The 45-14 loss to the Giants, described by Coach Jay Gruden as a, “total team debacle,” is just the latest in a lineage of dreadful losses to their longtime division rival on their home turf. With 12 games still to go, it may not be a season-killer, but it’s put the patient on life support.
The way I always like to differentiate the good old days from what we’ve lived with as Redskin fans for a generation, is post-Joe Gibbs I. When the Hall of Famer stepped down for the first time after the 1992 season, the fortunes of the franchise changed dramatically.
So, post Gibbs I, here are the fetid five games played at home against the Giants in reverse chronological order.
September 25, 2014, FedEx Field – Giants 45 – Redskins 14 – Kirk Cousins, who was gaining traction as the quarterback hope of the future, took a giant (no pun intended) leap backwards in this one. Cousins was flat out awful, throwing four interceptions and fumbling once. Tight end Logan Paulsen also fumbled, killing a big first half drive. The defense was a joke, with some guy named Larry Donnell catching three of Eli Manning’s four touchdown passes. The loss dropped the Redskins to 1-3 with an upcoming date against the defending champion Seattle Seahawks.
December 21, 2009, FedEx Field – Giants 45 – Redskins 12 – Coach Jim Zorn’s fate had been sealed before this game was played, but new team vice president Bruce Allen said he was “evaluating” Zorn for the following season. If Allen had any doubt whatsoever that Zorn had to go, it was probably erased by the now infamous “swinging gate” play. Down 24-0 with two seconds left in the first half, the Redskins lined up for a field goal attempt. Seeing an odd formation, Giants coach Tom Coughlin called timeout. After the timeout, Zorn called for the same gadget play with the same formation and – what do you know – the Giants were ready for it. Under pressure, holder Hunter Smith threw a pass into the end zone, but was intercepted by Bruce Johnson. Said John Gruden, broadcasting the game on ESPN, “I’ve never seen that play and I hope I never see it again.” Zorn explained, “I contemplated just having the field goal (after the timeout). The play was unique enough that I didn’t think they saw what we were trying to do. But they smelled it out pretty quickly. We didn’t really have a chance.” The loss dropped the Redskins to 4-10. Twelve days later, Zorn was fired.
December 3, 2000, FedEx Field – Giants 9 – Redskins 7 – This one came down to a field goal attempt in the final minute of the game, which was the last defiant act of coach Norv Turner. Setting up for a 49-yarder, holder Tommy Barnhardt called timeout to tell Turner that the Redskins 44 year old kicker, Eddie Murray, couldn’t kick it 49 yards. Turner said, “Kick it anyway.” Murray kicked it and it came up short. Aside from the 97-yard touchdown drive engineered by Jeff George, who Turner despised but had to play after Brad Johnson was injured, the Skins did nothing offensively. The loss dropped them to 7-6 with playoff hopes still alive. But hours after the game, Turner was fired, three games short of completing his seventh season. Under interim coach Terry Robiskie, the Redskins were blown out in their next two by Dallas and Pittsburgh, ending the Skins playoff hopes.
November 23, 1997 – Jack Kent Cooke Stadium – Giants 7 – Redskins 7 OT – Yet another prime time disaster. The Sunday night ESPN audience was treated to a disgusting display of football, which included Redskins starting quarterback Gus Frerotte knocking himself out of the game by head-butting the wall. Jeff Hostetler was ineffective as Frerotte’s replacement. He did get the Redskins in field goal range late in the overtime, but Michael Westbrook, enraged about a call, took his helmet off on the field. It cost the Redskins a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. It meant Scott Blanton game-winning attempt was from 54 yards instead of 39. And of course it missed. On losing Frerotte in the first half, Coach Norv Turner said, “I never thought to tell a guy not to bang his head into a wall.” The Redskins just missed the playoffs at 8-7-1. A win instead of the tie would have gotten them in.
October 10, 1993 – RFK Stadium – Giants 41 – Redskins 7 – It was only the fifth game of the season, but what coach Richie Petitbon had promised after replacing Gibbs – “Business as usual,” wasn’t going to happen. This was the Redskins worst home loss in 45 years. Petitbon declared the team as being at “rock bottom.” Included in New York’s 27-7 halftime lead was a 42 yard option pass from Dave Meggett to Mike Sherrard for a score. Darrell Green, then in his 11th year, said about the torching, “It was the most disappointing and embarrassing game I can remember since I’ve been a Redskin.” The Skins would go on to lose five of their next six and finished the season 4-12. Petitbon was fired after his one and only season as head coach.