Week 13: Suddenly 6-6, Redskins are surging at right time

The Redskins are 6-6, one game back of the New York Giants in the NFC East and in the thick of the running for a playoff spot. With four games remaining, this is a very different team that headed into the bye week. It has won three in a row, against division opponents, and moves on to a game against the Baltimore Ravens at FedEx Field.

There’s a different attitude, a sense that, as Robert Griffin III put it, if each player “dominates his guy,” they can continue on a roll. We’ll see how that holds up against the 9-3 Ravens.

Thanks for joining Katie and me tonight. See you Sunday.

RGIII: “We made the plays when it counted”

Robert Griffin III said, among other things, that he’d vote for running back Alfred Morris for Rookie of the Year. And … there’s more.

On the hard hit he took near the end of the game: 

“I could feel the typewriters writin’ when I took that hit — people sayin’ I run too much. We had talked about this a few weeks ago, when the clock stops and when it doesn’t stop. I knew we were under four minutes, so I had to stay in bounds. I just kind of got a little stuck there on the sideline because I was beelining toward the sideline. At the last second, I realized I needed to stay in [bounds]. Coach called it the Gumby hit because my legs bent like Gumby. It was fine. You’ve got to take those for the team sometimes.”

On whether hearing his name chanted was a first:

“I’ve had the feeling before at Baylor, but to do it in the NFL, have the fans all behind you — not just the quarterback but behind the team … There’s a lot of excitement surrounding this team and I think everybody feels it. We knew the atmosphere was going to be charged up, really electric and the fans definitely showed up and showed out for us.”

On whether he was pleased with his first Monday night performance:

“The outcome was a win. That’s what you want. Stats don’t really mean anything. Early in the game we didn’t have the ball very much, but we won the game. We made the plays when it counted. We held onto the ball there at the end when we needed to to seal the victory.”

On what’s different now from a month ago when they were 3-6:

“I think it’s the mindset. It’s just the mindset of the team. Each individual guy, you have to go out and dominate your position. If every guy on your team dominates the guy in front or dominates the guy he’s supposed to dominate, then you should never lose. I think that’s what the guys are doing. They’re going out on every play trying to dominate the guy in front of them and that’s helping us win. We know that our backs are against the wall and even though we won tonight, our backs are still against the wall. That’s the attitude that we have to have.”

On the butt touchdown/fumble:

“It was a pitch to Josh [Morgan]. I knew he was going to be there [laughing], so I’m going to stay with that story.”

On whether he saw Andrew Luck lead the Indianapolis Colts to a win Sunday:

“I try not to watch football, but my Twitter was blowing up with what happened. I checked the Game Tracker and saw that they won late in the game. I think it’s great that all the rookie quarterbacks that came out this year are playing at an extremely high level. Whether the stats support it or not, there’s a lot of guys out there playing really, really well. We’re doing what everybody said we couldn’t do — come in and be successful in the league right away.”


Mike Shanahan: on the defense, RGIII

Coach Mike Shanahan’s press conference…

On first-half struggles:

“Any time a team is 8-for-10 in the first half on third downs you’re going to be in for a long half. We kept them to 13 points, which was good. In the second half, obviously we got much better in the third-down area. That was the difference in our defense, playing at that level and holding them to obviously three points.” 

On Alfred Morris’s clutch first down:

“If we would have punted in that situation, they would have gotten the ball with about 23, 24 seconds left. And to be able to close out a game like that, when they know you’ve got to run the football, says a lot about our offensive line as well as Alfred running the football.”

On winning their third game in a row — against NFC East opponents:

“We knew, three weeks ago that ever game that we played was like a playoff game. [I’m] really proud of our football team, the way we focused, how hard we played — you know, playing for 60 minutes. There’s going to be some highs and lows in every game. I was just pleased with our guys fighting through it, keeping their poise and never giving up. For a while there, I think everybody got a little frustrated. They were doing a great job controlling the tempo of the game there in the first half. We regrouped at halftime and found a way to slow them down.”

On the return of Pierre Garcon:

“I think everybody saw the last couple of weeks how much he means to our football team. [He’s] very explosive. Every time he touches the ball he has a chance to go the distance. I love the way he competes in both the running and the passing game. He’s a very smart player as well.”


RGIII: “We won the game. That’s all that matters.

Robert Griffin III spoke with ESPN’s Lisa Salters immediately after the game ended.

On what was going through his mind when Alfred Morris picked up the Redskins’ final first down:

“Victory. I told the guys in the huddle, this is the game right here. We’ve got to go get it. Those guys stepped up big for us and that’s why we won.”

On Eli Manning’s ability to lead a comeback:

“That wasn’t in my mind. We just knew we had to win it. We let one slip away last time [in New York] so we wanted to come out here and prove that we could contend and not just contend but go out and win.”

On what he wanted to do differently with the Giants seeing him for the second time:

“Just be more decisive in my decision-making. I didn’t play a perfect game by any means, but no one ever does. We won the game. That’s all that matters.”

Redskins win, 17-16

(Nick Wass/Associated Press) With a victory over New York, the Redskins have their first three-game winning streak since 2008.

With a six-yard, first-down run by Alfred Morris the Redskins sealed a 17-16 victory over the New York Giants Monday night and improved to 6-6 on the season.

Not only did the victory mark the Redskins’ first win on Monday Night Football since 2007, but Washington now has a three-game winning streak for the first time since 2008. Perhaps more important, though, is that Washington’s hopes of reaching the playoffs remain intact. 

Giants’ Sean Locklear injured

New York offensive lineman Sean Locklear, a former Redskin, was carted off the field with 5 minutes 15 seconds to go in regulation after suffering an apparent leg/knee injury. 

Robert Griffin III tosses first touchdown on MNF

(Nick Wass/Associated Press)

The Redskins took a 17-16 lead with 11 minutes, 31 seconds remaining in regulation against the Giants on an eight-yard pass from Robert Griffin III to Pierre Garcon. The score capped a 12-play, 86-yard drive for Washington as Griffin III made leading the offense down the field look easy. 

RGIII breaks NFL rookie quarterback record

(Evan Vucci/Associated Press)

It’s a night of records for the Redskins at FedEx. Robert Griffin III now holds the rookie record for rushing yards by a quarterback after passing the 706 yards recorded by Carolina’s Cam Newton in 2011. Griffin III has rushed for 65 yards on three carries against the Giants so far tonight. 

Alfred Morris breaks Redskins record

In addition to becoming the first Redskins to reach the 1,000-yard rushing plateau since 2008, Alfred Morris broke the franchise rookie rushing record on Monday night against the Giants. The previous mark of 1,063 yards was set by Reggie Brooks in 1993. Not too shabby for a sixth-round pick.

Third-quarter takeaway: Turnover costs Redskins chance at lead

A fumble in Giants’ territory killed the Redskins’ chances to either take the lead or tie the Giants in the third quarter. Meanwhile, the team continues to struggle in pass coverage, but remains within reach, trailing 16-10 after three quarters.

Right after Griffin ripped off a 46-yard run, Morris picked six yards, but got hit in mid-air by linebacker Chase Blackburn. The hit jarred the ball loose, and the Giants recovered at their own 9.

It marked only the second fumble Morris has lost all season, but it could prove very costly.

In a game where points are hard to come by, the Redskins have very little margin for error.

Instead of positioning themselves for a game-tying field goal, or lead-capturing touchdown, Washington then saw the Giants march downfield (a 49-yard pass to Victor Cruz being the highlight) to tack on another field goal and go up by six.

The Redskins offense is not its usual high-powered form, with only 117 passing yards through three quarters.

Meanwhile, the Giants enter the fourth quarter with 379 yards of offense.

Redskins hold Giants to field goal after fumble

Lawrence Tynes kicked his third field goal of the night, a 35-yarder, to put the Giants ahead 16-10 with 3:14 remaining in the third quarter. That New York only mustered a field goal after recovering the fumble by Alfred Morris – given that the second play of the drive was a 49-yard completion from Eli Manning to Victor Cruz — is definitely a positive turn of events for the Redskins.

About those offsetting penalties…

Just what was going on with the offsetting penalties on Will Montgomery and Linval Joseph? Well, a fair amount of kicking in the groin vicinity.

Alfred Morris fumble stymies key Redskins drive

After forcing the Giants to punt for the first time tonight in the third quarter, Washington’s drive came to a premature end after a fumble by rookie running back Alfred Morris. He had scrambled for six yards but Giants linebacker Chase Blackburn forced the ball free. New York linebacker Keith Rivers recovered to give the Giants the ball at their own nine yard line. 

Of Morris’s three fumbles this season, two have come against the Giants. 

Redskins vs. Giants: First half photos

Second quarter takeaway: Giants dominating time of possession

The Redskins trail 13-10 at halftime, but the deficit should be much greater.

Washington got a fair amount of help from the Giants. Eli Manning has missed on two deep throws where his receivers have beat the Redskins’ defensive backs, Lawrence Tynes missed a field goal, and New York has committed six penalties for 45 yards.

The Redskins will go into the locker room, and coaches will likely point to one very glaring stat: 8-for-10. That’s the Giants’ success rate on third downs this first half.

Because of that, they hold a huge advantage in time of possession, plays run, yards gained, you name it.

The Giants have 16 first downs to Washington’s 7. New York has run 40 plays to Washington’s 14. The Giants have out-gained the Redskins 273-156, and have held the ball 20 minutes, 32 seconds to Washington’s 9:28.

The most effective showing from the Giants came late in the second quarter, when they gashed Redskins for a 13-play, 85-yard, 7-minute, 23-second scoring drive that gave them a 10-7 lead late in the quarter. On that drive, the Giants’ penalties didn’t prove as costly because Washington’s defensive backs appeared to be a half-a-beat slow on several plays.

Safety DeJon Gomes, who is trying to earn consistent playing time after being in the doghouse for several weeks, isn’t exactly helping his case. Twice he was late picking up tight end Martellus Bennett – once on a second-and-20 play where Bennett was wide open for a 24-yard gain, and again for a four-yard touchdown pass in the middle of the end zone.

The main offensive highlight of the second half for Washington was a 35-yard catch-and-run by Garcon across the middle. On the play, Garcon again demonstrated his speed, which is something the Redskins sorely lacked last season. Washington failed to convert on third-and-12, and had to settle for a Kai Forbath field goal (the kicker’s 11th in 11 tries as a Redskin).

That tied the score at 10-10, but the Giants promptly moved downfield (Manning connected with Bennett again for a 28-yard pass down the middle of the field and positioned his team for a field goal before the half ended.

Giants take lead into halftime

On their final drive of the first half, with just 41 seconds to go before the break, the Giants did what they’ve done all game it seems and churned down field once again. The six-play, 54-yard drive resulted in a 40-yard field goal by Lawrence Tynes to put New York ahead 13-10 heading into the second half. 

Redskins even things up

Redskins kicker Kai Forbath remains perfect on the season, now 11-for-11, after making a 33-yard field goal to tie the game at 10-10. Forbath’s field goal came less than a minute before halftime to conclude a 6-play, 51-yard, 1 minute and 51 second drive by Washington.

Giants regain the lead

(Patrick Semansky/Associated Press)

Give Eli Manning enough time in the pocket and not even a plethora of penalties can keep the defending Super Bowl MVP from taking advantage. Manning found Martellus Bennett on a four-yard pass to put the Giants ahead 10-7 with 2:32 remaining in the first half. 


Paging a pass rush …

The bad news? The Redskins aren’t generating much of a pass rush.

The good news?

Giants miss field goal try

The Redskins 7-3 lead remains intact early in the second quarter after New York kicker Lawrence Tynes missed a 43-yard field goal try. It marked the unsuccessful end of a 13-play, 51-yard drive for the Giants who continue to dominate time of possession but have little to show for it.

With just over 8 minutes remaining in the first half, New York is driving once again and are adding to 152 total yards and 14:20 time of possession. The Redskins, meanwhile, have 105 total yards in 7:37. 

First quarter takeaway: Redskins score on odd play

The Redskins picked up one of two third down on the drive (the first on a 10-yard Logan Paulsen catch that originally was ruled a nine-yard gain, but after being reviewed was moved up to a 10-yard gain). But a drop by Pierre Garcon three plays later on third-and-4 killed the possession.

The Giants responded by going 69 yards in 11 plays, but had to settle for a 39-yard field goal from Lawrence Tynes to take a 3-0 lead with 6:27 left in the first.

The Redskins came back with a drive that produced an unconventional touchdown play.

On second-and-2 from the Giants’ 28, Griffin called his own number on the option play, gaining 16 yards on a run around the left end. New York safety Stevie Brown knocked the ball lose of Griffin’s grasp as the quarterback was falling to the ground, and the ball squirted up and into the air, where trailing receiver Josh Morgan caught it at the 13-yard line, and raced to the end zone. The play was reviewed, and the touchdown stood.

That marked the second time that a Redskins receiver has scored a touchdown off of a Griffin fumble. In Week 4, Griffin fumbled just before crossing the goal line, and Garcon recovered in the end zone.

The Redskins took a 7-3 lead with 4:27 left in the first quarter.

Redskins pull ahead, 7-3

Is there anything Robert Griffin III can’t make look cool? After a 12-yard run Griffin III fumbled, but the ball was recovered by Redskins wide receiver Josh Morgan who carried it the remaining 13 yards to the end zone for a touchdown.

The wacky play put Washington ahead 7-3 after a four-play, 80-yard drive that took just 2 minutes 6 seconds. 

That’s a TD. 2012 is not like any other season.

Yes, Robert Griffin III turns a butt fumble of a different sort into a butt touchdown.

Morris hits 1,000-yard plateau

(Nick Wass/Associated Press) Alfred Morris, the Redskins’ first 1,000-yard rusher since 2008.

With a 19-yard run on his third carry against the Giants Monday night, rookie running back Alfred Morris became the Redskins’ first 1,000-yard rusher since Clinton Portis in 2008. Morris entered Week 13 just 18 yards shy of the mark. 

Giants take 3-0 lead

Lawrence Tynes kicks a 39-yard field goal to give New York a 3-0 on their first drive of the game. The Giants’ drive went 69 yards on 11 plays in 6 minutes and 27 seconds.

In other news, linebacker Niles Paul was back on the field with the Redskins’ kickoff return unit. False alarm there. 

Niles Paul hurt

Tight end Niles Paul appears to have hurt his right shoulder during punt coverage. 


Welcome, Mr. Strasburg.

Will Mara’s comments backfire?

Not that they needed it heading into an NFC East game, but the Washington Redskins used comments by New York Giants owner John Mara as a bit of a motivational tool. 

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported (via Dan Graziano):

Mara, the chairman of the NFL’s management committee, was among those who led the charge to take away $36 million worth of salary-cap space from the Redskins this past offseason. 

In an article that was posted on ESPN.com on March 25, Mara was quoted as saying, “I think [the Redskins] are lucky they didn’t lose draft picks” and “I thought the penalties imposed were proper.” 

In the days leading up to the Giants-Redskins game on “Monday Night Football,” Washington coaches and officials had Mara’s quotes hanging on sheets of paper on their office doors, according to team sources. 

Based on the quotes, the Redskins are convinced that Mara tried to have enough draft picks taken away so that Washington couldn’t complete its deal with St. Louis for the rights to select quarterback Robert Griffin III.

New Yorkers tour FedEx

Dickie V makes a pick

Not that Dick Vitale knows football, but here’s his prediction anyway:

Can RGIII help Redskins change Monday night luck?

Robert Griffin III makes his Monday Night Football debut tonight against the Giants and perhaps the rookie can help change the Redskins’ luck in the prime time game. Washington lost each of its past five appearances on Monday night. The Redskins’ last victory on Monday night was Sept. 17, 2007 when they captured a 20-12 win over Philadelphia. 

Denard Span got the memo.

The Nationals’ new outfielder is a convert.

Fletcher, Williams active for Redskins

Redskins linebacker London Fletcher and left tackle Trent Williams are both active against the Giants despite missing practice time this week with injuries. Fletcher, whose streak of consecutive games played will increase to 236, has been coping with a sprained left ankle while Williams has a thigh bruise. 

You won’t see Ryan Torain tonight

The New York Giants signed Ryan Torain, the Redskins’ former running back, after Andre Brown broke his leg last week. He won’t be active tonight, though, the Giants say. They also signed Kregg Lumpkin, who’ll play on special teams.

Look who’s at FedEx Field

At FedEx Field, Comcast SportsNet’s Tarik El-Bashir ran into a guy he used to spend a fair amount of time with. Anyone else want to hear his bird calls?

Week 13: Redskins vs. Giants

Join the discussion for the Week 13 Redskins live blog as we break down tonight’s game against the New York Giants at FedEx Field. It’s a critical contest for the Redskins (5-6), who want to keep their playoff hopes alive and record their first three-game winning streak since 2008.

Their chances of accomplishing both goals may very well hinge on how well Washington can protect Robert Griffin III from the aggressive pass rush of the NFC East leaders and defending Super Bowl champion Giants (7-4). Leading the way in safeguarding the rookie quarterback is a matured Trent Williams.

Additional reading material: Wise: Hold the coronation | Alfred Morris not wearing down | How productive will Garcon be? | Five story lines | Grade RGIII | Week 13 scoreboard