The Washington Times - December 2, 2013, 01:31AM

Referee Jeff Triplette said the chains were moved in error on the final drive of the Washington Redskins’ 24-17 loss to the New York Giants on Sunday, causing a third-down play to appear to be a first-down play.

Quarterback Robert Griffin III completed a 4-yard pass to wide receiver Pierre Garçon on second-and-5 that took the Redskins to their own 41-yard line. Garçon was short of the first down when tackled by weakside linebacker Jacquian Williams, and while Triplette signaled third down to each sideline, the chains were moved in accordance with a first down.

“It was complete there at the sideline but not a first down,” Triplette said after the game. “We signaled third down on the field. The stakes were moved incorrectly. After that play, we said it was still third down. We had signaled third down prior to the play starting. The stakes just got moved incorrectly.”

Redskins coach Mike Shanahan said he asked an official for a measurement after Garçon’s catch, but was told he didn’t need to do so because he was given a first down. Griffin then threw an incompletion downfield to tight end Fred Davis, at which point Triplette announced that the incompletion happened on third-and-1, not first-and-10.

Triplette, when asked about Shanahan’s assertions, said he couldn’t speak about it. He said he clearly signaled third down to each sideline; normally, in such a scenario, the officials would have stopped the game to reset the play, but the Redskins had no timeouts remaining and they believed it would give them an unfair advantage.

Griffin completed a pass to Garçon on fourth-and-1 on the ensuing play, and Garçon gained six yards before being stripped of the ball by Giants free safety Will Hill.

“All I know is we had the pass to Fred,” Griffin said. “We thought that was first down and the chains said first down. Then when we came back, we think it’s second-and-10 and they’re yelling it’s fourth down. No explanation, no measurement – didn’t stop the clock to allow the chains to move back. We just had to go ahead and call the play and go for it on fourth down.”