Speaking about penalties, Giants had a holding penalty on every single kickoff return. Two were charged to the same guy, Jim Cordle, who would undoubtedly be cut today if Giants hadn't lost Locklear for the season and were therefore short on OL depth. Loss of Locklear could be a killer - Giants can probably get by with Diehl, who was serviceable when he came in, but the OL is dangerously thin now. One more injury and they're in real trouble.
After all that, as much as the Giants were dominated by the Skins running game, Giants still could have won the game (I believe would have won the game) if not for the holding penalty against Beatty that took away the 3rd and 10 conversion in the 4th quarter. Can't jump all over Beatty, he has played well this year and established himself as a solid LT. But that penalty could have cost the Giants the game.
We can whine about Eli missing those two deep throws to Cruz and Nicks that should have been TDs in the first half and it's true - those plays really killed us. A top QB like Eli simply cannot miss those throws, and in a close game, missed opportunities kill you. But - look at the game from a bigger picture perspective. Griffen had wide open receivers to throw to all night and every one of Eli's throws had to go into tight windows. Even those two throws that he missed, Cruz and Nicks were not 3 or 5 yards open - they were a step beyond their man. On the ball to Nicks, the ball was underthrown by maybe a foot and the DB had time to reach up and knock it away - there was not a lot of separation. On the throw to Cruz, the ball was about a yard or two overthrown and it had to be perfect for a completion. Eli couldn't just throw it up high and let Cruz run under it because he was not way open. Some of the throws Eli made were outstanding, it's a pity that the two he missed stood out so much and cost the Giants. If the game had been more wide open and Eli had had more opportunities to throw, Giants would have had a better chance. by challenging the Redskins in the running game, the Giants were playing to the Redskins strength. Especially in the second half, the running game was soft and more footballs should have been in the air. Give Redskins defense credit for tightening things in the second half, but they did not take enough chances.
To nitpick even further, on 3rd and 20 after the Beatty holding penalty, I did not like the middle-screen to Bradshaw. It was a give up play and had no chance of success. They were probably guessing for a blitz and thought they could catch them, but the middle of the Redskins DL was very stout and it had little chance of success. I actually considered that two-down territory. I would have tried to complete something medium depth of maybe 10-12 yards to give the Giants a chance to go for it on 4th and manageable. If they don't get the first down, Redskins would have good field position, but a FG or even a TD by Redskins doesn't end the game. They have to stop the Redskins running game one way or another, and whether they do it on their own 40 or the Redskins. The enemy there was the clock, not field position.