- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 29, 2019

EAST RUTHERFORD — Dwayne Haskins stood up from the bench, grabbed his helmet and jogged onto the field.

With the Redskins looking lifeless for the fourth straight week, coach Jay Gruden turned to his rookie quarterback midway through the second quarter, benching starter Case Keenum. The Redskins were in search of a spark, anything to help them win.

But in Sunday’s 24-3 loss to the New York Giants, Haskins‘ season debut wasn’t enough to rally the Redskins to a victory, nor will it quiet the speculation regarding Gruden’s job status. Washington mustered only three points against a defense that had given up the second-most yards prior to the game.

Haskins struggled — tossing three interceptions and completing only 52.9% of his passes (9 of 17 for 109 yards). He was sacked twice.

The Redskins viewed this as a must-win game. After three straight losses, Gruden found himself on the hot seat — with some reports indicating a loss against the Giants could cost the coach his job.

Making matters bleaker, Washington entered Sunday’s matchup missing key contributors on offense. Rookie wideout Terry McLaurin, who led the team in receiving yards through three weeks, was scratched with a hamstring injury after being listed as questionable. The Redskins were also thin along the offensive line, with starters Chase Roullier (knee) and Brandon Scherff (ankle) out.

From the start, the Redskins looked hopeless. On their first drive, Keenum opened the game by badly overthrowing a wide-open Trey Quinn down the field. Two plays later, he was picked off when targeting Robert Davis, McLaurin’s replacement, on third down.

On a short field, the Giants moved the ball with relative ease — though they were helped out when Gruden accepted an offensive holding call on third down, despite his defense making the stop.

Gruden had hoped by pushing the Giants back, the Redskins could knock them out of field goal range. New York, however, not only gained 15 yards on the following play, but converted a fourth-and-2 to keep the drive alive. The Giants scored when rookie quarterback Daniel Jones hit an uncovered Wayne Gallman in the flat for the 6-yard touchdown.

The next few series for the Redskins were just as torturous. Washington’s second drive stalled due to two straight penalties — a hold from Geron Christian and a false start from Donald Penn — and Keenum taking a sack on third down.

When the Giants took over on their own 6-yard line, they marched down the field and benefitted from three Washington penalties. The Redskins’ defense was again disorganized, letting Gallman break free for a 22-yard run down to the 1-yard line. Gallman punched it in a few plays later for a 14-0 Giants lead.

Later on, the Redskins got a break they had been searching for. Cornerback Quinton Dunbar picked off Jones, putting Washington in a favorable situation to start a drive.

Keenum, though, couldn’t capitalize. He again missed Quinn on a play-action shot up in the seam, overthrowing the slot receiver. The Redskins went three-and-out, leading the Redskins to turn to Haskins.

After Dunbar grabbed another interception, setting up the Redskins on New York’s 37-yard line, Haskins was solid to start.

He found Kelvin Harmon for nine yards and then completed a pass to Quinn for six. He displayed some athleticism, scrambling for a 14-yard gain. But the drive stalled out and the Redskins settled for a 21-yard field goal.

In the second half, Haskins struggled. The Ohio State product tried to force a pass to tight end Jeremy Sprinkle, only to see Giants safety Jabrill Peppers jump in front of the route and return the pass for a 32-yard touchdown.

Later in fourth, Haskins targeted Paul Richardson one-on-one and cornerback Janoris Jenkins grabbed it.

Jenkins grabbed another interception with just more than two minutes left. Vernon Davis wasn’t expecting the pass and the ball bounced off his hands, bouncing right to Jenkins.

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