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The Loser Papers – 2018 Edition V

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Wow, this season is becoming fun, albeit a lot of work for the editors of TLP. Back to back divisional wins have been rare in recent history, and sacking Sheli Manning 7 times in a great defensive effort, seemingly even rarer. How great was it to see the sad sack QB pouting hit after hit? Along with the stellar defensive play, the resurgence of Adrian Peterson made this the editors favorite game of the season. To celebrate, we bring our loyal readers a trifecta of NY newspaper articles. The first comes from the pages of The New York Daily News:

Giants season only gets worse in loss to Washington

Now that that’s over with, the Giants can continue their firesale.

Eli Manning again showed nothing as his likely Giants farewell tour hit another season low in a 20-13 loss to Washington that looked a lot worse than the score.

Safety D.J. Swearinger intercepted two passes, Matt Ioannidis had 2½ sacks for NFC East-leading Washington.

Adrian Peterson caught a 7-yard touchdown pass from Alex Smith and ran for a season-high 149 yards, with the last 64 coming on a touchdown jaunt with 3:06 to play, as Washington (5-2) matched their best start since 2008.

Dustin Hopkins added field goals of 53 and 39 yards for Washington, who will finish the week with a 1½-game lead in the division. The three-game winning streak is their longest in two seasons.

Washington sacked a battered Manning seven times, forced the two turnovers and made big play after big play in sending the Giants (1-7) to its fifth straight loss.

Aldrick Rosas kicked field goals of 37 and 21 yards for the Giants. Manning, 30 of 47 for 316 yards, hit Evan Engram on a 2-yard touchdown pass with :17 to play.

Eli Manning.
Eli Manning. (Seth Wenig / AP)

Engram also let a scoring chance slipped away at Washington’s 32 when a short fourth-down pass went through his fingers with the Giants down 10-3 early in the fourth quarter.

The Giants came into the game wondering whether the trades this past week of starting cornerback Eli Apple and 2016 All-Pro defensive tackle Damon Harrison would be a problem. The Giants defense was fine. Its offense wasn’t, and Washington’s defense was very, very good.

A major difference was Washington capitalized in the red zone, especially in the first half. Smith (20 of 32 for 178 yards) capped a 10-play, 73-yard drive with a TD pass to Peterson, who stepped out of a tackle by backup linebacker Nate Stupar at the 4-yard line.

The Giants had two trips inside the Washington 20. Swearinger ended the first, stepping inside of Odell Beckham Jr., to intercept a slant pass at the 8-yard line.

Rosas kicked a 37-yard field goal on the second drive after passes of 11 yards to Beckham and 24 to Saquon Barkley, who was limited to 38 yards rushing, got the Giants in scoring position.

Beckham had seven catches for 125 yards.

Hopkins missed a 41-yard field goal after the Swearinger interception.

Washington never lost the lead in the second half as its defense kept Manning ducking most of the day.

And this one from The New York Post:

The defense the Giants have left was almost enough

The players were different, but the result was the same. So was the performance of the Giants defense — good, but not good enough.

For three quarters, the Giants didn’t miss starters Eli Apple (trade), Damon “Snacks” Harrison (trade) and Alec Ogletree (hamstring injury). But when they faded in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s 20-13 loss to the Redskins, those players surely could have helped.

“Defensively, we tried to hold them as much as possible,” safety Landon Collins said. “We didn’t do a good enough job to hold them off.”

As was the case against the Falcons and the Saints the previous two weeks, the defense kept the Giants in the game. The Redskins had just 10 points and were struggling to sustain drives through three quarters, limited to 234 total yards. That changed in the final quarter, after the defense produced a turnover that seemed like it would change momentum.

Collins stripped Adrian Peterson and Olivier Vernon returned it 43 yards, to the Redskins 39-yard line. But the Giants anemic offense predictably couldn’t turn it into points, and Washington reeled off 10 straight points to ice the game, capped by Peterson’s 64-yard touchdown run.

“Every turnover you think is going to be a [difference-maker] and I thought it was going to be big,” Collins said. “But stuff happens.”

They happen frequently to the Giants, who have now lost five straight games. They also could lose more defensive starters by Tuesday’s 4 p.m. trade deadline, as general manager Dave Gettleman appears intent on rebuilding this uneven roster. That could include No. 1 cornerback Janoris Jenkins and maybe even Collins, if the right deal comes along. It doesn’t seem to be weighing too heavily on the young safety’s mind. The trades of Apple and Harrison, Collins believes, was the result of the front office going with the players they want to move forward with.

“I’m just playing it day by day. I love the Giants, they love me,” he said. “You never know, it’s a business. So whatever happens, happens.”

Right now, Collins said he is focused on the team’s many problems, and somehow getting this wayward season on track. He admittedly is “very surprised” to be 1-7 for the second straight season.

“I don’t like it,” Collins said. “It’s awful. It’s a hard feeling.”

It only got worse on Sunday.

And finally, from The New York Times:

Adrian Peterson Leaves the Giants (and Tony Dorsett) in the Dust

Adrian Peterson after running for a 64-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter of the Redskins’ win over the Giants on Sunday.CreditCreditElsa/Getty Images

By Kevin Armstrong

Oct. 28, 2018

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Now 33 and still known as All Day, Adrian Peterson, the Washington Redskins’ punishing running back, concluded his work with a jog up the ramp to the visitors’ locker room on Sunday. He carried with him a memento: the jersey of the Giants’ rookie running back Saquon Barkley, who had written Peterson a message in black marker on his No. 26 when the two exchanged uniforms after the game.

“Thank you for what you did for the game,” the message read. “One of the best to do it. Much respect.”

It was one more acknowledgment of Peterson’s place in the game’s annals. He rushed for 149 yards and scored two touchdowns on Sunday in Washington’s 20-13 win over the Giants, and along the way he passed Tony Dorsett to claim No. 9 on the career rushing yards list.

“It means a lot. He’s a guy I looked up to playing for the Cowboys,” Peterson, who grew up in East Texas, said of Dorsett. “Just accomplishing the things that he accomplished throughout his career, that’s what I always kind of set myself up to be able to accomplish one day. Now that it is here, I can appreciate it and just continue to pass guys.”

Peterson’s odometer now sits at 12,863 yards, but he still showed off impressive speed in pulling away for a 64-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter. With Washington ahead by 13-6 and 3 minutes 16 seconds remaining in the game, guard Brandon Scherff pulled to the right — “ready to hunt,” as Washington Coach Jay Gruden said later — and cleared a path. Peterson pulsed forward through a gaping hole to get out in front of the Giants. Aware that a defender would be looking to dive at his feet in a last-ditch effort, Peterson kicked his legs up after 25 yards.

He then trained his eyes on the stadium video board in front of him to track the distance between him and two defenders. They did not catch him until he crossed the goal line, and one pulled him down by his collar, drawing a penalty. Peterson shrugged it off.

Eli Manning was sacked seven times.CreditElsa/Getty Images

“It’s been a long drought since I broke one,” he said. “It felt good to break through.”

Since signing with the team in August, Peterson has rushed for at least 90 yards five times, and Washington has won all five of those contests. The Redskins are now 5-2 and in first place in the N.F.C. East, while the Giants continued their tumble to 1-7 and last place in the division.

Washington quarterback Alex Smith has enjoyed the front-row view to Peterson’s revival.

“I think it’s the same thing over the course of his career that people have talked about: the combination of the size, the speed and the physicality,” Smith said. “It’s such a unique combination to see those three things, and I don’t feel like he’s slowed down much.

“He’s still running hard, still brings it every play, running with an edge. Fun to see, fun to be back there with him and it’s the same thing: a guy that I think brings a lot of energy to us.”

While Peterson impressed, Giants quarterback Eli Manning, another aging star, failed to keep pace. Manning, 37, was sacked seven times. He completed 30 of 47 passes for 316 yards but also threw two interceptions, including one in the red zone. When asked if he was concerned that the Giants would give another quarterback a look as the team entered its bye week, Manning said: “I have to worry about just doing my job, trying to play and prepare. That is not my decision.”

Peterson has put pain behind him this season. In a Week 5 loss to the New Orleans Saints, he sustained a dislocated shoulder but insisted that he could take a pounding along the way to show his teammates what it takes to win. After fumbling against the Giants, he followed his own advice by keeping his attention trained on the end game.

“For me, it was about locking in, letting that play go,” he said after the game.

As locker room attendants picked up discarded ankle tape and packed his helmet and pads into a burgundy travel bag, Peterson folded Barkley’s blue jersey into a backpack, and said he planned to give his two touchdown footballs to his sons.

He talked about the breakaway run with the reserve quarterback Colt McCoy by his locker stall. McCoy marveled at Peterson’s ability to keep running with defenders giving chase.

“All day, all day,” McCoy said. “You could’ve run home, All Day.”

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