Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Redskins Edge Giants 17-16 on MNF

Ryan Kerrigan (91) gives chase to Giants' Eli Manning

Maybe it's time to finally admit, "I'm a believer." The Washington Redskins won their third straight game, defeating the New York Giants 17-16 in front of a raucous crowd of 80,246 at FedEx Field late last night. By defeating the defending Super Bowl champs on Monday Night Football, the Skins climbed back into the playoff hunt... tied with Dallas, one game behind the Giants (7-5) for the division lead; and one game back of Seattle for the final wild card spot.

Three weeks ago, all this didn't seem possible. The Skins were 3-6 and head coach Mike Shanahan was backpedaling from his controversial "Now we get a chance to evaluate players and see where we’re at." To be fair, coach Shanny was probably just frustrated over losing to the lowly Carolina Panthers; but the line seemed to motivate his team, and perhaps single-handedly resurrect their season.

Rookies Robert Griffin III and Alfred Morris led the Skins to victory, to go along with a stellar defensive effort against Eli Manning and the vaunted Giants' offense. RG3 ran for 72 yards on just five carries, and passed for 163 yards and a fourth quarter TD to Pierre Garcon. Morris rushed for over 100 yards (22-124) for the second straight game, breaking the Redskins rookie rushing record previously held by Reggie Brooks (1,063 in 1993.) Morris is up to 1,106 yards on the season and has a legitimate chance to catch Clinton Portis' team record of 1,516 back in 2005.

The Redskins held the Giants scoreless in the fourth quarter, and controlled the final four plus minutes of the game with effective clock management and timely plays. One of those plays was a key 17-yard pass from RG3 to Garcon just before the two-minute warning, that effectively put the game out of reach. Garcon finished the game with 8 catches and 106 yards; and his return seems to have added yet another dimension to the Skins' suddenly potent offense. Love that Pistol Formation!

The Giants racked up 393 total yards (compared to 370 for Washington) but the Skins defense allowed just one touchdown, a 4-yard pass from Manning to Martellus Bennett in the second quarter. The Giants are now 0-5 this season when scoring less than 20 points. Last night's win for the Redskins ended a 10-game losing steak at home on Monday night. The last time the Skins tasted that kind of victory was October 10, 1997 when they defeated the Dallas Cowboys and Troy Aikman 21-16. To give you an idea of just how long ago that was: Norv Turner was still head coach and Gus Frerotte was the starting quarterback.

It's been awhile since I've been to FedEx Field, and I have to admit the atmosphere was reminiscent of the Skins last playoff home game way back in January 2000 against the Detroit Lions. It's been a long drought for fans of the burgundy and gold, but RG3 and Morris look like the real deal. Maybe they can make the playoffs after all. Next week's showdown versus cross-town rival the Baltimore Ravens will be a major test, but a win could get this town really excited.

Click here for last night's box score.