Redskins edge Giants, close gap in NFC East race
Landover, MD (Sports Network) - Robert Griffin III posted the biggest win of his rookie season as his touchdown pass in the fourth quarter helped Washington edge New York, 17-16, in an NFC East battle at FedEx Field.
With the win, the struggle for the top spot in the division got a little closer as the Giants (7-5) now hold just a one-game lead over the Redskins (6-6) and Cowboys, who defeated the Eagles on Sunday night.
Griffin passed for 163 yards on 13-of-21 attempts and added 72 yards on five carries as Washington won its third straight, all against division opponents.
"We knew three weeks ago that every game we played was going to be like a playoff game," said Washington head coach Mike Shanahan.
Alfred Morris carried the ball 22 times for 124 yards while Pierre Garcon caught eight passes for 106 yards and a touchdown in the win.
"That was a great job by him throughout the game," said Shanahan about Morris. "To be able to close out a game like that when you need it says a lot about him and a lot about our offensive line."
Eli Manning was 20-for-33 with 280 yards and a touchdown and Martellus Bennett had five catches for 82 yards and a score for the Giants, who have dropped three of their last four.
Ahmad Bradshaw totaled 103 yards on 24 carries along with two catches for 13 yards and Victor Cruz grabbed five passes for 104 yards in the loss.
Holding a 13-10 lead, the Giants punted on the first touch of the second half and Washington started at its own 18. Facing a 3rd-and-1, Griffin faked a handoff before rolling to the left and taking the ball 46 yards down to the New York 15. The next play, though, Morris fumbled and the Giants recovered.
On the second play, Manning went deep down the right sideline for Cruz, who caught the ball for 49 yards to the Washington 40. A 16-yard catch from Hakeem Nicks got the ball into the red zone, but it stopped there and a 35- yard field goal from Lawrence Tynes gave the team a 16-10 lead with 3:09 to play in the third.
Washington came right back to take the lead. Morris runs of 10 and 16 yards got the team a pair of first downs, and Griffin got one himself with a 7-yard run on 2nd-and-7. The team made three more first downs to face a 1st-and-goal at the 8-yard line. Griffin used play-action and rolled out to the right before finding Garcon in the end zone for a 17-16 lead with 11:31 to play.
New York was held to a three-and-out and Washington had to punt after killing off about 3 1/2 minutes.
Starting at their own 20 with 6:06 to play, the Giants got 15 yards on a horse collar tackle on Madieu Williams. The team faced a 3rd-and-10 and Manning was able to get the ball to Bennett for 11 yards, but a holding call nullified the gain and the team wound up punting.
Washington converted two first downs to force New York to burn its last two timeouts and faced a 3rd-and-3, but Morris sealed the win with a 6-yard run and Griffin took a knee to end the game.
"I don't know what happened in the second half," Giants coach Tom Coughlin remarked. "We certainly didn't come out and play. The real factor was, in the second half, we had a lot of difficulty stopping them and we didn't do anything with our opportunities."
Washington started the game with the ball and converted one first down thanks to a successful challenge on a ball spot, but had to punt and the Giants got the ball back at their own 10.
A combination of runs and passes, including a 22-yard catch from Bennett, helped the team get down to the Washington 21, but a pass on 3rd-and-8 fell incomplete. Tynes' 39-yard field goal was good and the Giants held a 3-0 lead with 6:22 to play in the first.
Washington got a quick 25 yards on its first play of the next drive on a catch by Garcon. Runs of 19 and eight yards by Morris then got the ball down to the New York 28. On the next play, Griffin ran it on an option to the left and got down to the 16. He fumbled as he was heading down, but got a little luck as the ball went into the hands of Joshua Morgan, who took it into the end zone for a 7-3 lead with 4:16 to play.
The Giants came back with another lengthy drive, which included a direct snap to Bradshaw on 3rd-and-2 that he took for 14 yards. The drive stalled at the Washington 25 and Tynes attempted a 43-yard field goal, but it missed to the left and the Redskins got the ball back at their own 33.
The 'Skins were unable to get past midfield and had to punt with Rueben Randle pulling in the fair catch at his own 15.
Facing a 3rd-and-10 at his own 27, Manning went deep and Cruz came down with the ball for a 30-yard gain. A pass interference call on Cedric Griffin moved the ball another 21 yards, but an incompletion along with a holding call saw the team face a 2nd-and-20. Bennett, though, came up with a 24-yard catch and, following another first down, Manning found Bennett in the end zone from four yards out for a 10-7 lead with 2:32 to play in the half.
Garcon caught an 18-yard pass on the first play of Washington's next touch and followed that with a 35-yard catch-and-run down to the New York 13. That led to a 33-yard field goal from Kai Forbath to tie the game with 41 seconds left in the half.
New York, though, had all its timeouts and started its next drive at its own 24. A Bradshaw run of 13 yards followed by a 13-yard catch from Randle saw the team get to midfield. Facing a 3rd-and-10, Manning found Bennett over the middle for 28 yards, and that allowed Tynes to hit a 40-yard field goal as time expired to give the team a 13-10 lead at the break.
Morris went over 1,000 yards on the season as Washington became the first NFL team to ever have a rookie passer throw for at least 2,000 yards and a rookie running back eclipse 1,000 yards in the same season ... The Giants had won their previous 26 road games when leading at halftime. That was an NFL record ... Giants right tackle Sean Locklear was taken off the field on a cart in the fourth quarter with a leg injury ... The Giants were penalized nine times for 73 yards ... Washington hosts Baltimore on Sunday ... The Giants return home to face New Orleans on Sunday.