The play by play info you see is taken from the official NFL game book, then I add my own commentary after each play (or most of them, anyway).
This is just what I saw and is certainly not conclusive, so feel free to chime in with your own observations. If you have the game recorded on DVR or have a subscription to NFL rewind, I highly recommend you play it back while reading.
L.Tynes kicks 64 yards from NYG 35 to WAS 1. B.Banks to WAS 25 for 24 yards (D.Thomas; D.Grant).
This kickoff, which bounced on the 8 yard line before Banks caught it at the1, prompts me to repeat a point about the new kickoff rule. Any kicker that couldn’t routinely get the ball past the 5 before still won’t be getting it into the end zone now. And I’m sure you remember that a large number of kickoffs have always landed short of the 5 (in fact, if you’re a pre-Gano Redskins fan, we’ve been watching kickoffs land at the 10 or even 15 for years). And kicks just a few yards into the end zone will get returned anyway. This rule change will significantly increase the number of touchbacks, but the kick return has not been eliminated from the game.
As for a note pertaining to this particular game – I did not notice this watching the game live but after getting in a jawing match with one of the Giants after the return, Banks flips the ball in the guy's face before walking away. If a ref had been nearby I assume that could have been 15 yards.
Washington Redskins at 15:00, (1st play from scrimmage 14:54)
1-10-WAS 2 (14:54) T.Hightower right tackle to WAS 29 for 4 yards (G.Jones).
Cooley kicks out the blitzing OLB, and Montgomery and Chester each ride their DLs down the line while maintaining sufficient control that Hightower can cut back behind them. However, Trent tries to cut his DE and fails while Lichtensteiger gets a clean release to the (backup) MLB but fails to lock on, limiting this run to only an average gain.
2-6-WAS 29 (14:22) T.Hightower left end to WAS 29 for no gain (C.Canty).
I’m pretty sure Fred Davis blew his assignment here. He dashes to the outside despite having no unaccounted for defenders there, then tries to recover as a LB drives into Trent, who is already engaged with the DE. Davis is too slow to get back in position, however, and only fills the hole, slowing Hightower on his way past the line of scrimmage.
A bigger factor, however, is that the Giants saw this play coming before the snap. As soon as Cooley motioned to the playside the WLB started waving his hand, and the entire LB trio shifted with him.
3-6-WAS 29 (13:45) (Shotgun) R.Grossman pass incomplete short right to F.Davis.
Trent either forgot the snap count or was just really, really slow out of his stance as the LDE gets around him with ease and hits Grossman.
4-6-WAS 29 (13:38) S.Rocca punts 50 yards to NYG 21, Center-N.Sundberg. D.Hixon to NYG 30 for 9 yards (R.Doughty).
The replay of the hit on Rex cuts off the exact moment Rocca’s foot hits the ball – doesn’t FOX know that some of us our obsessiveness to sit around a day later wanting to check the hangtime of punts?? I guess not. Anyway, the net on this strong punt should have been better than 41 yards but Riley takes a bad angle and allows a bit of a return before Doughty can make the tackle.
New York Giants at 13:28
1-10-NYG 30 (13:28) A.Bradshaw left end to NYG 36 for 6 yards (R.McIntosh).
Giants start with a full house backfield before one of the FBs motions to LTE. A strong block from a WR neutralizes Josh Wilson. Fletcher still has a chance to deny Bradshaw the corner but despite being kept free of blockers he simply misses the tackle (yes, even London Fletcher misses the occasional tackle). Rocky does a good job shedding a guard's block to make the ankle tackle before the runner reaches the secondary.
2-4-NYG 36 (12:47) A.Bradshaw right tackle to NYG 42 for 6 yards (B.Westbrook; B.Cofield).
The right TE gets under Kerrigan’s pads to keep him to the outside, while the RG gets a clean release to London and drives him out of the hole, allowing Bradshaw to make it to the first down line before Atogwe closes.
1-10-NYG 42 (12:05) (Shotgun) E.Manning pass incomplete short left to A.Bradshaw.
Letting this pass bounce off his hands is the best idea Bradshaw ever had, as Rocky tracked him into the backfield and was ready to blow him up for a loss.
2-10-NYG 42 (11:58) A.Bradshaw up the middle to NYG 44 for 2 yards (L.Fletcher, O.Atogwe).
Rocky blows up the leading fullback – that’s the one thing he’s done well in this defense, and it’s valuable – thus squeezing the hole tight enough that Bradshaw is forced right into Atogwe.
3-8-NYG 44 (11:18) (Shotgun) E.Manning pass incomplete short left to V.Cruz.
Kevin Barnes stays deep on the slot receiver, thus giving up an easy out route to the sticks – which is thankfully dropped to kill the drive.
4-8-NYG 44 (11:13) S.Weatherford punts 41 yards to WAS 15, Center-Z.DeOssie. B.Banks to WAS 22 for 7 yards (V.Cruz).
There was more of a return to be had here, but Terrence Austin couldn’t hold his block long enough for Banks to make his move.
Washington Redskins at 11:01
1-10-WAS 22 (11:01) R.Grossman pass incomplete short middle to J.Gaffney (L.Joseph).
Good protection, but both DTs recognize they are not getting to Rex and disengage to get their hands up and tip the pass.
2-10-WAS 22 (10:56) R.Grossman pass incomplete short right to C.Cooley.
Paulsen and Cooley line up as twins TE right, where the SLB is clearly showing blitz. Cooley motions to the left before the snap, but Paulsen still blocks in on the LDE, meaning the SLB comes free and is right in Rex’s face on the boot action.
3-10-WAS 22 (10:50) (Shotgun) R.Grossman pass incomplete deep middle to J.Gaffney.
Nice protection against a 7 man rush by everyone except Trent, who is man on man vs. Jason Pierre-Paul and again gets beat to the outside. Rex gets the throw off though, and just overthrows Gaffney.
4-10-WAS 22 (10:43) S.Rocca punts 56 yards to NYG 22, Center-N.Sundberg. D.Hixon to NYG 40 for 18 yards (B.Westbrook). PENALTY on NYG-C.Webster, Illegal Block Above the Waist, 10 yards, enforced at NYG 40.
Good, strong punt, this does appear to be a case of “outkicking your coverage” as despite the good 4.6 second hang time the returner has a fair amount of open field in front of him.
New York Giants at 10:28
1-10-NYG 30 (10:28) E.Manning pass incomplete deep left to H.Nicks.
Rob Jackson is in at ROLB. He puts on a stutter step to force the LT to plant is feet, then blows around him and gets a hand on Eli’s arm to force a bad throw.
2-10-NYG 30 (10:21) E.Manning pass incomplete short right to J.Ballard.
This pass was dropped, but Kerrigan, after engaging with the TE (who lined up at FB in another full house set) at the line, tracks him into the flat and would have stuffed the play for a 2 yard gain.
3-10-NYG 30 (10:14) (Shotgun) E.Manning pass deep right to H.Nicks pushed ob at WAS 2 for 68 yards (R.Doughty; K.Barnes).
This is the four man nickel front. Cofield splits the RG and C, but is given just enough of a push to the outside that Manning is able to step up and escape his grasp. Doughty, as you no doubt already know, bites on the WRs inside move and gives up the deep ball despite having the downfield responsibility in the cover 2 shell.
1-2-WAS 2 (10:03) E.Manning scrambles right end for 2 yards, TOUCHDOWN.
The defense sells out on the inside run and is easily beaten on the bootleg.
L.Tynes extra point is GOOD, Center-Z.DeOssie, Holder-S.Weatherford.
NYG 7 WAS 0, 4 plays, 70 yards, 0:35 drive, 5:07 elapsed
L.Tynes kicks 71 yards from NYG 35 to WAS -6. B.Banks to WAS 18 for 24 yards (D.Thomas).
Washington Redskins at 9:53, (1st play from scrimmage 9:48)
1-10-WAS 18 (9:48) T.Hightower left end to WAS 24 for 6 yards (R.Bernard).
Trent gives up inside penetration, but Hightower is quick enough to make it to the outside and cut upfield behind Fred Davis’ effective kickout block. Chris Chester fails to control his DT, who comes across the field to make the play – otherwise this may have been more than 6.
2-4-WAS 24 (9:12) T.Hightower left tackle to WAS 24 for no gain (M.Boley, A.Rolle).
3-4-WAS 24 (8:36) (Shotgun) R.Grossman pass short left to S.Moss to WAS 30 for 6 yards (J.Williams, C.Webster).
If Santana runs an out against a LB, he’s going to win.
1-10-WAS 30 (8:01) R.Grossman pass short middle to T.Hightower to WAS 40 for 10 yards (G.Jones).
A little stutter step by Hightower causes the LB to get completely lost in coverage and give up the first down.
1-10-WAS 40 (7:23) R.Grossman pass deep middle to S.Moss to NYG 38 for 22 yards (M.Kiwanuka).
Good protection. Rex sails his throw a bit but Santana, ever the master of adjusting to a pass, times his leap perfectly.
1-10-NYG 38 (6:46) T.Hightower left end to NYG 16 for 22 yards (A.Rolle, J.Trattou).
Neither of the Lichtensteiger-Montgomery zone tandem is able to shed off the DT and get to the second level, but Trent drives the RDE so far off the line that it cuts off the pursuit angles anyway, then a good lead block from Darrel Young neutralizes the one free LB and a sustained downfield block by Terrence Austin (whose blocking I criticized in the preseason) creates the big yards.
1-10-NYG 16 (6:01) T.Hightower left guard to NYG 16 for no gain (L.Joseph).
Brown is slow getting inside to the DT after Chester sheds him; he attempt to cut block but the DT is able to dive over him and take out Hightower’s feet.
2-10-NYG 16 (5:20) R.Grossman sacked at NYG 21 for -5 yards (C.Canty, L.Joseph).
Lichtensteiger did get beat by the DT on this play, but it happened slowly enough that Rex should have seen the pressure coming and escaped out the huge hole to his right.
3-15-NYG 21 (4:46) (Shotgun) R.Grossman pass incomplete short right to A.Armstrong.
Nice blitz. The MLB fakes a blitz to hold Hightower inside, meaning he fails to pick up the slot corner who comes free.
4-15-NYG 21 (4:39) G.Gano 39 yard field goal is No Good, Wide Right, Center-N.Sundberg, Holder-S.Rocca.
Wide by about a foot.
New York Giants at 4:34
1-10-NYG 29 (4:34) B.Jacobs up the middle to NYG 34 for 5 yards (D.Hall, R.Doughty).
Cofield holds his ground at the line, causing Jacobs to run into the blocker’s back for what would have been a stuffed play had two other defenders done their job. But Carricker gives up his gap discipline and allows the RT to force him to the outside, while Rocky bites hard on the RGs pull, which is part of the misdirection and takes him way out of position so Jacobs simply bounces off of the wall Cofield builds and finds several yards in front of him before the secondary takes him down.
2-5-NYG 34 (3:55) E.Manning pass deep left to J.Ballard to WAS 48 for 18 yards (R.Kerrigan).
Orakpo beats the LT to the inside with a swim move. The LT compensates with the old “wrap your arm around Orakpo’s neck and yank backwards” move, which apparently is not illegal in the NFL. Manning uses the time to escape to the left and hit the TE who is a step ahead of Kerrigan.
1-10-WAS 48 (3:13) E.Manning pass incomplete short right to B.Jacobs [R.Kerrigan].
PENALTY on NYG-E.Manning, Intentional Grounding, 10 yards, enforced at WAS 48.
Eli has a lot of time, but clearly nothing comes open downfield (the routes are not visible on the TV view). Kerrigan fights through two blockers and prevents Manning from escaping outside of the pocket, meaning when he throws it away he draws an intentional grounding call. I can only assume that Manning’s earnest attempts to point out an intended receiver were for comedic effect only, as he couldn’t possibly expect to be taken seriously.
2-20-NYG 42 (3:04) B.Jacobs left guard to NYG 44 for 2 yards (R.Doughty, B.Orakpo).
Cofield stands up to a double team and Orakpo absorbs the leading FB, forcing Jacobs to cut back. Doughty reads it and shows off his quick closing ability on run plays to make the tackle.
3-18-NYG 44 (2:19) (Shotgun) E.Manning pass incomplete deep left to H.Nicks [S.Bowen].
A rather sloppy stunt by Carricker and Jenkins, who are aligned as DTs in the four man nickel front, means Bowen gets into the backfield quite late but it happens to be right as Manning is stepping up to make his throw.
4-18-NYG 44 (2:12) S.Weatherford punts 47 yards to WAS 9, Center-Z.DeOssie. B.Banks pushed ob at WAS 34 for 25 yards (S.Weatherford).
Banks initially runs back and across the field, which I hate, but cuts upfield, puts on some moves, and gains enough yards that I forgive him just this once…
Washington Redskins at 1:57
1-10-WAS 34 (1:57) R.Grossman pass short middle to J.Gaffney to WAS 45 for 11 yards (A.Rolle) [L.Joseph].
Chester gets beaten inside by the DT so fast that despite his best efforts Trent can’t make it over to help him (Cooley accounts for the RDE with a cut block, so Trent is available), leading Rex to get nailed in the chest by a very large man right after getting the ball out. Credit to Rex for making the first down throw when it was obvious that he was about to get flattened.
1-10-WAS 45 (1:17) T.Hightower right end to NYG 42 for 13 yards (M.Kiwanuka).
PENALTY on WAS-J.Brown, Offensive Holding, 10 yards, enforced at WAS 45 - No Play.
The RDE was beating Brown to deny Hightower the corner, so the holding is, in fact, the only reason this 13 yard gain happened in the first place.
1-20-WAS 35 (:54) R.Grossman pass incomplete deep middle to A.Armstrong (K.Phillips).
A high throw, but Armstrong times his leap and gets his hand on it just fine, and needs to make this catch despite the hit he takes. Armstrong is a nice story, but if the drops persist there are three young guys behind him itching for a chance at his playing time.
2-20-WAS 35 (:50) (Shotgun) R.Grossman pass deep right to F.Davis to NYG 42 for 23 yards (K.Phillips).
And this is exactly what Fred Davis is here to do. It’s another high throw from Rex, but Davis gets his hands on it and despite falling backwards and getting hit hangs on to it to gain the first down.
1-10-NYG 42 (:07) T.Hightower left end to NYG 43 for -1 yards (J.Pierre-Paul, M.Kiwanuka).
The RDE pushes Trent 4 yards into the backfield, then sheds him to make the tackle.