

The Redskins made an effort to clean up their special teams play against the Rams after allowing a game-winning 69-yard punt return in Week 1. Thursday was another step back and set the tone all the same.

“We’ve just got to hunker down and be better on special teams, man,” Plummer said. “I put that on me from the get-go. I should just work him down inside more, and I just kind of picked up because I didn’t want him to beat me with an outside move. You know, it’s unfortunate, man. I felt like I gave them momentum, but I’ll be better. It definitely won’t ever happen again on my [watch] because I want this team to win, so that’s why.”

** The Redskins win when they can establish the run and take pressure off the quarterback. When Kirk Cousins has to play hero ball, it hardly ends well. The Redskins fell behind early and had to abandon the strength of their offense, running just five times in the second half and finishing with 20 carries.

At this stage of Cousins’ development, it’s difficult for the Redskins quarterback to rescue the team when the game plan breaks down. After falling behind early and having to abandon the run, the Redskins‘ problems were compounded by two interceptions.

“I made a couple bad plays tonight, and I’ve got to find a way to clean those up,” Cousins said. “You know, we did a lot of good things, too, and I feel like there are things we can build on and there are things we can move forward with. We moved the football. I mean, we moved the football up and down the field. It’s just that we didn’t come away with points, and then we had the turnovers, so you know, we’re capable of moving the football, and I think tonight, once again, we were able to do that.”

** The secondary: It was supposed to be a good week for the Redskins secondary following the return of suspended corner Chris Culliver. The trio of Culliver, Bashaud Breeland and DeAngelo Hall was able to play together for the first time since training camp, but that lasted a little longer than just one half. Hall sprained his toe on the Giants‘ fourth play of the third quarter and never returned. That left the Redskins shorthanded, as Manning threw touchdowns to Odell Beckham and Rueben Randle in the second half.

There was a lot that went wrong on Thursday by the time Beckham and Randle scored, but it only added to the issues. If the Redskins wanted to give themselves a chance to win, part of that included keeping the Giants‘ receivers in check.

Without Hall on the field, that is difficult to do. 

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