Trent Williams wasn't totally healthy, bothered by a thigh injury. Neither was London Fletcher, hampered by a bad ankle. But there was little if any doubt that the Washington Redskins' captains would be on the field for Monday night's showdown with the New York Giants.
They were, starting the Redskins' biggest game of the season and contributing to the 17-16 win that kept playoff hopes alive. Williams and Fletcher wouldn't have it any other way.
"It's a situation where you don't feel 100 percent, but once the game gets going you hope your adrenaline kicks in, which it did," Fletcher said. "Just felt like battling, man. Sometimes you got to tough it out. And that's what I did. Trent toughed it out today. He wasn't 100 percent."
It didn't matter. Williams was playing at 60 percent against the Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving Day after he bruised his left thigh in a collision with left guard Kory Lichtensteiger.
Officially, the left tackle was listed as questionable. Teammates didn't believe he was questionable.
"He's a warrior, so he's going to go out there and play whether he's hurt or not," Lichtensteiger said. "I think he kind of liked to have all the attention on him this week by saying, 'Oh, I don't know if I'm going to play, I don't know if I'm going to play.' But I think we all knew he was going to play because he's like that. If it's even questionable, he's going to be out there and give it a go."
Fletcher was the same way. His streak of consecutive games played, tied for the active NFL record with Tampa Bay Buccaneers safety Ronde Barber, reached 236 despite a sore left ankle that has been bothering him for quite some time.
The veteran inside linebacker will likely have to wear a walking boot after games for the rest of the season. That's just part of his process to get ready to play the next game.
"With the ankle, it gets progressively better as the week goes. It still doesn't get to 100 percent," Fletcher said. "But after the game and during the game I'm putting a lot of stress on it that you normally wouldn't on it in normal situation, so they like to put me back in the boot to kind of calm it down for a couple of days. That's kind of what we got to do."
Whatever it takes to play, against the Giants and then Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens. With the Redskins' playoff hopes hanging in the balance every game, Fletcher said it's just a matter of getting himself together enough to give as much effort as possible on game day.
It certainly doesn't matter how these guys are feeling.
"I feel like [crap]," Williams said, "but I feel better now that we got that win."
Rivalry gets personal
When Alfred Morris fumbled the ball in the red zone early in the third quarter, things got interesting as players piled on. Redskins center Will Montgomery had his leg yanked on by Giants defensive tackle Linval Joseph, and when Montgomery kicked, it looked like Joseph tried to stomp on him.
Flags then flew from officials.
"I was in there trying to get the ball out. he was grabbing my leg and yanking me out of the pile," Montgomery said. "I tried to get my leg loose out of his arms. I guess that's when he tried to stomp me."
By the time everything got sorted out, Joseph and Lichtensteiger were given offsetting personal fouls. But that doesn't mean there was total agreement about what happened.
"I saw No. 95, Rocky Bernard, getting after one of our guys, so I stepped in there and tried to push him off. That's really all I did," Lichtensteiger said. "Certainly wasn't expecting to hear my number called. I don't know. Maybe they called the wrong number or maybe they just happened to see me out of everybody. But I certainly couldn't be the worst offender in that pile."
Asked about the incident, coach Mike Shanahan chose not to address it.
"I don't even want to talk about that one. I don't want to get fined after a win," he said. "After a loss, I can take the punishment. But, anyway, it is what it is."
Griffin's fumbling touchdown
For the second time this season, Robert Griffin III fumbled the ball only to have it end up as a Redskins touchdown because of one of his receivers. On Monday night, it was Joshua Morgan, who caught Griffin's fumble in mid-air to give the Redskins a 7-3 lead.
"We didn't run it in practice because we wanted to save it for the game," Griffin joked. "I just knew he was going to be there ready for it."
Morgan kept up the act.
"I mean, basically, it was just an option play," he said. "I just kept my pitch relationship on the option, and he pitched it to me as he was going down to the ground."
Officials reviewed the play to see if Griffin was down by the time the ball came out. It turned out he wasn't.
It worked out well that Morgan was in the right place at the right time.
"We've already gone through this. It was a pitch to Josh," Griffin said. "I knew he was going to be there, so I'm going to stay with that story."
Giants tackle Sean Locklear, who started four games for the Redskins in 2011, had to be carted off with an injury late in the game. Coach Tom Coughlin confirmed "it's a knee" injury.
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