Blog: RGIII has arrived, but it’s still Eli’s stage

Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III avoids a tackle by New York Giants cornerback Prince Amukamara during the first half Sunday. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

George Wallace,

WASHINGTON – Welcome to the NFC East, Robert Griffin III.

On Sunday afternoon, we saw Griffin continue to excel in only his seventh NFL game. We also saw why Eli Manning is one of the best to play the quarterback position.

Manning found Victor Cruz for a 77-yard touchdown late in the game to give the Giants a 27-23 win and their first division win of the year. The Giants’ quarterback finished with 337 yards passing, one touchdown and two interceptions. He also needed only two plays to bring his team back after Griffin took the Redskins down the field and connected with Santana Moss from 30 yards out for a touchdown. Griffin converted a 4th-and-10 on that drive in which he scrambled, sandlot football-style, for what seemed like two minutes, and found Logan Paulsen for a first down to keep the drive alive.

It was then up to Jim Haslett’s defense to hold a three-point lead. Unfortunately, Manning and Cruz had a different idea and made it look way too easy. Mike Shanahan said that the defense had the correct play call late in the game: a double-team on Cruz. In the end, the Redskins were left wondering what could have been had they not turned the ball over four times and had they played a full 60 minutes of football.

In the locker room, Redskins players were quick to praise the late-game heroics of Manning.

“He’s like Joe Montana now, the team has no quit because they believe in him,” nose tackle Barry Cofield said.

When asked if Manning was the best late-game quarterback in the NFL right now, Josh Wilson said, “Today he is.”

“He got this one,” the corner said.

While this loss does sting for the Redskins, let’s take a step back and digest what we saw from the quarterback in burgundy and gold on Sunday. He completed 20 of 28 passes for 258 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. He also ran for 89 yards and is on pace for a 1,000-yard season on the ground. Griffin proved once again that the Redskins won’t be out of many football games as long as he is under center.

In the other locker room, the Giants had nothing but praise for the new kid on the block in the division.

“I’m pretty mad at the football gods for putting him in the NFC East,” Giants defensive end Justin Tuck said. “To face that guy twice a year is going to be a headache. He takes away from your enthusiasm for the game a little bit.”

Before the season, defensive end Osi Umenyiora said he would call Griffin “Bob” until the rookie proved himself. But he changed his tune this week by calling RGIII “Sir” Robert Griffin, and even had more praise for the QB after the game.

“That guy is flat-out unbelievable. That’s the best QB we’ve played all year,” he said.

When the Redskins look at this film, they will see that four second half turnovers told the story. Griffin was intercepted and lost a fumble. Moss and Morris also lost fumbles in the second half.

“We had turnovers today, and there are no excuses for that,” Griffin said. “But I was telling the guys in the locker room that we had a chance to win the game and were ahead even with those turnovers.”

The next step for this team is learning to play 60 minutes of football and finish games. There is still plenty of season remaining and after witnessing what we did on Sunday, there is still plenty to be excited about.

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