Well, Redskins fans, this is is. Your team is in the playoff hunt going into December.
Tonight’s Monday Night Football game against the New York Giants is perhaps the most important football game at FedExField in five years, the last time Washington made the playoffs.
And, at the end of the first quarter, the Redskins (5-6) lead the NFC East-leading Giants (7-4), 7-3.
The Redskins won the opening toss and elected to receive, starting off the game with the ball at their own 20-yard line.
On their very first play, Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III went for the home run. His deep pass to wide receiver Pierre Garcon was overthrown, however. Two plays later, Griffin III found tight end Logan Paulsen for a nine-yard completion, but the Redskins at first elected to punt before head coach Mike Shanahan threw his red challenge flag to dispute the spot, arguing that Paulsen extended the ball enough to gain the extra yard for the first down.
After review, the refs gave Paulsen and the Redskins an extra two yards and the first down. Three plays later — after a six-yard gain by running back Alfred Morris — the Redskins faced a 3rd and 4 when Griffin III’s pass to a diving Garcon was dropped, forcing a punt. The Giants, who were called for a block in the back on the return, began their first drive from their own 10-yard line.
Quarterback Eli Manning’s first pass was good for 16 yards to big tight end Bear Pascoe, who plowed through several Redskins defenders along the way. Three plays later, and after a three-yard rush by running back Ahmad Bradshaw, the Giants faced their first third-down attempt of the game. On 3rd and 5, Manning, in the shotgun, dropped back and completed a nine-yard pass to wide receiver Jerrel Jernigan, which was followed up with a 22-yard completion to tight end Martellus Bennett.
The Giants worked their way to the Washington 21-yard line before facing a 3rd and 8. Manning’s pass to wide receiver Victor Cruz was overthrown, sending out kicker Lawrence Tynes, who kicked a 39-yard field goal with 6:22 remaining to give New York a 3-0 lead. It was an 11-play, 69-yard drive that took 6:32 off the clock.
After the Giants began to gain some momentum with three significant passing plays, the fact that the Redskins’ defense held them to a field goal on this drive could be key. Remember: the Dallas Cowboys also got a field goal on their first drive to take a 3-0 lead against the Redskins on Thanksgiving — we all know how Washington responded to that.
Washington began its second drive from its own 20-yard line when Griffin III and Garcon were finally able to hook up — a 25-yard pass and catch. On the next play, Morris ran for 19 yards, putting him over the 1,000-yard mark on the season. He became only the second Redskins rookie to accomplish that feat. He followed that up with an eight-yard rush for good measure.
On the very next play, Griffin III kept the ball this time. As he was being taken down after a 12-yard gain, the ball slipped out and went right into the waiting hands of wide receiver Joshua Morgan, who ran 13 yards into the end zone for a touchdown. It was a very lucky play for Griffin III — who was credited with a fumble on the play — but a very heads up play by Morgan. After the Kai Forbath extra point, the Redskins took a 7-3 lead.
The Giants, who began the ensuing drive from their own 24-yard line, tried for their own home run on the first play, but Manning’s deep pass to Hakeem Nicks was well-covered, and fell to the turf. Two plays later, after a nine-yard pass-and-catch to Nicks, Bradshaw’s run netted three yards and earned the Giants a first down. Three plays later, the Giants ran a direct snap to Bradshaw, who got 14 yards on the play.
The quarter ended with the Giants facing a 1st and 10 from the Redskins’ 30-yard line.
CHIME IN: What did YOU think of the first quarter of action tonight? Feel free to comment below.
Tags: 2012 regular season, monday night football, new york giants, washington redskins
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