“It wasn’t a ton of points, but we definitely weren’t happy coming in at halftime,” Cofield said. “It was not a happy locker room. We felt like we could do better. Any time a team can run the ball like that on us, we’re very unhappy. We tightened it up a lot in the second half.”
Defensive coordinator Jim Haslett altered his team’s approach in the second half.
The Redskins switched from combination coverages to almost exclusively man-to-man. They also rushed the passer more aggressively, sending five rushers more frequently and deploying some cornerback blitzes.
The changes helped the Redskins more effectively pressure quarterback Eli Manning. New York gained only 117 yards in the second half.
“Anytime the front end works, the back end works, too,” cornerback DeAngelo Hall said. “It works well together when both sides are doing what they’ve got to do.”
The Redskins kept it close in the first half by turning a possible disaster into a touchdown.
Out of the triple option from the Giants‘ 28-yard line late in the first quarter, Griffin kept the ball on a run around the left edge. He tried to slide to avoid contact, but safety Stevie Brown jarred the ball loose.
Griffin backhanded the loose ball to receiver Josh Morgan, who was running to his left as part of the option. Morgan snatched it out of the air and ran it 13 yards into the end zone.
“We didn’t run it in practice because we wanted to save it for the game,” Griffin joked.
In the second half, the Redskins overcame Alfred Morris’ critical fumble at the Giants‘ 9-yard line. On the following possession, Morris and Griffin powered a 12-play, 86-yard drive that culminated in Garcon’s touchdown catch.
The defense forced the Giants to punt on their final two possessions. Outside linebacker Rob Jackson got the Redskins off the field on both. He had a sack on the first and tackled running back Ahmad Bradshaw on the second.
Jackson lobbied Haslett at halftime to play him on third downs, something he hasn’t done much of this season.
“He believed in me, so I felt like I had to show up,” Jackson said. “If I’m asking for an opportunity, I’ve got to go out there and make something happen.”
Washington ran out the final 3:51. Griffin kneeled on the final play, setting off a celebration.
The Redskins are alive and well.