Robert Griffin III may be the future of the National Football League, but Eli Manning is the most clutch quarterback in the game right now. And the Giants (5-2) are still the team to beat in the NFC East, as Big Blue defeated the upstart Washington Redskins, 27-23, at MetLife Stadium on Sunday, October 21. Here's a summary of how they did it in the team's report card for week seven.
Offense -- Manning (26-of-40 passing, 337 yards) made the clutch throw, a 77-yard bomb to Victor Cruz with 1:13 left in the game -- what else is new? -- but he also tossed a pair of ugly interceptions. No, Manning wasn't at his best against the worst pass defense in the league. Ahmad Bradshaw and Andre Brown each had short TD runs, but the rushing game wasn't very good either. After gaining 392 yards on the ground in their last two games, the Giants managed only 64 against Washington. Cruz finished the game with team highs in catches and yards with seven and 131, respectively. Grade: C+
Defense --The defense had a chance to close out the game in the fourth quarter, but Washington (3-4) drove 77 yards on seven plays for the go-ahead touchdown with 1:32 left. Considering how the defense played in the first three quarters, I can't say I was surprised. Griffin completed 20-of-28 passes for two touchdowns (both to Santana Moss) and ran for 89 yards. And Alfred Morris added 120 yards rushing, as the Redskins racked up 248 yards on the ground. However, the Giants forced five fumbles, recovering three of them, and Stevie Brown made a huge interception late in the fourth third quarter. It led to a Big Blue touchdown. Those turnovers were the difference. Grade: C
Special Teams -- Sooner or later, David Wilson is going to break a kick off return. He averaged 26.5 yards per return on four chances. The Giants return coverage was solid and Lawrence Tynes as 2-for-2 on field goal attempts, so nothing to rave or complain about here. Grade: B
Coaching -- If the Giants lost this game, the coaching staff would have taken a lot of heat. First of all, the offensive play-calling was questionable, especially late in the fourth quarter when the Giants threw the ball on 3rd-and-1 and didn't convert. New York as forced to punt and Washington scored on the ensuing possession. Furthermore, the Giants came out flat to start the game for the fourth straight home game. They are lucky to be 3-1 at MetLife Stadium. Grade: C
Next Marking Period --The Giants visit the Dallas Cowboys for a key divisional rematch on Sunday, October 28 (4:25 p.m. EDT). Dallas beat the Giants, 24-17, at MetLife on Opening Night. Dallas leads the all-time series, 57-41-2, but New York swept the season series last year on the way to winning the NFC East championship.
Adam Martini is a freelance sports writer who proudly wears his Rodney Hampton jersey on Sundays during the football season. He grew up in Queens, N.Y. rooting for the Giants despite being surrounded by Jets fans. Adam follows back Giants fans on Twitter @PegCitySports.
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