You should have known, Robert Griffin III. You should have known, Redskins.
You did all you could, really. Griffin engineered a masterful drive late in the fourth quarter with his Washington team down 20-16, and seemed to have the game in hand when he threw a 30-yard touchdown pass to Santana Moss with 1:32 remaining.
However, that left Griffin, playing in his first NFC East divisional game, at the mercy of Eli Manning ... and Manning the Younger has a slightly impressive history of fourth-quarter comebacks. This time, Eli didn't even make it dramatic, throwing a perfect bomb downfield to receiver Victor Cruz, and Cruz ran into the end zone for a 77-yard scoring play.
It took Manning and Cruz one play to tear down what Griffin had tried so hard to build -- an impressive and crucial division win. But the Giants walked away with a 27-23 victory, a 5-2 record, and pole position in the NFC East. Washington moved to 3-4, and last place in that extremely competitive division.
On their final drive, Griffin and his teammates tried to replicate Manning's late heroics, only to see Moss fumble the ball at the Washington 43-yard line. Giants cornerback Jayron Hosley recovered the fumble, Manning took a knee, and the game was over.
Still, Griffin continued to impress and encourage. On his final scoring drive, he hit tight end Logan Paulsen to convert a fourth-and-10 after a scramble, and he gained 24 yards on the ground on the very next play. The Giants had their hands full with the rookie all day, and the stats reflected that -- Griffin completed 20 passes in 28 attempts for 258 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception. He added 89 rushing yards on just nine carries.
"I'm really mad at the football gods for putting him in the NFC East," Giants defensive lineman Justin Tuck said of Griffin after the game. "He's going to be a headache."
"That guy is flat out unbelievable, man. I'm not going to lie. That's the best quarterback we've played this year for sure," Giants defender Osi Umenyiora added. "And it's unfortunate that he's a rookie, because he's going to be around here forever doing stuff like that, and that's just crazy."
In the end, it was the turnovers that killed Washington -- coming into this game with just five giveaways, they gave the ball away four times Sunday.
Manning, who was erratic at times but murderously composed and efficient when it was most required, completed 25 passes in 40 attempts for 337 yards, one touchdown and two picks.
Of course, that stat line would mean nothing either way were it not for one key, opponent-killing play when it was required. Now you know, RG3. No matter how you think you have things in control, Eli Manning can always upset the outcome.
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