NFC East wide open after Redskins top Giants 17-16
There was the fumble by Robert Griffin III that turned into a
Washington Redskins touchdown. There was the fumble by teammate
Alfred Morris that led to a melee of leg-pulling followed by a kick
to the midsection and something dangerously close to a stomp.
The quartet of flawed teams that make up the NFC East sure do
make things interesting.
The division title that seemingly belonged to the New York
Giants is up for grabs after their 17-16 loss Monday night to the
Redskins, who are back in the running thanks to a rookie
quarterback and a three-game winning streak.
”We had an opportunity here today,” New York coach Tom
Coughlin said. ”But now there’s one team with seven and two teams
with six wins. There’s four games to go.”
That about sums it up.
Now that the Giants (7-5) have lost three of four, the Redskins
(6-6) and Cowboys (6-6) are squarely in the hunt despite mediocre
records. Washington has dispatched each of its division rivals –
Philadelphia, Dallas and now New York – one by one over the last
three weeks to recover from a 3-6 start that prompted coach Mike
Shanahan to talk about evaluating players for future seasons.
”We know that our backs are against the wall,” said Griffin,
whose Redskins host Dallas in what they hope will be a meaningful
season finale. ”And even though we won tonight, our backs are
still against the wall.”
It’ll be hard to count the Redskins out as long as Griffin is on
the field. He completed 13 of 21 passes for 163 yards and a
go-ahead, 8-yard touchdown to Pierre Garcon in the fourth quarter
to finish with a 101.9 passer rating. He also ran for 72 yards to
get to 714 for the season, breaking Cam Newton’s NFL record for a
It was his sixth game with a 100-plus passer rating, his eighth
without an interception – and his second in which one of his
fumbles turned into a Redskins score.
On the way to the turf after a 12-yard run, Griffin was stripped
by Stevie Brown – but the ball flew right to teammate Joshua Morgan
3 yards upfield. Morgan then ran 13 yards for a first-quarter
touchdown no one would ever diagram on a whiteboard.
”We didn’t run it 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.”
The game’s other fumble was just as chaotic – and a little
scary. After Morris was stripped during a third-quarter run, New
York defensive tackle Linval Joseph yanked at Redskins center Will
Montgomery’s leg while players were fighting for the ball in the
Montgomery kicked out in response, a swipe that Joseph said hit
him in the groin.
”I was just trying to get my leg loose,” Montgomery said.
Joseph then stomped at Montgomery, appearing to pull back at the
last second but still making contact.
”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.”
Joseph and a Redskins player were whistled for offsetting
unnecessary roughness penalties.
Morris finished with 124 yards, reaching 1,106 for the season to
break Reggie Brooks’ franchise rookie rushing record of 1,063, set
in 1993. Garcon caught eight passes for 106 yards, showing no signs
of the painful toe injury that forced him to miss six of the
season’s first nine games.
Eli Manning completed 20 of 33 passes for 280 yards and a
touchdown, and Ahmad Bradshaw ran for 103 yards on 24 carries for
the Giants. Victor Cruz, who caught the game-winning score when the
teams met in the Meadowlands in October, had five catches for 104
The Giants moved the ball well, but they only managed three
field goals by Lawrence Tynes and one touchdown – Manning’s 4-yard
pass to Martellus Bennett late in the second quarter.
Tynes also missed a 43-yard field goal, and the Giants were
uncharacteristically penalty-prone, getting flagged nine times for
73 yards. New York led 13-10 at the half, but scored only three
”This is not real complicated. I don’t know what happened in
the second half,” Coughlin said. ”We certainly didn’t come out
and play. Penalties. Sloppy football.”
NOTES: The Giants had won 26 in a row on the road when holding a
halftime lead. They last failed to finish the job in 2006 against
Tennessee. … The Redskins snapped a 10-game home losing streak in
Monday night games. … Shanahan got his 171st win (regular and
postseason), tying him with Redskins’ Hall of Fame coach Joe Gibbs
for 12th all time. … New York S Tyler Sash left the game with a
hamstring injury, and RT Sean Locklear was carted off in the fourth
quarter with a knee injury.
Follow Joseph White on Twitter: http://twitter.com/JGWhiteAP