Sunday played host to a prime time NFC East battle, a battle that could change the power shift in the East for either teams depending on the winner. The New York Giants were coming off of a two game winning streak, and looking to get that ever so crucial third win in a row. They knew it wouldn't come easy with the opponent being the revitalized Washington Redskins, and sensational rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III. This game went down to the wire, and while staring defeat straight in the face the New York Giants pulled through with yet another clutch victory. Here is how things went down Sunday.
The Giants offense wasn't as consistent as they were the Sunday before vs the 49ers. Some of that can be the result of mistakes, iffy play calling at times, or the fact that the Giants for the past two seasons have had a tough time offensively against this Redskins defense. Offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride turned away from the rushing attack, which at some point in the third quarter made starting back Ahmad Bradshaw lose his cool. The Redskins for the most part stuffed the running game, until the Giants made it to the redzone. Bradshaw (12 carries, 47 yards), and backup Andre Brown (5 carries, 17 yards) both scored on 1 yard goal line runs.
With the rushing attack not producing at the level we saw for the past two weeks, the Giants fate without a doubt fell on the right arm of Eli Manning. Things got even more nerve racking for Giant nation due to his off day. Eli had a tough time getting into a rythm at first, he had multiple second half turnovers and even had a rare missed touchdown throw to star receiver Victor Cruz. Things changed in the 4th QTR however, and we were again reminded why you never give up on Eli(te) Manning when there is time left. With 1:22 left in the game, and his team down by 3 points Manning threw a beautiful strike to Cruz for the 77 yard game clinching touchdown to win the game. Manning finished with 26/40 completions, 337 yards, 1 touchdown, and 2 interceptions. Most importantly he finished with the victory, improving his team's record to 5-2 (1-2 in the NFC East).
The receiving core wasn't clicking on all cylinders but Victor Cruz made his mark on this game. Cruz finished the day with 7 receptions, 131 yards, and the games most important touchdown. Cruz has continues to play at such a high level, and is the most dynamic weapon on the Giant's offense. Tight End Martellus Bennett played his part in the passing attack as well with 5 receptions, and 79 yards. Hakeem Nicks didn't do much but I'd bet money on him returning to his pro-bowl form when he is at full health. The Giant's offense weren't dominant Sunday, but thanks to Eli's 4th QTR magic they got another Win which is all that matters. Look for the coaching staff to clean up on anny issues.
Despite the loss the 'Skins offense, and especially quarterback RG3 gained hard earned respect from the defending champs. Justin Tuck was one of many Giant defenders who voiced their respect, saying "I'm pretty mad at the football gods for putting him in the NFC East.", and fellow defensive lineman Osi Umenyiora added to that saying "That guy is flat-out unbelieveable...That's the best QB we've played this year, for sure." RG3 is sensational, and the front runner for Rookie of the Year. However against this Giants defense he didn't look much like a Rookie. He did have his turnovers (1 interception, 2 fumbles) which are to be expected against this defense, but he also made this defense pay at times. Griffin had given his team a 3-point lead with less than 1:30 left in the game. A beautiful 30-yard strike to receiver Santana Moss, as he took advantage of a mistake in the Giants secondary. Griffin finished with 20/28 completions, 258 yards, and 2 touchdowns. He also had 89 yards rushing off of 9 carries.
The rushing attack for the Redskins continued their success against the Giants defense Sunday. Rookie Alfred Morris had a good game on the ground finishing with 22 carries, and 120 yards. He or any other Redskin weren't able to get a score on the ground. Still, the ability to eat up yards and move the chains using the rushing attack was big for the Redskins.
The receiving core for the 'Skins took a big hit as starting tight end Fred Davis suffered from injury early in the game. He was unable to return, and the team has reported that Davis suffered from an Achilles injury. Back up tight end Logan Paulsen stepped up into the starting role, and produced leading the team in yards with 76, on 4 receptions. Santana Moss was RG3's main weapon of choice in the redzone however, with 3 receptions totaling 67 yards, and 2 touchdowns. With the loss of Davis being so crucial, the Redskins are bringing back veteran tight end Chris Cooley.
Now the Giants defense did get their collective hands on RG3 at times in this game. Causing the dynamic QB to turn the ball over 3 times (1 interceptions, 2 fumbles). Justin Tuck, Jason Pierre Paul, and Osi Umenyiora all had 1 sack a piece. We also saw two forced fumbles by Chase Blackburn, and the defense as a whole forced 5 fumbles in total. However despite the good things they did, this defense still had it's troubles.
RG3 was able to score twice through the air, and the combo of Griffin/Morris was able to get major yardage in this game totaling a combined 209 yards. We almost saw a Giant meltdown when the Redskin offense scored late, giving them a 3-pt 4th QTR lead with less than 1:30 in the game. We'll surely see Def. coordinator Perry Fewell look to clean up any issues that could spill over. Next week they will face Tony Romo again, who in week 1 did worst to that defense than RG3 did.
The Redskin defense was able to make some plays against the NFL's third highest scoring defense. 1 sack on the day, and two late second half interceptions (linebacker Rob Jackson, cornerback Josh Wilson) on Eli Manning. They also were able to stifle the Giant's rushing attack for a a majority of the game, which also resulted into an explosion of emotions from starting back Ahmad Bradshaw (frustration at it's best). However things changed quickly in the second half, and as the Redskin defense collapsed the Giants took advantage. With a late 4th QTR lead the defense fell victim to a Eli Manning 4th QTR comeback. The Redskins should be proud of the effort, but they should also work on their secondary issues.
Thanks for reading. The New York Giants are now 5-2, and will be heading to Texas next Sunday to face their hated NFC East rivals the Dallas Cowboys (3-3). The game will be at 4:25 pm, on FOX.