Saquon Barkley was so upset at himself about dropping a pass he apologized to the rest of the New York Giants’ offense.
“I went to line, quarterback, wide receivers and I said: ‘That series is on me. I’m going to make up for it. I promise you guys,'” Barkley said. “And we were able to do that.”
Barkley more than made up for that early mistake, rushing for 170 yards, including a 78-yard touchdown, to surpass 1,000 for the season to lead the Giants to a 40-16 rout of the Redskins on Sunday to effectively end Washington’s already-slim playoff hopes.
Barkley gashed the Redskins’ defense for 12.1 yards a carry to become the first Giants rookie to break 1,000 yards and set a single-season franchise rookie record with his 13th touchdown. The second overall pick also had four catches for 27 yards against a Washington defense that’s a shell of the unit that led the league early in the season.
“We’re starting to figure out that kind of this offense runs through him,” said quarterback Eli Manning, who threw for three touchdowns. “When we’re running the ball well, it just sets up everything else. It sets up the play action and it sets up so much.”
Manning was 14 of 22 for 197 yards in helping New York take a 40-0 lead in the third quarter before giving way to rookie Kyle Lauletta early in the fourth. Sterling Shepard, Bernie Fowler and Russell Shepard caught TD passes from Manning as the Giants (5-8) put up 40 points in a game for the first time since Nov. 1, 2015, and won for the fourth time in the past five games.
“We came down here as a 4-8 team that I feel like we’re getting better,” coach Pat Shurmur said. “We’re playing more in a way that’s evidence that we’re getting better and we’re on the right track.”
The Giants intercepted new Redskins quarterback Mark Sanchez twice with Curtis Riley scoring on a 9-yard pick-6 in the first quarter. It was Sanchez’s ninth career interception returned for a touchdown.
Sanchez, making his first NFL start since 2015, was 6 of 14 for 38 yards and the two interceptions and didn’t have a completion longer than 10 yards. He was sacked five times behind a patchwork offensive line as the Redskins (6-7) lost their fourth in a row.
“It was tough sledding, for sure,” Sanchez said.
SANCHIZE TO JOHNSON
Coach Jay Gruden said “nothing” worked for Sanchez and pulled the plug on his appearance with 5½ minutes remaining in the third quarter. In came newly signed Josh Johnson, the Redskins’ fourth QB this season. Johnson hadn’t appeared in an NFL game since 2013 or thrown a pass since 2011.
Signed after Alex Smith and Colt McCoy each broke a leg and because of his familiarity with Gruden’s offense, Johnson completed 11 of 16 passes for 195 yards, a touchdown and an interception and ran for 45 yards and his first career rushing TD in garbage time.
Gruden said Johnson will start the next game against Jacksonville.
“We’ll get Josh ready to go,” Gruden said. “I think the element that he brings is a little bit of knowing the system.”
When Lauletta relieved Manning, it marked the fourth-round pick out of Richmond’s NFL debut. Lauletta, who is vying to be Manning’s eventual replacement, was 0 of 5 with an interception.
“Obviously I didn’t do very well,” Lauletta said. “Obviously in that situation we’re going to try and just run the clock, some runs, some boots and stuff like that. There’s no excuse. We went in there and just didn’t execute, didn’t get first downs.”
With his pick-6, Riley got some retribution after dropping a would-be interception last week against Chicago. Alec Ogletree’s interception — after Sanchez’s pass went off Redskins receiver Jamison Crowder — was his fourth in the past four games.
Even with all the blue in the stands, FedEx Field had large swaths of empty seats, something that has become the norm this season. The Redskins are 0-4 since cornerback Josh Norman called out home fans for a lack of enthusiasm and said the team played better on the road.
REDSKINS LACK DISCIPLINE
Washington was penalized 15 times for 135 yards. Right tackle Morgan Moses was flagged twice for a false start and became the NFL’s leader in accepted penalties.
Giants: WR Odell Beckham Jr. was out with a quadriceps injury. Shurmur felt earlier in the week Beckham had a good chance of playing, but an evaluation by doctors Friday kept him out.
Redskins: TE Jordan Reed injured his right foot in the first quarter and did not return. … Rookie LB Shaun Dion Hamilton left with a shoulder injury.
Giants: Look for a fifth win in six games when they host the Tennessee Titans on Sunday.
Redskins: Try to avoid a fifth consecutive loss when they visit the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday.
Source: The Associated Press