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Manning 77-yarder to Cruz rallies Giants 27-23

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Manning 77-yarder to Cruz rallies Giants 27-23

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) Robert Griffin III came to the New York-metropolitan area and put on a show. He ran. He threw. He dodged New York Giants' defenders with breakaway speed and left many shaking their heads and bemoaning another meeting down the road.

The rookie sensation left something else on the field. A couple of costly turnovers and way too much time for Eli Manning to pull off another fourth-quarter comeback.

Manning one-upped RGIII with a pinpoint 77-yard scoring pass to Victor Cruz with 1:13 to play and the Giants overcame a late touchdown toss by Griffin to defeat the Washington Redskins 27-23 on Sunday.

``He has done it so many times,'' veteran Giants defensive tackle Chris Canty said after Manning delivered his eighth fourth-quarter winning drive in less than two seasons. ``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.''

Manning's pass to Cruz was the longest game-winning touchdown in the final two minutes in the history of the franchise, which dates to 1925. 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.

But Manning made one more play in keeping the Giants (5-2) in first place in the NFC East.

``With our offense and Eli at the helm, we're never too worried,'' said Cruz, who had seven catches for 131 yards. ``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.''

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 first-place tie. ``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 the Redskins moving when Moss was tackled by Chase Blackburn and fumbled after an 11-yard reception. 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 turnovers.

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 at the Giants 29.

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.

``I'm pretty mad at the football gods for putting him in the NFC East,'' Giants defensive end Justin Tuck said. ``To face that guy twice a year is going to be a headache.''

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. ... New York had three sacks, and allowed its first in four games.

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Capitals Faceoff Podcast: What happens in Vegas....

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Capitals Faceoff Podcast: What happens in Vegas....

It's almost here.

After a lengthy break between the conference finals and the Stanley Cup Finals, the Capitals and Vegas Golden Knights are set to meet on Monday for Game 1.

Who will hoist Lord Stanley's Cup?

JJ Regan and Tarik El-Bashir give their keys to the series and their predictions for the Stanley Cup Final. Plus, JJ speaks with several member from the local media to get their insights and predictions.

Check out their latest episode in the player below or listen on the Capitals Faceoff Podcast page.

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Need to Know: A look at the Redskins' key 2019 free agents

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Need to Know: A look at the Redskins' key 2019 free agents

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, May 27, 16 days before the Washington Redskins start minicamp.  

Note: I am vacationing in the Outer Banks this week. In this space, I’ll be presenting some of the most popular posts of the last few months. I hope you enjoy these “best of” presentations and I’ll see you folks when I get back. 

Here is my sunrise view from this morning:

Looking at next year’s free agents

This post was originally published on March 18. 

There is still work that the Redskins can do in free agency and they still have some of their own players they want to retain. But with a lot of the player movement already in the books, we can take a look forward some of the key Redskin who currently are set to be free agents when the 2019 league year opens. 

QB Colt McCoy (Week 1 age 32)—Lots of questions here. Will the Redskins want to keep him around for another year as Alex Smith’s backup? Or will they want a younger and cheaper backup? Will McCoy want to move on rather than back up another QB who doesn’t miss many games?

OL Ty Nsekhe (32)—The Redskins gave him a second-round restricted free agent tender this year so it’s possible that he could be gone or on a long-term contract in Washington. If he is a free agent, his value and the difficulty of retaining him could depend on if he ends the season as a reserve tackle (easy) or as a starting guard (hard). 

OLB Preston Smith (25)—As we saw with Trent Murphy (three years, $21 million with up to $30 million), pass rushers get paid. Smith also makes big plays. Since Smith came into the NFL, he is the only player with at least 20 sacks, 3 interceptions, and 4 forced fumbles. If the Redskins can’t reach a deal on an extension with him this year the franchise tag is a distinct possibility. 

WR Jamison Crowder (25)—This year the supply of quality receivers both as free agents and in the draft sent contract prices skyrocketing. To guard against that happening next year, the Redskin should start talking to Crowder about an extension soon. 

ILB Zach Vigil (27)—As I noted here, Vigil went from being cut in September to a very valuable reserve in November. Both Zach Brown and Mason Foster will still be under contract, but the Redskin still should make an effort to retain Vigil for special teams and as a capable backup. 

Other Redskins who are slated to be UFA’s next year are DL Ziggy Hood and ILB Martrell Spaight. 

It’s also worth noting that WR Maurice Harris and DE Anthony Lanier will both be restricted free agents next year. Both positions were pricey in free agency this year, so both could require at least second-round tenders, which likely will increase to about $3 million in 2019. 

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCSand follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCSand on Instagram @RichTandler