There was a lot of laughter and smiles in the Washington Redskins’ locker room, the exact opposite of what was happening down the hall where the New York Giants were dressing.
It’s the difference between winning and losing.
The Redskins (5-2) are winning these days. They won their third in a row and kept their 1½-game lead in the NFC East with a 20-13 win over the hapless Giants, who are 1-7 for the second consecutive season.
“We feel good, but, we can’t get too excited,” said Adrian Peterson, who rushed for 149 yards and scored two touchdowns, one on a 64-yard run and the other on a 7-yard reception. “We know there’s a lot we need to work on, and that we can improve on. So, we’ll take this win for what it is, and get ready for this next game.”
Washington, who got two interceptions by D.J. Swearinger, returns home to face Atlanta on Sunday. The Giants have a bye but their future may change in the next two days.
The NFL trading deadline is Tuesday. New York dealt cornerback Eli Apple and defensive tackle Damon Harrison last week. There could be more moves with cornerback Janoris Jenkins, linebacker Olivier Vernon and probably anybody else who will bring assets to help rebuild a team that has four wins in 24 games.
Quarterback Eli Manning, who was sacked seven times, indicated he wants to stay and won’t waive his no-trade clause.
“Everyone wants to win,” said Manning, who threw for 316 yards. “No one likes this feeling after a game. That is what you are fighting for. You prepare to feel good about the work that goes in. Guys are working hard, practicing hard and doing all of the right things.”
They just aren’t winning.
The key to the Redskins success has been their defense, particularly against the run. Washington has held opponents under 100 yards in four straight games and five of seven. A week after limiting Ezekiel Elliott of Dallas to 34 yards, rookie Saquon Barkley of the Giants was held to 38 on 13 carries, with a long of 9 yards.
Redskins linebacker Zach Brown said he was yappy with Barkley, the No. 2 pick in the draft.
“Come here rook,” Brown recalled. “We want to introduce you to this game real quick. We don’t care what round you are. You can be All Pro. We don’t care. We just emphasis the run. You are not running the ball.”
The first meeting of Peterson and Saquon Barkley was clearly won by the veteran. The 33-year-old gained a season-high 149 yards on 26 carries, capped by a late 64-yard touchdown that iced the game. He also caught his first TD pass with Washington. He passed Tony Dorsett for No. 9 in league history and now has 12,863 yards. He is the fourth player in the NFL with at least 140 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown in a single game at age 33 or older, joining John Henry Johnson (1964), John Riggins (1984) and De Angelo Williams (2016). Barkley, the second pick overall in the draft, gained 38 yards rushing on 13 carries and caught nine passes for 73 yards.
Swearinger was angry because Pro Football Focus listed him as their top safety and didn’t post his picture. He took it out on the Giants.
“This was the first week they didn’t put the number one’s picture up,” Swearinger said. “I feel like that was disrespect so I tweeted them and said make sure they watch this game today, because I wanted to show them that I am the best safety in this game and I’m going to keep doing that every game, week in and week out, so they just got to get mad at me.”
The Giants offensive line has struggled all season, but this was their worst effort. They allowed Manning to be sacked a season-high seven times. He now has been sacked 31 times this season. “I didn’t know it was that many,” center Spencer Pulley said. “That’s ridiculous. That’s something we can’t allow, at all.”
Manning said each sack had its own story. Some were coverage sacks. Some were linemen getting beat. Some were him not getting the ball out fast enough.
“I think we’ve got to get the run game going,” tackle Nate Solder said. “There’s some other things we need to work at. If we could get that going, that would solve some other problems.”
Odell Beckham, Jr. had eight receptions for 136 yards. He caught eight passes for 143 yards last week in Atlanta. This is the first time he’s had at least eight receptions in each of two consecutive games since Nov. 1-8, 2015, when he had eight and then nine at New Orleans and Tampa Bay. These are his first consecutive 100-yard games since he had six in a row in 2015.
Source: The Associated Press