Robert Griffin III, as Washington Redskins quarterback/AP
LANDOVER, Md. -- Robert Griffin III approached the drive that
preserved his team's season late in the third quarter Monday night with
the mindset that has fueled this electric Washington Redskins playoff
"Just go score. It's just the mindset we have had
since we came back from the bye. If we lose this game, our season's
done," Griffin said after a 17-16 comeback win against the New York
Giants. "We didn't have the ball very much in the first half. So every
time we had the ball after that, we had to make the most of it. Guys
took that to heart."
Down six to the defending Super Bowl
champions, the Redskins gained possession at their own 14-yard line with
3:04 left in the third quarter. Twelve plays, 86 yards and six minutes,
38 seconds later, Griffin had them in the end zone on an 8-yard
touchdown pass to receiver Pierre Garcon.
"It was an important
drive," said Garcon, who caught a game-high eight passes for 106 yards.
"Robert did a great job. When we really needed a touchdown, he put it in
the end zone. That's what a good team does when its back is against the
It was the kind of drive that defines elite quarterbacks.
Giants defenders had hands on hips, gasping for air during that drive
as rookie running back Alfred Morris ripped off runs of 10, 16 and 7
yards on his way to a 124-yard, 22-carry night. By the end, euphoric
Redskins fans were chanting, "RGIII! RGIII!"
He even used a little
magic: Griffin took off on second-and-2 from the New York 28-yard line.
When he was hit by safety Stevie Brown, the football popped straight
into the arms of receiver Josh Morgan, who raced 13 yards for a TD and a
7-3, second-quarter lead.
It was Griffin's second fumble this season that a teammate recovered for a touchdown.
on our side," Griffin said. "There are a lot more goals this team is
striving for. I know we can definitely accomplish them."
In the end, Griffin passed for 163 yards and rushed for 72 more.
kid is going to be great for a long time, and he's just starting to get
there,'' cornerback DeAngelo Hall said. "It feels good to be in the
"No disrespect to the Giants -- I love all those
guys, Eli Manning and Victor Cruz. But I felt we should have won the
last one (a 27-23 Oct. 21 loss). We're not scared of them. We match up
well against them."
This night is why coach Mike Shanahan
traded three first-round picks and a second-rounder to move up to second
overall in the April draft to select the former Baylor Heisman Trophy
FedEx pulsed with an electric, playoff-atmosphere as the
Redskins won their third straight game against an NFC East opponent to
improve to 6-6. The Redskins are seventh in the pecking order for their
conference's six playoff berths, one back of the 7-5 Seattle Seahawks
with four games to play.
"This is the loudest I've seen FedEx
Field since the Dallas game here at the end of the 2007 season," said
15th-year linebacker London Fletcher. "It's a huge win. It's been since
2007 when we last played meaningful games in December."
and the defense took great satisfaction watching Griffin and company
close out the Giants, draining the final 3:51 off the clock. That drive
opened with an 8-yard sideline run by Griffin when he stayed in bounds
to keep the clock moving despite getting buckled by linebacker Michael
Griffin applies a lesson learned after a discussion with Shanahan a few weeks ago.
knew we were under four minutes and I had to stay in bounds," Griffin
said. "I just kind of got a little stuck there on the sideline because I
was bee-lining toward the sideline and at the last second realized I
needed to stay in.
"Coach called it the 'Gumby hit' because my legs bent like Gumby. You have to take those for the team sometimes."
Griffin gave as good as he got in pulling his team within one game of the division-leading Giants.
a lot of excitement around this team and I think everybody feels it,"
Griffin said. "We knew the atmosphere was really charged up and electric
and the fans definitely showed up for us. It's great that we could get
the win for them."