Talk about a quick — and productive quarter, this was it. Each team had only had one full possession, and each made the most of it in different ways. The Redskins, who had more first-quarter points this season than only Cleveland and Indianapolis, needed only eight plays to cover 82 yards after taking the opening kickoff. It was the Roy Helu show. The rookie running back had a touch on six of the eight plays, including a 2-yard run for the touchdown. He went for 15 yards on the game’s first play and also had a pass reception on the drive. A highlight of the drive was a 42-yard reception by tight end Fred Davis. But the Jets answered with their longest drive, in number of plays, this season. They needed 17 plays to find the end zone. Included was a fourth-down conversion. The touchdown came on a 1-yard run by Shonn Greene. It was quite a quarter. Was it foreshadowing of a shootout in the making?
Hold the phone on that shootout thing. The Jets and Redskins used the second quarter to be the Jets and Redskins again. From the Redskins’ end of it, halftime would be one of those point-of-view things. The positive view? Well, the Redskins had a 13-10 lead at the break, thanks to a pair of Graham Gano field goals — from 33 and 23 yards. The Jets got a second-quarter field goal from Nick Folk from 45 yards to keep it close. The negative view? Well, it probably should have been a bigger lead. Washington got a huge break when Jeremy Kerley muffed a punt late in the quarter and Perry Riley recovered at the Jets’ 18. But Rex Grossman, who spent the quarter looking so-so rather than super, couldn’t get the team into the end zone. Washington settled for Gano’s second field goal and a slim lead. After a quick start, Grossman finished the half 9 of 20 for 120 yards, but he did make it to the second half without a turnover.
The Redskins went into the final quarter tied at 13 and very much alive in their bid for their second straight victory. But the progression of quarterback Rex Grossman hasn’t given Skins fans any cause for hope. Grossman started out as Super Rex and then he became So-So Rex and then he became, well, no words that start with “s” are really appropriate here. Grossman completed five of his first seven passes in the game. Through the end of the third, he completed only four of his next 17. Washington had five first downs on its first drive, but it had only five more from there through the end of the third. New York tied the score with 6:36 left in the quarter on a 51-yard field goal by Nick Folk. Washington then got a huge break. After Roy Helu fumbled it away to give the Jets the ball on the 29, Folk ended up missing a 40-yarder to leave the score tied. Helu’s fumble meant the Redskins had a turnover in 26 straight games.
As the clock ticked under five minutes, the Redskins had the lead thanks to a 46-yard field goal from Graham Gano that broke a tie at 13. Those final five minutes were a microcosm of the season for the Skins, who allowed the Jets to score three touchdowns to make the game look very one-sided. The Redskins barely missed a sack from cornerback Kevin Barnes that would have forced a punt. Two plays later, Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez put New York ahead for good with a 30-yard pass to Santonio Holmes. Rex Grossman lost a fumble on a sack on Washington’s next possession, and two plays later, New York scored again on a touchdown off a direct snap to Shonn Greene. Another Gano field goal closed Washington to within eight, but Greene went 25 yards for another touchdown on the Jets’ first play after a failed onside kick. Grossman was then intercepted and Washington’s winning streak ended at one.
With less than five minutes to play, Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez hit Santonio Holmes with a 30-yard scoring pass to put New York on top for good. But that is not the key play. Two plays before that, on third-and-6 with the Jets out of field-goal range, cornerback Kevin Barnes had Sanchez in his sights. But he hesitated just long enough on a pump fake and Sanchez found Shonn Greene for 10 yards and a first down. Who knows how things would have turned out if Barnes had made the sack?