Monday, October 22, 2012

New York Giants Win Wild One, Edge Robert Griffin III and Washington Redskins 27-23

In the New York Giants wildest game of the season, quarterback Eli Manning out dueled Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III, lofting a 77-yard touchdown to Victor Cruz with less than a minute and a half to go and the Giants trailing by three.

Eli’s late-game heroics were necessary after Griffin capped a near-brilliant day with a brilliant touchdown drive to take the lead in the waning minutes. The drive featured an incredible escape-and-throw deep in his own territory on 4th down and finished off with a beautiful touchdown lob to Santana Moss.

The Giants had a few chances to put the ‘Skins away, but interceptions by Manning in the red zone and then deep in his own territory kept the Skins alive. If not for the game-saving pass to Cruz, Manning’s picks are probably the story of the week.

What we think we saw…

– Mixed bag for the defense today. The Giants simply could not stop the Redskins in the first half, with Alfred Morris running wild (he finished with 120 yards on 22 carries) and Griffin having a really good, mistake-free half. Don’t let a few stalled drives in the first half and a few second half turnovers mask what was a really excellent performance by Griffin: 20/28 for 258 yards with another 89 yards coming on nine brutal carries.

– The defense did start to figure it out in the second half, slowing down Morris more than they had in the first half and getting some pressure on Griffin with a few sacks and the forced fumble. Before Griffin’s brilliant touchdown drive in the 4th, we were getting ready to write about how the defense turned it around.

– Manning was far from perfect today, with both of his picks (and an early missed touchdown to a wide open Cruz) looking more like Rookie Eli than Two-Time Super Bowl MVP Eli. However, by Tuesday all anyone will remember is the game-winning touchdown, which was an absolutely beautifully thrown ball.

– Good news: the Giants pass rush showed up for the second time in two weeks, although our initial impression is that Perry Fewell blitzed more than usual today. Jason Pierre-Paul was active, Justin Tuck had his best game of the year and Osi Umenyiora might be getting going.

– We were holding our breath there for a while and this game was certainly a better contest than most presumed it would be. But it was a huge win for the Giants, with another divisional foe waiting next week. Tony Romo and the Dallas Cowboys just squeaked by the Panthers, but the Giants can really get a leg up in the division race if they pick up another game on Dallas by beating them, and nullifying the tiebreaker Dallas earned in Week 1.

– Game ball: this one’s not easy because there were no obvious standout performances, so we’re going to go with Victor Cruz for getting behind the defense when it mattered most.

Dan Benton

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