The Redskins’ season was in the balance when they started a drive at their own 14 with just over three minutes left in the third quarter.
The Giants had just scored on a field goal to take a 16-10 lead. If New York would have been able to hang on they would have had a stranglehold on the NFC East, a three game lead with four to play. Even a wild card spot in the postseason would be very much a longshot for the Redskins if they fell to 5-7.
But, as we have seen all year long, the moment was not too big for quarterback Robert Griffin III. He was asked what his mindset was when they took the huddle at that time.
“Just go score,” he said. “The guys took it to heart.”
Alfred Morris got things started runs of 10 and 16 yards. Griffin scooted around left end for seven. A nine-yard pass to Morgan got them into New York territory at the 41. Hankerson caught a slant for 14 yards that made it first and goal at the eight. Wasting no time, Griffin rolled right and sucked up the defense thinking he was going run. His touchdown pass to Pierre Garçon was an easy toss and the Redskins were up 17-16 with 11 and a half minutes left to play.
Garçon was the target of 11 of the 21 passes Griffin threw and he caught eight for 106 yards.
“He’s supposed to be our guy and he’s playing like it,” said Griffin of the Redskins’ prize free agent acquisition of the offseason.
The 12-play drive didn’t have any tense moments. They didn’t face a single third down and their most challenging down and distance was second and seven.
Just because the drive was relatively easy, though, doesn’t mean that it weren’t some tense moments before the Redskins could post their third straight win.
A sack stopped the Giants’ subsequent possession. The Redskins pushed into Giants territory on their next drive but a questionable pass interference penalty spiked it. A holding penalty negated a first down in Redskins territory on the Giants’ next drive and they punted it away.
The Redskins got the ball at their own 27 with 3:51 left. They certainly did not want to allow Eli Manning, who had beaten them with an improbable bomb in the last minutes of their game in October, to get his hands on the ball with any amount of time left on the clock.
They picked up one first down on Darrel Young’s four-year run on second and two. That forced New York to start burning its timeouts. On second and eight Griffin dropped back and fired a bullet over the middle to Garçon, who caught it for 17 yards.
The final nail in the Giants’ coffin came a few plays later when Morris pounded up the middle for six yards on third and three. One play from victory formation later, the Redskins were winners.
“We made the plays when it counted,” said Griffin. “I couldn’t be any more proud of the guys.”
Although Griffin said that “stats don’t mean anything” his numbers were pretty good. He completed 13 of 21 passes for 163 yards and the touchdown for a passer rating of 101.9. Griffin did not throw an interception and he was not sacked. On the ground, he gained 72 yards on five carries, including a 46-yard dash in the third quarter.
The Redskins now trail the division leading Giants by one game with four to play. New York now has three division losses while the Washington has only one. That means that the Redskins potentially has the tiebreaker advantage should they catch New York for the division lead.
“There’s a lot of excitement surrounding this team and I think everybody feels it,” said Griffin.
A lot of people are feeling it and RG3 is the man mainly responsible for creating it.