The Washington Redskins knew they were in for a fight today as they opened up their NFC East schedule against the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants.
And, in the end, despite a potential go-ahead touchdown by the Redskins’ offense with 1:26 left, the defense couldn’t hold on.
A 77-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Eli Manning to receiver Victor Cruz with just over a minute to go sealed the Giants’ 27-23 win over the Redskins at MetLife Stadium.
The Giants didn’t take long to get the ball into the end zone to start the fourth quarter. On their fourth play of the quarter, running back Ahmad Bradshaw squeezed in past his right guard for the one-yard touchdown, and after the extra point, the Giants took a 20-13 lead with 12:55 remaining in the game.
Also announced after the scoring play was defensive captain and linebacker London Fletcher had suffered an injury and his return to the game had been labeled as doubtful.
The Redskins continued to pound the ball on the ground on their next drive. On the second play, Griffin III handed it off to Darrel Young, who got a 16-yard gain. All but four yards of those yards were taken back, however, when defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul sacked Griffin III on the next play for a 12-yard loss. Two plays later, on third down, Griffin III found tight end Logan Paulsen for a 15-yard gain, just two yards short of the first down.
On 4th and 2, Griffin III found receiver Leonard Hankerson for a nine-yard gain and the critical first down. The play continued a successful fourth-down conversion rate for the Redskins this season, who are now 4-of-4.
They found another fourth down attempt just three plays later, a 4th and 1 from the Giants’ 30-yard line. Griffin III did the work this time, pump-faking his defender and scrambling three yards for the first down before being pushed out of bounds. Those were two gutsy fourth-down play calls.
But on the next play, Griffin III fumbled after keeping a would-be handoff to Morris up the middle. The ball was recovered by defensive tackle Linval Joseph at the 29-yard line, and a review by the officials confirmed that the ball did indeed squirt out of Griffin III’s hands before his knee hit the turf.
That play could’ve been a backbreaker, But outside linebacker Rob Jackson saved the day for the time being, intercepting Manning on the very next play at the Giants’ 32-yard line. It was a very athletic play by Jackson, and his second interception of the season. His first, you might remember, was intercepted for a touchdown against the Cincinnati Bengals earlier this season.
The Redskins faced a 3rd and 4 from the 26-yard line when tight end Niles Paul took a carry for a one-yard loss. Kicker Kai Forbath’s 45-yard attempt on fourth down — his third field goal of the game — was good, and cut the Giants’ lead to four points at 20-16 with 5:21 left in the game.
The first play of the ensuing drive for the Giants started off favorably for the Redskins. Manning dropped back and was sacked by nose tackle Barry Cofield and Jackson, with initial pressure from defensive end Stephen Bowen. But two plays later, on 3rd and 15, New York threw a dagger, as Manning found running back Andre Brown for a 17-yard gain and the first down.
The Giants faced a 3rd and 2 from their 38 when Manning’s pass to Hakeem Nicks was dropped along the sideline. Cornerback DeAngelo Hall provided the coverage on the play.
The Redskins began the potential go-ahead drive at their own 23 yard line with 2:59 remaining. Griffin III found running back Evan Royster on the next play, but he got nowhere.
On 3rd and 10, Griffin III tried to sling a bomb to wide receiver Aldrick Robinson, but the throw was off the mark. The 4th and 10 play was a Griffin III-created masterpiece, as he evaded linebacker Chase Blackburn and found Paulsen for 19 yards and the first down to the Washington 42-yard line, going into the two-minute warning.
The play represented a career-high in catches (four) and yards (76) for Paulsen, who has been a favorite target of Griffin III with tight end Fred Davis out of the game with an injury.
The next play was another Griffin III speciality. Flushed out of the pocket, he rolled out to his right and gained 24 yards before being pushed out of bounds at the New York 34-yard line.
Griffin III cemented his name in Most Valuable Player talks on the next play. He found receiver Santana Moss over the top for a 30-yard touchdown on a perfectly-thrown pass-and-catch play, and after the extra point, gave his team a 23-20 lead.
Griffin III used his legs, arms and head on that drive to give his team the lead. Remember folks: he’s just a rookie. Wow.
The Giants started a potential game-tying or go-ahead drive from their own 23-yard line with 1:26 left. Two plays later, they cashed in.
In 19 seconds, Manning found Victor Cruz wide open over the top for a 77-yard touchdown pass to give the Giants a 27-23 lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
The final drive by the Redskins ended when Moss fumbled after getting a first down across the middle at the Washington 43-yard line.
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Tags: 2012 regular season, new york giants, washington redskins
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