Redskins’ defense breaks down when game vs. New York Giants is almost won

Video: The Washington Post’s Jason Reid tells you what the Redskins did right, and wrong, during their fourth quarter loss to the Giants. And look ahead to next week to find out what the team needs to do to put a ‘W’ in the win column against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Quarterback Robert Griffin III and wide receiver Santana Moss teamed up to give the Washington Redskins a lead on a 30-yard touchdown with just more than 1 minute 30 seconds to play Sunday at MetLife Stadium. The Redskins had a chance to seize a share of the NFC East lead and drop the New York Giants, the defending Super Bowl champions, to 0-3 this season in divisional play.

But the defense couldn’t do its part, surrendering a 77-yard touchdown pass from Giants quarterback Eli Manning to wideout Victor Cruz with 1:13 left. The Giants held on for one more Redskins’ possession and prevailed, 27-23.

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“I thought that we were going to win the game,” Redskins linebacker London Fletcher said. “You see [Moss] make a great play. Robert put the ball right where it needed to be. So I’m thinking, ‘Hey, this is a great opportunity for our defense to stand up and make a play.’ And you see Manning hit Cruz and you’re just like: ‘No. I can’t believe this is happening,’ the way it happened that quickly.”

The Giants struck with stunning swiftness on their second play after the Griffin-to-Moss touchdown. Manning tossed an on-target pass to Cruz after the wide receiver sprinted past Redskins cornerback Josh Wilson and safety Madieu Williams.

“They made a play, man,” Wilson said. “They made a play.”

Williams gave a similar explanation, saying: “They made a play. We didn’t execute as well as we had been doing throughout the game, and credit to them.”

The Redskins declined to assess blame publicly.

“We had him double-teamed,” Coach Mike Shanahan said. “Two guys double-teamed him on that play. Obviously Cruz did a great job of splitting the double-team.”

Said defensive tackle Barry Cofield: “We’ve got pros back there. We’ve got good coaches. And, you know, other teams make plays sometimes. You get to pointing fingers, especially this early in the season, it’ll be a disaster. So I won’t be doing that. We’ve got to stick together. We’re still in the race.”

But the Giants’ late touchdown left Sunday as a day of could-have-beens for the Redskins.

“It’s definitely a tough one to swallow,” Wilson said. “We want . . . the offense to come in and lean on us. And we didn’t hold up.”

 
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