Five days ago, there was panic surrounding the New York Giants' offense. There was a quarterback controversy brewing in Washington. That all feels like ancient history after the Giantsdispatched the Redskins 45-14 Thursday night in a game that should knock a few wheels off the Kirk Cousins bandwagon. Eli Manning, meanwhile, has rarely looked better.
New York's pass protection has been spotless for the last two weeks and their defense has forced nine turnovers in the Giants' two-game run to 2-2.
Cousins experienced a nightmare performance for the entire country to see. After a solid first half of play, Cousins led six possessions in the second half: interception, interception, three-and-out, interception, interception, three-and-out. Throw in a first-half fumble, and his turnovers (five) matched Eli's touchdowns.
Cousins' turnover problem is not a new phenomenon. He had seven interceptions in five career starts entering the night. He can sometimes get careless with the ball, especially when pressure is on the way. This was a reminder that Cousins is still early in his football development, while Manning is a veteran that is showing increasing acclimation to offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo's system.
The Giants' offense can still add injured first-round wide receiver Odell Beckham to the mix. Victor Cruz has topped 100 yards in back-to-back weeks, Rueben Randle is playing well, and tight end Larry Donnell has turned into a legitimate red-zone weapon. (He had three touchdowns Thursday.) New York hasn't just won two games in a row; they dominated Houston and Washington in all phases of the game. After a disastrous preseason and start to the year, they look positively dangerous.
This was a turning point game in the NFC East. The Redskins are now 1-3 overall and 0-2 in the division; they will be playing catchup all season. The night started with word that the Redskins believe Robert Griffin III would accept a backup role if necessary. Cousins will make that a moot point if he plays like this again.