RG3's fumble leads to TD, Skins lead 7-3 after 1st
LANDOVER, Md. (AP) Eli Manning's 4-yard touchdown pass to Martellus Bennett and three field goals by Lawrence Tynes helped the New York Giants take a 16-10 lead into the fourth quarter Monday night against the Washington Redskins, whose only TD came when Robert Griffin III's fumble was grabbed on the fly and run into the end zone by receiver Joshua Morgan.
Another fumble by the Redskins - this one by Alfred Morris, midway through the third quarter - was recovered by the Giants and set off a melee, before leading to one of Tynes' kicks.
That was the only scoring in that period, after a flurry of points late in the second quarter.
Manning's TD toss put New York ahead 10-7 with about 2 1/2 minutes left in the first half, capping a 13-play, 85-yard drive that lasted nearly 7 1/2 minutes and included conversions on third-and-10, second-and-16 and second-and-20.
Washington responded with Kai Forbath's 33-yard field goal with 41 seconds remaining. But Tynes' second field goal of the game, a 40-yarder as time expired after a 28-yard pass from Manning to Bennett, put New York back in front 13-10 at halftime.
It was part of a strong, if low-scoring, showing for New York's offense against Washington's struggling defense: The reigning Super Bowl champions compiled a big edge in time of possession (28:55 to 16:05) and 379-274 advantage in total yards through three quarters.
With a 7-yard gain on the next-to-last play of that quarter, Griffin reached 707 yards rushing for the season, breaking Cam Newton's NFL record for a rookie quarterback of 706, set last season.
Midway through the third quarter, on third-and-1 from the Washington 39, Griffin took off for only his second run of the game and gained 46 yards before getting dragged down by the shirttail by safety Stevie Brown at the New York 15.
On the next play, Morris fumbled when hit by Chase Blackburn, setting off a scramble to recover the ball near the sideline. With penalty flags flying, Keith Rivers recovered the ball and the Giants took over at their 9.
Meanwhile, in the scrum, Giants defensive tackle Linval Joseph yanked at Redskins center Will Montgomery's leg. Montgomery kicked at Linval in response, and Linval stomped at Montgomery. Joseph and a Redskins player were whistled for offsetting unnecessary roughness penalties.
The ensuing Giants possession included Manning's 49-yard pass to Victor Cruz, but New York once again settled for a field-goal attempt. Tynes made a 35-yard kick to put New York ahead 16-10 with a little more than 3 minutes left in the third quarter.
Tynes missed a 43-yard attempt wide left early in the second quarter.
With the Redskins trailing 3-0 after Tynes' 39-yard kick on the Giants' opening possession, the hosts went ahead by going 80 yards on only four plays - including a wacky one for the score.
On second-and-2 from the New York 28, Heisman Trophy winner Griffin ran to his left - his only rush of the first half - and was being tackled by Brown after what would have been a 12-yard gain. But as Griffin fell with his back to the ground, the football popped out, and went right to Morgan 3 yards farther upfield.
Morgan raced 13 yards and broke through two would-be tacklers at the goal line for the TD with a little under 4 1/2 minutes left in the first quarter. After being reviewed, the original call of a score stood.
It's the second time this season a fumble by the man known as RG3 was picked up and taken into the end zone by a Redskins receiver. Pierre Garcon did it in a victory over Tampa Bay on Sept. 30.
Monday's first quarter also included a 19-yard gain by Redskins running back Alfred Morris, making him only the second Washington rookie to top 1,000 yards rushing. Reggie Brooks did it 1993.
Giants safety Tyler Sash left in the first half with a hamstring injury and eventually was ruled out for the game. Offensive tackle Will Beatty hurt his shoulder in the third quarter and his return was listed as probable.
The Giants entered the game in first place in the division with a 7-4 record and coming off a turnaround 38-10 victory over the Green Bay Packers.
The Redskins came in 5-6, but with a two-game winning streak that made them believe their once-disastrous season could eventually result in a playoff berth.
Redskins linebacker London Fletcher and left tackle Trent Williams, who were limited in practice by injuries Friday and Saturday, both started Monday night. The 37-year-old Fletcher extended his consecutive games streak to 236 - every game in his 15-year NFL career.
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