By TOM CANAVAN
AP Sports Writer
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) _ While Robert Griffin III is quickly
becoming the NFL’s most exciting quarterback, there’s none better
than Eli Manning with the game on the line.
Manning one-upped the Washington Redskins’ rookie sensation with
a pinpoint 77-yard scoring pass to Victor Cruz with 1:13 to play
and the New York Giants overcame a late touchdown toss by Griffin
to defeat the Washington Redskins 27-23 on Sunday.
“With our offense and Eli at the helm, we’re never too
worried,” Cruz said. “No matter what situation we’re in, no
matter how many points we need or a field goal we need, we have the
confidence we can do it. We have a lot of confidence in each other,
and in Eli.”
The winning drive was the 22nd of Manning’s career in either the
fourth quarter or overtime, his second this season and eighth over
the past two seasons. This pass might have been one of the most
It came two plays and 19 seconds after Griffin capped what was a
potential winning, 77-yard drive with a 30-yard touchdown toss to
Santana Moss. The rookie had kept the drive alive with a 19-yard
pass off a desperate scramble on a fourth-and-10 play deep in his
own territory, and a 24-yard run on the next play.
“He has done it so many times,” veteran Giants defensive
tackle Chris Canty said of the two-time Super Bowl MVP. “He has
really bridged his performance in the 2011 season to the 2012
season. It’s just more of the same. He continues to get better. He
is probably the most deadly quarterback in the fourth quarter.”
Redskins coach Mike Shanahan agreed even though he was miffed
that defensive backs Josh Wilson and Madieu Williams allowed Cruz
to blow by them on the seam pattern.
“He sure proved it today,” Shanahan said after his team (3-4)
blew a chance to move into a tie for first place in the NFC East.
“It was a great throw. He was double- covered but (Manning) put it
right on the money.”
Manning, who finished 26 of 40 for 337 yards, had to make the
throw a little sooner than he wanted.
“I kind of threw it high and deep and saw the coverage and was
hoping Victor saw it the same way I did,” he said. “I didn’t see
the ball get caught. I heard the cheer and that was a good sign. I
got up in time to see him run into the end zone.”
Manning triumphantly pumped his fist once after the play as the
more than 80,000 fans at MetLife Stadium erupted with cheers.
“He did a good job leading his team to victory today,” said
Griffin, who ran for 89 yards and passed for 258 and two
touchdowns. “When the game is on the line, you want the ball in
your hand, no doubt about it. He made the play to win it.”
Griffin had Washington moving when Moss was tackled by Chase
Blackburn after an 11-yard reception and rookie Jayron Hosley
recovered at the Washington 43.
“There’s no excuse for them, but with all that stuff, we had a
chance to win at the end,” Griffin said.
The wild finish capped a game in which both quarterbacks also
made major mistakes.
Ahmad Bradshaw and Andre Brown scored on 1-yard runs and
Lawrence Tynes kicked a pair of field goals for the Giants, who won
despite giving up 480 yards in total offense.
Griffin was 20 of 28 with Moss catching both his TD passes.
Fellow rookie Alfred Morris gained 120 yards rushing.
The Giants had 396 yards in total offense, with the biggest
chunk coming on Manning’s pass to Mr. Salsa.
Before the wild finish, the second half was dominated by
Griffin was picked off by safety Stevie Brown and his 41-yard
return late in the third quarter set up Bradshaw’s 1-yard plow-job
into the end zone, a play which was reviewed.
Griffin moved Washington into position to tie the game on the
next possession, but he fumbled after being sacked by Jason
Pierre-Paul and Linval Joseph recovered the ensuring fumble at the
On the next play from scrimmage, linebacker Rob Jackson
intercepted a quick out by Manning and Forbath kicked a 45-yard
field goal to narrow the lead to 20-16 with 5:21 to go.
The Giants were forced to punt on their next series and
Washington got the ball back at its 23. After gaining nothing in
three plays, Griffin went back to pass on fourth down, eluded
Pierre-Paul and then danced around long enough to find tight end
Logan Paulsen for a 19-yard gain and a first down at the 42. The
24-yard scamper got the ball to the New York 34 and two plays later
Moss beat Hosley and hauled in Griffin’s perfect pass as Griffin
lay on his back and celebrated like a snow angel.
“He’s tough,” Blackburn said of Griffin. We played well for
three downs got them into a fourth and 10, and had him. JPP had him
dead to rights. Any other quarterback and he makes that sack.”
Manning and Cruz spoiled the afternoon seconds later.
There were seven offensive possessions in the first half that
resulted in 439 total yards, six scores and a 13-13 tie.
NOTES: Washington TE Fred Davis suffered an Achilles tendon
injury and will miss the rest of the season. …Redskins LB London
Fletcher, who has played in 231 straight games, suffered a
leg-hamstring injury in the second half. …The Redskins gained a
season-high 248 yards rushing. … Bradshaw gained 43 yards rushing
after collecting 316 in the past two games. …Cruz led the Giants
with seven catches for 131 yards. …New York had three sacks, and
allowed its first in four games.
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(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)