The New York Giants had just done everything in their power to allow the Washington Redskins to stick around. Washington had turned the ball over on three consecutive drives, two fumbles and an interception. The last of which was a fumble by Robert Griffin III on a sack by Pierre-Paul on the Giants’ 29 yard line.
New York, now with the ball, was leading the game 20-13 with seven minutes on the clock and all of the momentum. So on first down the Giants come out throwing and Eli hits Redskins’ linebacker Rob Jackson square in the chest. There are two stupid parts to this play. One, why in God’s name are the Giants passing the ball there. They had already neglected the run all game, running only 19 times while throwing 40 passes.
And you have to keep in mind that Eli Manning was not playing a very good game up to that point. He had missed open receivers, the worst being Victor Cruz wide open in the end zone and had thrown a bad interception as well. I am not saying that Eli should not be allowed to throw the ball in that spot, but would it not be more appropriate to run the ball, or use a play action pass. The worst the Giants could do there, without fumbling, would be to run the ball three times, take two minutes off the clock and pin the Skins deep, forcing them to score a touchdown to tie the game. And even if they do tie the game, you figure they may leave enough time on the clock to let Eli work his magic, as he ended up doing anyway, but in much more dramatic fashion.
Anyway Eli throws the interception, but fortunately the Giants’ defense forces a field goal, to make the score 20-16.
New York gets the ball back and continue to throw the ball, why?, who the hell knows. After a sack and a short run, the Giants are facing a third and 15 on their own 12 yard line and the unexpected happens. The Giants run a SUCCESSFUL SCREEN PLAY!?! Are you kidding me? The Giants have not run a successful screen play to a running back since Tiki Barber was on the team.
With that gift, the Giants run the ball and complete a pass to Cruz to set up a third and one with three minutes left. This right here is pretty much the game. If New York can convert this third down they will force the Redskins to start using their timeouts and would end the game with one more first down. The Giants attempt a pass and it is incomplete. Now you can argue that with Eli Manning at quarterback and the defense expecting a run, the pass play here makes sense, but I say now is the time for mano y mano. Put in the off balance offensive line and shove it down their throats. If you do not get that first down, than you do not deserve it.
New York punts the ball and RGIII drives the field and hits Santana Moss for a go ahead touchdown. A lot of credit must go his way for that drive, but I have one major gripe. That spectacular fourth and ten play from him was more so a product of the Giants sending a three man rush, which should be banned from the NFL, than he himself making a great player, which he did so it does make it difficult to discredit the play. However, when has a three man rush ever worked…………EVER!!!!! You cannot recall because it does not ever work.
New York had just ran their regular aggressive defense on two consecutive plays and it was working. Then on third down they went to a three man rush, giving Griffin way too much time, but he delivered an inaccurate pass down field. Watching this game, it was pretty clear that Griffin is not a very capable passer on passing downs, from the pocket just yet. All of the passes he completed from the pocket seemed to be out of the pistol and play action. And with the Giants not being able to stop the run all day, those passes become a lot easier in play action.
Now comes the play. Three man rush, no pressure and then Griffin runs out of the pocket, because this is what he does best, create with his legs. Pulls the Giants defensive backs with possibility of him running and buys just enough time to complete a 19 yard pass. Just plain hideousness. The Giants’ defensive line was creating pressure that whole second half, and neutering the best asset the Giants have on defense makes no damn sense. Even if the defensive line is unable to put pressure on Griffin, it is much easier to force him to stay in the pocket with those four guys than with just three pass rushers and it had become pretty evident the man wanted to move around. New York’s pass rush had given him some happy feet.
After that incredible, if you want to call it that, first down, you knew he was leading the Redskins down the field for the go ahead score. It just happened to be completed to the ultimate Giants killer, Santana Moss. Moss must prepare three times as much during the week when facing the Giants, than he does against anyone else. Yes Moss is a nice, little player, but against the Giants he is an all-time player. In his 12 year career, Moss has 60 touchdown catches.11 of them against the Giants. That means 18.3% of his 60 touchdowns have come against the Giants. That is unbelievable when you consider that the second most he has against any other team is six against the Dallas Cowboys, and the most he has against anyone else is four.
Leading 23-20 with a minute and a half left, Washington had very little time to celebrate. Because on the second play from scrimmage, Eli Manning hit a streaking Victor Cruz for a 77 yard touchdown pass. The touchdown put the Giants up for good, THANK GOD, and were able to get a little revenge on Santana Moss when they stripped him on the ensuing drive for a 27-23 victory. Eli Manning, with his 24th fourth quarter comeback victory, has cemented himself as one the most clutch quarterbacks in the history of the game. He cemented that status before yesterday’s game, but in case you forgot, he is.
Tomorrow I will give my, The Good, The Bad, The Ugly view on the game.