For the first 20+ minutes of Sunday night’s game at Fed Ex Field in Landover, MD, the hometown Washington Redskins looked to be in complete control against the New York Giants. However, the script flipped in short order, and the visiting Giants came from behind to steal a 24-17 victory in the nation’s capital.
The opening drive of the game doubled as the first touchdown march for the Redskins, as Robert Griffin III engineered a 15-play, 73-yard touchdown drive that ended in an Alfred Morris 1-yard plunge over the goal line. Soon after, RGIII took the team the distance of the field again (on the team’s 3rd drive), and this time, the end result was a 19-yard hookup with Logan Paulson that vaulted the Redskins to what looked like a dominant, 14-point cushion.
New York had other plans, though, as the remainder of the first half (and the game) belonged to the Giants. Eli Manning and company put together two separate 70+ yard drives in the final 10 minutes of the half, using a 23-yard touchdown run by Andre Brown and a 22-yard completion to Brandon Myers in the end zone to tie the game at 14-14.
The 3rd quarter was the definition of uneventful, as the only scoring took place on a 33-yard Kai Forbath field goal (to give Washington a 17-14 lead), and the two teams totaled less than 100 yards from scrimmage during the 15-minute period. In reality, this was a microcosm of the night, as the two offenses failed to generate any real momentum for the majority of the game, and their impotence hit a high-point here.
However, Giants running back Andre Brown cracked the goal line on the 2nd play of the 4th quarter (after an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty placed the ball at the 1-yard line) to give the Giants a 21-17 lead. The two teams then traded three fruitless possessions until the Redskins had one last chance to make a defensive stand.
New York drove into Washington territory with relative ease, and with one more first down, the Giants would have put the game away for good. The Redskins’ defense bucked up, however, and they caused Tom Coughlin to settle for a 39-yard Josh Brown field goal that would allow Robert Griffin III one additional opportunity to keep the game going with a scoring drive.
RGIII and company would fall short, however, and the officiating crew wasn’t above some blame in the collapse. The Redskins were seemingly granted a 1st down in the midst of their final drive, but the referees measured after an incomplete pass, and reassigned the down as 4th-and-1 for Washington. Then, on 4th down, Griffin completed a pass to Pierre Garcon that would have been a 1st down (partially absolving the officials), but Giants defensive back Will Hill simply took the ball out Garcon’s hands, grabbing possession and effectively ending the night in a New York victory.
On a night where there weren’t a lot of “stars”, it is almost a shame to see Robert Griffin III (who played brilliantly) leave the field on the losing end. Griffin threw for 206 yards and a touchdown while also running for 88 yards (on 12 carries), and he was easily the most impressive player on either team offensively. However, the Washington defense couldn’t make the volume of plays that New York did, and the Giants offense was able to take advantage of their limited opportunities in a way that was becoming of a road win.
Moving forward, this win keeps the Giants alive in the race for a playoff spot, while Washington is headed home with a 3-9 record that indicates the wheels coming off for their already faint postseason hopes. It wasn’t an aesthetically pleasing game (in any way), but it does feel like the better team won in this one, and the Giants are still alive.