- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 14, 2014

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — The frustration has been building for weeks, even months, and when Robert Griffin III appeared to leap over the goal line and into the end zone on a broken play with seconds remaining in halftime, the Washington Redskins could finally celebrate.

“The way the season went, we all needed it,” said fullback Darrel Young. “Only us.”

Griffin made it into the end zone, but as officials ruled, the ball didn’t come with him. Thus, a 10-point swing before and after halftime led to the Redskins‘ undoing on Sunday, when they fell, 24-13, to the New York Giants for their sixth consecutive loss.

Instead of entering the break with a 10-point lead, the overturned touchdown, the recovery of an onside kick and a successful field goal allowed the Giants to tie the score at 10 not even two minutes into the third quarter.

“We shouldn’t have let that play alter the game for us, but, ultimately, it did,” Griffin said. “It was a touchdown. That’s how we all felt — everybody in that locker room, coaches included.”

The Redskins had marched 82 yards to the Giants‘ 8-yard line behind Griffin, who entered the game after the first drive of the afternoon as Colt McCoy continued to experience issues related to a bulging disk and pinched nerve in his neck.


SEE ALSO: Opportunity lost: McCoy’s injury gives Griffin a chance to reclaim starting job


Facing third-and-goal, Griffin stepped under center and took the snap, then anticipated pressure from the right and took off running. He worked his way toward the right side of the end zone before being met by defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul near the Giants‘ 5-yard line.

Griffin took to the air, the ball in his right arm, and approached the pylon. That’s when the play broke down. While airborne, the ball came out of Griffin’s hand, and though it appeared he regained control of the ball in the end zone with his toes dragging near the 1-yard line, the initial touchdown ruling was overturned.

The quarterback’s excitement — he stalked down the sideline, spiking the ball to the turf after three exaggerated steps — didn’t last particularly long. A prolonged review by referee Jeff Triplette led to the decision to overturn the touchdown and, considering Griffin’s loss of possession, award the Giants with a touchback.

“After review, the runner lost possession prior to crossing the goal line,” Triplette explained, on microphone, after the review had been completed. “When he regains possession, he must control it throughout the process of going to the ground. He did not. It is a fumble forward out of bounds in the end zone. It is a touchback.”

That result sent a wave of fury trickling down the Redskins‘ sideline, with coach Jay Gruden and several other coaches and players walking onto the field to ask Triplette about the ruling.

“On the replay, I thought, at first, they were checking to see if his feet were inbounds or whether he stepped out before,” said tight end Logan Paulsen. “Then, like, I saw there was a little ball oscillation, and I thought, ‘Maybe he didn’t have possession,’ … but I didn’t think that’s where they were going with it. For them to make that ruling after kind of speculating that it might be the issue, I was really surprised. That really hurt us.”

Moss and Garçon, in particular, were especially irate, with Moss voicing his frustrations to field judge Alex Kemp loud enough for Triplette to eject him from the game.

Triplette, speaking to a pool reporter following the game, said Moss used language that was “very, very inappropriate” and “was derogatory towards the official,” which prompted an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty and the disqualification.

“When you’re on the field, you just see a touchdown, and I was excited, man,” Moss said. “When I saw the call overturned — it only happens to us. It feels like every time we do something good, something bad comes out of it, and it’s only been happening to us.

“It’s been 10 years of this, so I just got carried away. I let that get the best of me, and I know better, and I have to do better.”

The pair of 15-yard penalties were then tacked on to the opening kickoff of the second half, setting the Giants up for an onside kick. Josh Brown’s attempt fluttered down the sideline and escaped the diving attempt at a recovery by several Redskins players, with cornerback Chandler Fenner pulling it in at Washington’s 17-yard line.

“We had our hands team out there,” Gruden said. “We figured it was coming. They just made a great play on the ball.”

The Redskins‘ defense, aided by a 5-yard false start penalty, held New York to just a 32-yard field goal. The effect of the swing in momentum, though, was clear — the Redskins failed to convert on fourth-and-2 on their ensuing possession and scored only once, a 38-yard field goal, during the rest of the game.

“We just can’t catch a break,” Young said. “It’s [pointless] to talk about. We lost, so everything is an excuse now.”

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