Best and worst moments from the Redskins’ 27-23 loss to the Giants in New York, or New Jersey, or whatever.
Best Player: Things change quickly in the NFL, and what’s true today isn’t true next week (much less next year). But right now, there isn’t a player in the NFL that forces you to stand up and watch a game you don’t care about more than Robert Griffin III. Sunday just added to that mystique. He went playground-style on a late 4th-and-10, improvising and avoiding defenders and coming up with a completion. On the next play, he ran for 24 yards. Two plays later, he threw a picturesque 30-yard touchdown to Santana Moss. On the road. In his first NFC East game. With less than two minutes on the clock. It was thrilling, regardless of what teams you root for.
Worst Heartache: And yet: the Redskins lost. They’re 3-4. Three rookie NFL quarterbacks have better records than RGIII. And they lost in brutal fashion, watching what felt like a secure lead disappear instantly on a 77-yard touchdown pass to Victor Cruz. In their four losses, the Skins have now allowed touchdown passes of 48, 73, 59, 34 and 77 yards.
Worst Turnover Spasm: Through six-and-a-half games, the Redskins had a total of five turnovers: four interceptions and a lost fumble. In the second half on Sunday, they had turnovers on three consecutive drives: an interception and two fumbles. A Santana Moss fumble on the last drive gave them four on the afternoon. You can’t consistently win when you give the ball away that often.
Best Forbath: How about this kid? Never attempted an NFL field goal before last week, and now he’s four-for-four, making a 50-yarder in his NFL debut and not missing in the notoriously tricky Meadowlands in his second game.
Worst Playcall: I mean, the Shanahans are operating on a different level than fans, and everything they’ve pulled out of their hats has worked this season, but the option pitch to a backup tight end on a crucial third-and-five call was…curious? Niles Paul lost a yard. The Giants nearly salted the game away on their ensuing drive.
Best Statistic: This might be old, but before Sunday’s game an NFL PR person sent out a notice that RGIII is the only player in NFL history with a 75-yard+ passing TD and a 75-yard+ rushing TD in the same season. Like, ever. In history.
Best Statistic, II: According to ESPN, the Redskins have now rushed for at least 100 yards in 12 straight games. That’s the longest active streak in the NFL. Yes, the Washington Redskins.
Best Statistic, III: RGIII already has more career rushing yards than Sonny Jurgensen had in his Redskins career.
Worst Miscommunication: Whatever happened on Griffin’s third interception of the season, it wasn’t good. The rookie double-clutched and then threw to Logan Paulsen, who appeared to be on a different page and cut off his route short. It was about the easiest interception Stevie Brown will ever have to make, and it set up a go-ahead Giants touchdown.
Worst Third-Down Defense: The Redskins defense entered the week allowing 41 percent of third downs to be converted. On Sunday, the Giants converted 8 of 12 third downs. That loses football games.
Best Fourth-Down Offense: On the other hand, the Redskins entered the week converting 100 percent of fourth-down attempts, making all three of their tries. They added three more conversions on Sunday — including that absurd 4th-and-10 on their final drive — and are still at 100 percent. That’s a tribute to the guy under center.
Worst Penalties: So many choices!! Heck, the Redskins had five in the first 13 minutes. The winner — for Washington, at least — was probably the illegal shift call on Fred Davis that wiped out a gorgeous 35-yard touchdown pass to Josh Morgan on Washington’s first drive. The Redskins wound up with a field goal on the drive; they still haven’t reached the end zone on their first drive through seven games. Plus, Davis badly hurt his Achilles later in the drive, on a play that wouldn’t have happened had the TD stood. Honorable mention to DeAngelo Hall’s 15-yarder on a late hit.
Worst Penalty Call: Leg whip? That 15-yard call on Tyler Polumbus in the third quarter erased a long Alfred Morris run to the Giants’ 13-yard line, and created a 1st-and-long. On the next play, Morris fumbled for the first time as a pro, the game’s first turnover. Also, that leg whip call was atrocious.
Best Recovery: A failed exchange between RGIII and Morris looked like disaster, but Griffin picked up the ball and ran for 5 yards anyhow. A deadly tornado could whip through the Redskins backfield on any given play, and there’s still a 17 percent chance Griffin could improvise his way to a positive gain.
Worst Effort to Catch a Lovely Deep Ball: Leonard Hankerson. Not really going all out on that bomb from RGIII on the opening drive of the second half, was he? The ball nicked off Hankerson’s fingers, even though his arms did not appear to be fully extended.
Worst Job Sliding Before the First-Down Marker: Also Hankerson! Slides are cool when the quarterback does it. Wide receivers? Not so much. Would have been nice to see Hankerson attempt to battle for a first down on a crucial fourth-quarter catch.
Worst Punting: In the first half, Sav Rocca wasn’t needed at all. In the second half, he began his day with a 33-yarder. That’s his second 33-yarder in two weeks. Blech.
Best Streak: The Redskins now have at least one interception in eight straight games, the NFL’s longest streak. They got two on Sunday, including a marvelous grab by linebacker Rob Jackson.
Worst Play Fake: On a third-down play on Washington’s first drive, Griffin executed a play-action fake to Evan Royster. Problem was, Royster was already in front of him, so RGIII flashed the ball behind Royster’s back. Didn’t matter, though; Washington still converted for a first down. See: tornado theory, above.
Weirdest Moments: Not a best or a worst, but did you see Ahmad Bradshaw run over London Fletcher in the first quarter? And then Bradshaw catch a short pass and out-race Fletcher for a first down in the second quarter? And then Andre Brown leap into the air at the goal-line, and meet Fletcher, and fall forward for a score? Weird stuff.
Best Field-Goal Drive: Washington’s first drive of the game was a mix of beauty and agony. There were 17 plays for 93 yards, which was good. The drive lasted more than nine minutes, which was amazing. Alfred Morris carried 10 times for 46 bruising yards, which was pleasing. But somehow they got away from the run inside the 5-yard line, and settled for three points, which is where the agony came in.
Best Blocking: Moss’s first touchdown went for 26 yards, and was helped by like eight terrific downfield blocks from running backs and tight ends and offensive linemen and shepherds and auto mechanics and cheesemongers.
Worst Red Zone Pass: Manning had Cruz for a gimme touchdown near the end of the first half, and threw the ball to Piscataway. The Giants settled for a field goal.
Best Hit on RGIII: The kid carrying the cups of Gatorade and/or water on the Redskins sideline. I guess technically Griffin delivered the hit on the waterboy, when he cruised out-of-bounds following a 28-yard run. Didn’t look like any Gatorade and/or water spilled, either.
Worst Impact From a Big-Time Free Agent Acquisition: Pierre Garcon, I guess. Remember how excited fans were after his big first quarter in New Orleans. Season’s really flying along, isn’t it?
Worst Pass Rush: The Redskins just don’t seem to get to the quarterback much. Like, they don’t even really touch the quarterback. Or see him. Or know he exists. They entered the week with 12 sacks in 6 games; they now have 13 sacks in 7 games.
Worst Tweet: I know no one cares, but why would the Redskins official Twitter account send out this pre-game message: “EVERY pregame prognosticator on @CBSSports @RESPNNFL @NFLNetwork picks against #Redskins today. Can’t wait to prove them wrong!” If your team wins, you’re in first place, and fans are way too happy with the result to remember a silly bit of pre-game boasting. And if your team loses, you just kind of look silly to anyone who was paying attention. Social media accounts are cool for information and behind-the-scenes stuff and quick updates. But I would leave the boastful predictions to the guys actually playing the game.