NFL Washington Redskins

Five Reasons Why the Washington Redskins beat the New York Giants

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Robert Griffin III victorious in primetime debut.

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The stage was set for the Washington Redskins: a primetime home game against the Super Bowl champion New York Giants. The Redskins lost the first matchup Week Seven by a 27-23 score, despite Washington’s ability to move the football. However, consecutive victories over the Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys have filled the Redskins with a newfound confidence.

The game lived up to its billing. It was reminiscent of the old NFC East rivalry games between the two teams, when legendary former head coach Bill Parcells coached the Giants, while Hall of Fame coach Joe Gibbs patrolled the sidelines for Washington.

Washington quarterback Robert Griffin III provided some great moments. He used his arm to make all the necessary throws. Griffin III, or “RG3” as he’s affectionately known in NFL circles, also used his great running ability to sustain drives in the second half. Although he fumbled in the first quarter, the ball was picked up by Redskins’ wide receiver Joshua Morgan and returned for a touchdown. That must have been an omen of good things to come for Washington.

Alfred Morris continued to supplement the play of Griffin III, gaining tough yardage in an effort to earn first downs for Washington. While Griffin III gets the lion’s share of the publicity, Morris’ consistency running the football keeps the Redskins competitive each game.

New York quarterback Eli Manning was efficient, leading the Giants to their only touchdown of the game. The Giants dominated the game early, but were unable to pull away. Shockingly, New York lacked the killer instinct that a champion has to put away a seemingly inferior opponent. The Giants’ inability to put the Redskins cost them the victory.

At 6-6, Washington is very much alive for a playoff spot. The Redskins’ current three game winning streak, constructed with wins over each of their division rivals, has them only one game out of first place in the NFC East. Considering their recent history, capturing the NFC East would be a remarkable feat for the Redskins.

But let’s not get too hasty, Redskins’ fans. As of this writing, Washington is not in the playoffs. But for now, the Redskins can savor their third consecutive victory. With that said, here are five reasons why the Washington Redskins beat the New York Giants:

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The aura of Robert Griffin III.

Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Despite the dynamic ability of the sensational Washington quarterback, Griffin III only managed a modest performance. Yes, he did set a record for most rushing yards by a rookie quarterback, gaining 72 yards to bring his season total to 714. And of course, he did electrify the hometown crowd every time he touched the ball.

However, Griffin III managed only 163 passing yards, a paltry total considering the current trend that suggests great passing performances win games. On the positive side, Griffin III did not throw an interception, and he did throw a touchdown pass. His performance, while not as dominant as in the past, was one of the reasons the Redskins emerged victorious over the New York Giants.

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Pierre Garcon reclaims his featured receiver status.

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Certainly, the 2012 NFL season started out on a frustrating note for wide receiver Pierre Garcon. He missed nine games in 2012 due to an injured right foot. However, he has come on strong in recent weeks. Against New York, Garcon was Washington’s leading receiver with eight catches for 106 yards.

Garcon showed no effects of his right foot injury. In fact, he looks closer to the big play receiver he was while with the Indianapolis Colts. Garcon was also on the receiving end of Griffin III’s game winning touchdown pass. Simply put, Garcon’s presence on the field is one of the reasons the Redskins defeated the Giants.

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The New York Giants miscues seal their fate.

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During the Week Seven game, Washington had four turnovers and committed many untimely penalties that led to a Giants’ victory. During the Week 13 rematch, turnabout was fair play, as it was New York who shot themselves in the foot.

While the Giants did not commit a turnover, they were penalized nine times for 73 yards. Several of those penalties backed New York from around midfield to deep in their own territory. Other penalties nullified Giants’ first downs. Needless to say, that didn’t please New York head coach Tom Coughlin, a known disciplinarian who detests these types of miscues.

Making matters worse, normally reliable placekicker Lawrence Tynes missed a field goal early in the game after a long, time consuming drive by the Giants’ offense. This particularly had to demoralize the New York Giants. Considering that Washington won the game by a point, this was a major reason for the Giants’ loss.

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The Washington Redskins’ defense bent, but didn’t break.

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The Washington Redskins’ defense has been much maligned in 2012. The secondary constantly giving up big plays was bad enough. Allowing time consuming drives that keep Griffin III and the Washington offense on the sidelines made things even worse.

The hearts of Washington Redskins’ fans everywhere had to skip a beat when Manning once again connected with wide receiver Victor Cruz for a 49 yard gain. While Cruz didn’t score on this play, it seemed like déjà vu for Washington’s defense, as a touchdown seemed imminent.

This time, there would be a different outcome on this drive. New York had to settle for a field goal, keeping the score close. Redskins’ linebacker and defensive captain London Fletcher played inspired football, leading the team with 12 tackles. Despite having the advantage in total yardage and time of possession, New York managed to reach the end zone only once. This is another reason why the Washington Redskins defeated the New York Giants.

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The Washington Redskins’ offensive line.

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The Washington Redskins’ offensive line would face their biggest test against the New York Giants’ pass rush. New York defensive linemen Justin Tuck, Osi Umenyiora, and Jason Pierre-Paul were primed and ready to go after Griffin III and dispose of the myth of RG3’s greatness with a few sacks and hard, legal hits.

However, it was the Washington offensive line that kept the Giants’ front line at bay. Redskins’ linemen Trent Williams, Kory Lichtensteiger, Will Montgomery, Chris Chester, and Tyler Polumbus did not allow a sack. They also paved the way for another 100 yard rushing performance by Morris, as well as another great rushing day for Griffin III. The play of the unheralded offensive line is the main reason the Washington Redskins beat the New York Giants.