1 - The Redskins’ strategy from the beginning Sunday should have been to keep the ball out of Eli Manning’s hands, and they started off strong on that front. After a fourth-and-1 false start by ex-Redskins lineman Sean Locklear derailed the Giants’ first drive, Washington started at its own 5 and chewed up nearly the rest of the quarter on the way to a field goal. Alfred Morris nearly topped his entire rushing total from a week ago on the drive, carrying 10 times for 46 yards. It sputtered at the end after a dubious illegal shift call on Fred Davis wiped out a TD and Davis was lost to an injury, but the ball control was impressive.
2 - A crisply played game continued into the half, with both teams moving the ball down the field effectively for the most part. Of course, both teams squandered opportunities in the red zone as well. The biggest of those may have been Manning missing a wide-open Victor Cruz in the end zone on third down, leading the Giants to settle for a Lawrence Tynes field goal with 3:53 to go in the half. The Redskins followed that with two big runs — 28 yards by Robert Griffin III followed by 30 from Morris — but had to take a field goal when Justin Tuck sacked RG3 on third down.
Play of the game: Only one choice here, right? Eli Manning erased what had been a shaky afternoon by unleashing a 77-yard touchdown to Victor Cruz, who blew past Josh Wilson and Madieu Williams for the game-clinching score with 1:13 left.
3 - So much for that offensive efficiency. Both teams sputtered out of halftime, going punt-punt-fumble-interception-interception on full possessions in the quarter. The most costly sequence for the Redskins came midway through the period, when a Morris run to the Giants’ 13 was negated by a leg-whip personal foul on Tyler Polumbus. That backed Washington up into a first-and-23, and Morris coughed up his first career fumble on the next play.
4 - The Redskins converted three fourth-down conversion attempts, most notably Griffin’s scramble-and-heave 19-yarder to Logan Paulsen that set up what Washington hoped would be the winning touchdown with 1:32 to go. Of course, that beautiful 30-yard RG3 toss to Santana Moss became a footnote after Manning’s stunning bomb.
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Marc Lancaster has covered Major League Baseball for the Tampa Tribune and the Cincinnati Post and served as an editor at FanHouse.com and SportsIllustrated.com. A University of Georgia graduate, he began his career as a sportswriter at the Athens (Ga.) Banner-Herald. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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