In continuing to expand on the Redskins deeply rooted rivalry with the New York Giants, let’s take a look at some of the unsung heroes from the two tightly contested NFC East matchups in 2012.
While the Burgundy and Gold would go 5-1 against their division foes en route to their first division title since 1999, the one blemish on their record was a 27-23 loss at the Giants in Week 7.
If it weren’t for a late touchdown, I would be writing about how the Redskins went undefeated in the division play.
With the Redskins 17-16 victory on Monday Night Football in Week 13 in mind as well, let’s take a look at some of the performers who names may have not been on website “player of the game” nomination lists, but were still influential.
1.) Kai Forbath
On October 9th, the Redskins signed the unknown former UCLA Bruin to replace the departing Billy Cundiff. Forbath had spent time on the Cowboys and Buccaneers practice squad but had yet to appear in a regular season game. So when the Redskins called on Forbath (and his leg) against the Minnesota Vikings, fans remained uneasy when No. 2 stepped on the field for the first time to attempt a 50-yard field goal. Not only would Forbath nail the half field attempt, he would go on to set the record for most consecutive field goal attempts made to start a career at 17. Four of those field goals were against the Giants as well as nailing the point that put the Redskins ahead for good in Week 13.
2.) Santana Moss
Moss’ inclusion is certainly an interesting one considering that the diminutive wideout has recorded 60 receptions for 927 yards and eight touchdowns against the Giants since coming to Washington, D.C. in 2005. But with the Pierre Garcon and Josh Morgan coming to town, Moss’ role changed to incorporate his talents in the slot. In Week 7 Moss caught some fire circa the 2005 version of No. 89 as he recorded three catches for two touchdowns. His first touchdown in the second quarter was of the catch-and-run variety while his 30 yarder late in the fourth quarter was an over-the-shoulder grab that put the Redskins up by three.
3.) Perry Riley
In 2012 the Redskins boasted three Pro Bowlers linebackers on a talent laden unit and another former Pro Bowler on the sidelines. While London Fletcher and Ryan Kerrigan rightfully deserved their trips to the warm beaches of Hawaii, Riley’s season went relatively unnoticed. The LSU product finished the season 14th in the league in tackles with 129. 15 of those tackles came against the Giants as he consistently made the “needed” tackle in the Redskins Monday Night Football victory.
4.) Logan Paulsen
Going into the 2012 season, Paulsen rose to number two on the tight end depth chart behind Fred Davis who was firmly entrenched as the Redskins top tight end. After setting a career-high in receptions (59) and yards (796) in 2011, head coach Mike Shanahan wanted Davis to be Robert Griffin III’s security blanket as he adjusted to life in the NFL. Davis was just that as through the first six games he had hauled in 23 balls for 312 yards. However, on the Redskins first drive of their game against the Giants in Week 7, Davis left with a season-ending injury. Insert the long haired, blocking tight end as the man who filled Davis’ shoes that day as he would record a career-high 76 receiving yards on four catches. He saved his best for last, however, as he would catch a Griffin III rocket after the quarterback dodge two Giants in the backfield.
5.) Darrel Young
Forgotten in the hoopla of the Redskins leading the league in rushing in 2012 is the man who helped pave the way for Griffin III and Alfred Morris—Darrel Young. The undrafted fullback was as important to the rushing attack operating on all cylinders as anyone as he planted countless lead blocks that won’t show in the stat sheets. In Week 7 the Redskins crushed the New York Giants D to the tune of 248 yards on the ground, a season-high 26 of which came from the man himself. After six weeks of game planning for the read-option you would have thought that the Giants would have game-planned a way to halt Griffin III and Morris’ efforts. Well they did I guess if you consider giving up 207 rushing yards as an achievement. Young’s efforts were monumental in the Redskins gaining 455 yards in two games against the G-Men.
Check back with the blog later as we look into the future at some storylines for 2013 as the two teams continue to extend on their longstanding rivalry.
Hail to the Redskins!
Tags: Alfred Morris, Darrel Young, Fred Davis, Josh Morgan, Kai Forbath, logan paulsen, Pierre Garcon, Robert Griffin III, Santana Moss
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