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Giants Can't Catch RG3 This Time

NFC East lead shrinks in 17-16 loss to Redskins

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    The rookie got 'em the second time around.

    Eli Manning got the last laugh on Robert Griffin III when the Giants faced the Redskins the first time, but RG3 got some revenge on Monday night. 

    Griffin threw a touchdown pass to Pierre Garçon in the fourth quarter to put the Redskins ahead 17-16 and then he hit Garçon again for a first down just before the two-minute warning to allow the Redskins to run out almost all of the clock on the win. The drive that led to the winning touchdown was a nifty little number, covering 12 plays in 86 yards against a Giants defense that didn't know if the Redskins were coming or going. 

    Zone read plays out of every formation under the sun gashed the Giants all night long. Alfred Morris went for 124 yards on 22 carries, beating the Giants by going around them or through them as the moment dictated. 

    It's a duo the Giants should probably get used to seeing and one that isn't going to get any easier to deal with in the coming years. But as much as they did, this was a game lost because of sloppiness on offense. 

    The first Giants drive established two narratives that would recur throughout the night. The first was that the Giants could move the ball well on the ground and through the air. 

    There were a few misfires throwing the ball here and there, but Manning looked better than he did against the Packers for most of the night. Ahmad Bradshaw ran really well for the second straight week, bullying his way to keep the drive moving along into Redskins territory. 

    And move along they did, getting into scoring position. The drive stalled after a false start on Sean Locklear and the Giants settled for a field goal.

    On five of their first six possessions of the game. Thanks to a series of drive killing penalties and poor execution on other plays, the Giants only came away with four field goal attempts and one touchdown. 

    Lawrence Tynes missed one of those kicks thanks in part to a bad snap by Zak DeOssie, lost points that loomed large as the final seconds clicked off the clock. But the bigger misses were the penalties -- the Giants would have nine on the night, including one that wiped out a big David Wilson kickoff return after the Griffin touchdown pass -- and the fact that so many points were left on the board. 

    That's why the Giants led only 13-10 at the half even though they dominated. Even the Redskins touchdown was a fluke when wide receiver Josh Morgan caught a Griffin fumble and scampered into the end zone. 

    The second half was a different story, though. The Redskins held the Giants to another field goal after what seemed like a killer Morris fumble and then came the backbreaking drive. 

    A sack killed one Giants drive and then another penalty, holding on Will Beatty, wiped out a third down conversion on the next possesion. The Giants would punt the ball away and then the defense got run over as the Redskins ran out the clock. 

    There was a confusion on both sides of the ball in the second half that was concerning for the Giants, who lived down to fears that last week was as much about having two weeks to prepare for one game as it was about rejuvenation. The defense, in particular, looked like they had no idea what to do with Griffin. 

    They won't be the last team to struggle with that, which is of little comfort to the Giants right now. The Giants now lead the division by a game against both the Redskins and Cowboys and they have no tiebreaker advantage on either team.

    It's a race again in the NFC East and the Redskins are the hottest team in the division. 

    Josh Alper is also a writer for Pro Football Talk. You can follow him on Twitter.

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