FEDEX FIELD - Watch any Redskins game, and it's clear Pierre Garçon approaches every snap like a fight. Talk to any coach, and it's clear Garcon brings intensity from start to finish. In Sunday's game against the Eagles, Garçon provided all of that for the Redskins, and his tough and tenacious play proved the difference in the 23-20 Washington victory.
"He’s one of the greatest competitors on this football team. People feed off of that," Redskins coach Jay Gruden said following the win, which pulled Washington's record even at 2-2.
Before Garçon hauled in the game-winning touchdown catch with less than a minute remaining, he exited the game with a knee sprain in the second half. At that point, few would have guessed the wideout would be back on the field to catch the game winner. But that's how Garcon is, unless he physically can't play, he wants to be on the field.
"I definitely want to go out there and give it everything I’ve got," Garçon said of his knee injury. "I’m glad it didn’t give out on me right before the end of the game.”
Redskins coach Jay Gruden must be glad Garçon was able to fight through pain and finish the game too, as he made multiple impressive grabs on the 4th quarter 90-yard TD drive.
"Those are some tough catches that he made today," Gruden said. "When the ball’s in the air, he’s going to go get it."
No play proved Gruden's words truer than the game winner, when QB Kirk Cousins found Garçon for a four-yard TD. Everyone in the stadium could see the QB focus on 88, including the defense, and two Eagles defenders collided with Garçon at the goal line.
"I looked back and I saw the ball coming, reached out for it, caught it and then, I felt hits from all over," Garçon said after the win. "I didn’t know how many hits, but I looked down and I was glad I was on the other side of the white line."
The receiver was blasted from both his right and left, helicoptered around in the air, but held on to the ball that gave Washington the victory.
"Everybody on the sideline knew who we were going to," nose tackle Terrance Knighton said. "He's a gamer. He's one of our toughest players on the team."
Cousins ran off the field screaming in victory, an exhilarating 4th quarter comeback that would not have been possible without Garçon's late-game heroics.
"He’s fearless, he makes the tough catch," Cousins said of Garçon. "He showed that today throughout the game but certainly on those catches at the end. He’s the kind of guy you want to be in the huddle and out on the field and in those moments."
While Garçon's stats don't jump off the page - 7 catches for 55 yards and 1 TD - the plays he makes in traffic, knowing he will absorb big hits, are remarkable. Garçon generally defelcts much individual praise, and did the same Sunday after the win. He wants victories to be about the team, not the player.
“Our coach called a great play," he said. "I’m glad it all came through at the end of the game when we needed it most.”
Garçon can deflect all he wants, but the praise from his teammates tells the real story.