- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 24, 2012

DeAngelo Hall is not a quarterback, and Eli Manning is not a rocket scientist. That much was clear Wednesday when the former Pro Bowl cornerback and the reigning Super Bowl MVP traded barbs while continuing the post-mortem of Manning’s 77-yard touchdown pass that lifted the New York Giants to a 27-23 win over the Washington Redskins on Sunday.

The stench of receiver Victor Cruz’s game-winning touchdown will linger around the Redskins until at least Sunday, when their narrative gains a new chapter against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

For now, Washington’s defensive backs are talking about the play and how to stop this trend of giving up big plays.

Cruz ran past cornerback Josh Wilson and safety Madieu Williams, who were in double coverage. Cruz caught quarterback Manning’s throw 2 yards past Wilson and 3 past Williams, and he ran for the touchdown.

Manning “ultimately made the play to beat us, but I don’t feel like he made that play; I feel like we gave them that play,” Hall said. “That was nothing he did — aw man, he saw this and saw that — we just had one guy set his feet, one guy not do this and, man, I could have threw that ball and he could have scored.”

Manning said after the game that Cruz made an adjustment based on what he saw when the Redskins used the same coverage during a two-minute drill at the end of the first half. Cruz recognized the double team and knew the best way to beat a double team is to run past it.

Manning recognized what Cruz was doing during the route, and he lobbed a deep pass, accordingly

Hall on Wednesday didn’t consider Manning’s read a stroke of brilliance because the blown coverage didn’t require much deduction.

“It wasn’t something he was just a rocket scientist and he just figured out,” Hall said. “We just played that as bad as possible.”

Hall’s critique of his teammates left no room for Manning to take credit for the play, so Manning settled for accepting the touchdown and the victory.

“I appreciate him giving it to me,” Manning deadpanned for Giants media, according to ESPNNewYork.com. “Thank you. No, I didn’t think it took a rocket scientist to figure it out, either. We had a guy running open and you hit him.”

“If that’s the way they want to put it in their heads, then that is fine,” Manning continued, according to the The Star-Ledger of Newark, N.J. “But the fact is, that was the coverage. If they messed up, that is what you’ve got to do as an offense. You’ve got to take advantage of it. If a team wants to give up some plays, or they don’t want to play well on a certain day, it is our job to play better and make the plays and take advantage of that opportunity.”

And so the analysis and re-analysis of the play continued.

That’s normal, considering how crushing the defeat was for the Redskins. They had taken the lead only 19 seconds earlier, and then Cruz drove in the dagger.

Wilson did not jam Cruz off the line of scrimmage. Cruz released freely and ran a go route. Wilson took a step inside to prevent any inside route, and Cruz went deep.

“Everybody talks about getting your hands on somebody,” Wilson said. “It’s a lot easier to sit there and talk about it. It’s tough.”

Wilson was especially mindful of his inside responsibilities after Cruz beat him on a crossing route for a 14-yard reception against that same double team at the end of the first half.

“I can’t give him the inside, and so I’ve got to be able to play my responsibility,” he said. “That’s what I know I’ve got to play. Yeah, I could have been a little bit closer, but that’s definitely tough. It’s pick your poison, and I guess I picked the wrong poison.”

Williams wasn’t interested in discussing the play after Wednesday’s practice, saying he had moved on.

So what will he take from it into Pittsburgh this Sunday?

“We’ve got to execute the defense better,” he said, “the way it is drawn up.”

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