Burress Helps New York Catch -- and Pass -- the Redskins

By Stephen A. Norris
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, September 24, 2007

Plaxico Burress sat in the corner of the New York Giants' locker room at halftime yesterday, his head drooped to his chest. He was discouraged not because his team was down 17-3 and facing an 0-3 start, but because of his own play. Burress was the target of five passes, but he'd dropped three and caught none.

"I don't think I've ever started off a game like that," Burress said. "I came in at halftime and no one was more disappointed than myself. I felt bad because I was letting my team down."

Burress emerged as a new man in the second half, fueling the Giants' 24-17 come-from-behind victory over Washington at FedEx Field. Burress caught five passes for a game-high 86 yards, and his one touchdown was the game-winner.

With 5 minutes 40 seconds left and the Giants on the Redskins 33-yard line, Burress caught an Eli Manning pass at the 25-yard line, dodged cornerback Carlos Rogers and darted up the middle of the field to complete the pass play that gave the Giants a 24-17 lead.

"It was an all-out blitz and I was the hot guy on that play," Burress said. "Eli made a throw, I cut in front of Carlos, snatched the ball, missed the tackle, made a move and scored."

After backing into the season with two losses, a win at FedEx Field seemed improbable for New York (1-2). The Redskins (2-1) were coming off a win over Philadelphia last Monday and were off to their best start since 2005. Washington's defense was holding opponents to 12.5 points per game, leading the NFL in third-down defense and holding receivers and quarterbacks to 5.2 yards per pass attempt. Burress finished the game with a 17.2 yards per catch average but more importantly, gave the slumping Giants the boost they needed on the road.

"To his credit he came roaring back in the second half to make the plays he had to make," Giants Coach Tom Coughlin said.

Burress also made two big catches to extend drives that led to touchdowns in the third and fourth quarters. With 12:06 remaining in the third and the Giants facing third and seven on the Redskins 39-yard line, Burress snagged a 15-yard pass from Manning over the middle that took the Giants down to the 24-yard line. Reuben Droughns scored on a one-yard run a little more than two minutes later to make the score 17-10.

Burress struck again with 2:30 remaining in the third and the Giants facing second down with six yards at midfield. He caught a 23-yard pass from Manning, putting the Giants on the Redskins 27-yard line. Droughns finished the drive by scoring from one yard out with 12:38 left in the fourth quarter.

Later in the fourth, Burress was the beneficiary of a pass interference call on Shawn Springs that would lead to his game-winning touchdown.

"We were just trying to keep the drive going," Burress said. "We were inconsistent in the first half and really couldn't get into a rhythm. It was three and out, three and out. [The problem] was me. I let my team down in the first half."

Burress has been nursing a sore ankle and said he played at about 80 percent.

"I chose to go out there and play today," Burress said. "I wasn't going to make up any excuses."

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