Hasn't happened in a dog's age, folks. The Giants' early-season trend of scoring on their first possession, or at least building up some points in the first quarter, has completely vanished, which explains only part of the problem in this current 2-6 stretch.
But it is huge. The lack of early points gives Tom Coughlin's bunch little margin for error on both sides of the ball. And when you have a defense playing like the Giants', there are plenty of errors to fill that narrow margin and go way past it. If one could depict it in terms of a first-grade composition (Keep to the margins, kiddies!), the writing would be all over the page at this point.
If the Giants were scoring 38 points every game and winning, the issue might have gone unnoticed. But they aren't. And they're losing. On Sunday, it took so much energy to fight back from a 14-0 first-quarter deficit to eventually take a short-lived lead at 31-30 that it's a wonder that offense had any energy left to score its final touchdown in garbage time. Can't keep going like that.
Which brings us to Washington on Monday. The Redskins are playing far better defense than their 4-9 record indicates. Over the last four games they've given up 90 points, not great but a lot better than the Giants' 133 over the same span. But opponents have gotten to them early, outscoring the Redskins 72-41 in the first quarter this year.
So this would be a good opportunity for the Giants to get off to a fast start and give that defense a little breathing room.
But doing so would involve reversing their disturbing trend. In the last eight games, opponents have outscored them 44-9 in the first quarter. They haven't scored a first-quarter touchdown since Oakland, the longest stretch since the Giants went 13 games without a first-quarter touchdown between the 1995 and '96 seasons.