Giants’ East lead narrows with 17-16 loss to Skins
New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin settled his hands on his hips
and launched into a 90-second assessment of the way his team
managed to lose despite avoiding any turnovers and repeatedly
putting together long drives.
It was a postgame news conference following New York’s 17-16
defeat against the Washington Redskins on Monday night. It sounded
like a speech he might deliver to his players.
”This is not real complicated. I don’t know what happened in
the second half. We certainly didn’t come out and play. Penalties.
Sloppy football,” Coughlin said. ”Just disappointing to come down
here and play like this.”
Suddenly, after a rare loss after leading at halftime on the
road, the reigning Super Bowl champions are facing a real fight
down the stretch for the NFC East title.
The Giants have lost three of four games to drop to 7-5, only
one game ahead of the Redskins and Dallas Cowboys, who are both
”We have to find a way to close this thing out,” defensive end
Osi Umenyiora said.
The Giants now face what could be a tough stretch of three
games, hosting the New Orleans Saints next week, before going on
the road to take on the NFC South-leading Atlanta Falcons and the
AFC North-leading Baltimore Ravens.
A victory over Washington would have given New York a more
comfortable division lead.
”We had an opportunity here today,” Coughlin said.
But his team was whistled for nine penalties – about twice its
average entering Monday – and perhaps none was more bothersome than
a holding call on Will Beatty on a third-down play that Eli Manning
had completed a pass that appeared to be good enough for first
”That’s not our M.O.,” defensive lineman Justin Tuck said.
And despite a string of lengthy drives, the Giants kept settling
for field-goal attempts. Lawrence Tynes made three, but he missed a
43-yarder wide left in the first half of the one-point loss.
Two-time Super Bowl MVP Manning is the quarterback known for
fourth-quarter rallies, but this time it was Redskins rookie Robert
Griffin III bringing his team back from a deficit. The Giants led
13-10 at halftime, and they had won 26 consecutive games when ahead
at that point away from home.
New York failed to get the job done for the first time since
blowing a 21-0 halftime lead in a 24-21 loss to Tennessee in 2006.
The Giants’ defense could not get the ball back to its offense down
”Terrible. That’s what you strive for,” Coughlin said. ”We
talk `Finish, finish, finish, finish, finish.”’
But after New York went up 16-10, the man known as RG3 threw an
8-yard go-ahead TD pass to Pierre Garcon early in the fourth
It was the Redskins’ first touchdown that was one of the
evening’s crazy moments.
On second-and-2 from the New York 28, Griffin ran to his left
and was being tackled by Stevie Brown after what would have been a
But as Griffin fell with his back to the ground, the ball popped
out and went right on the fly to Washington receiver Joshua Morgan
3 yards farther upfield. Morgan then ran 13 yards for the
”We didn’t run (that play) in practice because we wanted to
save it for the game,” Griffin said with a grin. ”I knew he was
going to be there for it. … Joshua did a good job being in the
spot where he was supposed to be.”
It was the second time this season that a Griffin fumble has
turned into Redskins touchdown. Garcon recovered one in the end
zone in a win over Tampa Bay.
Another fumble by the Redskins – this one by Alfred Morris in
the third quarter – was recovered by the Giants and set off mayhem.
New York defensive tackle Linval Joseph yanked at Redskins center
Will Montgomery’s leg. Montgomery kicked at Joseph in response, and
Joseph began to stomp his foot at Montgomery but said later he held
up. Joseph and a Redskins player were whistled for offsetting
unnecessary roughness penalties.
”It took me everything not to kick him back because I didn’t
want hurt the team and I didn’t want to get fined and none of
that,” Joseph said. ”I started, then I stopped. I thought about
Notes: Manning completed 20 of 33 passes for 280 yards and a
4-yard touchdown pass to Martellus Bennett. … Ahmad Bradshaw ran
for 103 yards on 24 carries, while Victor Cruz had five catches for
104 yards. … Griffin completed 13 of 21 passes for 163 yards and
ran five times for 72 yards, breaking Cam Newton’s NFL record for
yards rushing in a season by a rookie QB. … The Redskins have won
three games in a row. … Giants OT Sean Locklear was carted off
with a knee injury in the second half.
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