Cruz Control: Late TD pass sends Giants over Redskins
East Rutherford, NJ (Sports Network) - Eli Manning tossed a 77-yard touchdown pass to Victor Cruz with less than two minutes remaining to send the New York Giants to a 27-23 triumph over the Washington Redskins in an NFC East clash on Sunday at MetLife Stadium.
New York led 20-16 with 2:55 remaining, but Robert Griffin III led the Redskins on a 7-play, 77-yard scoring drive to grab the lead.
Griffin converted a do-or-die 4th-and-10 by eluding a pair of New York defenders in the backfield before finding Logan Paulsen for 19 yards.
After the two-minute warning, Griffin scrambled 24 yards into New York territory and two plays later, the rookie quarterback floated a 30-yard touchdown pass to Santana Moss to give Washington a 23-20 edge.
But in typical Manning fashion, the veteran signal-caller answered on the second play of New York's ensuing drive, as he found Cruz streaking down the seam for the go-ahead score.
"He keeps hanging in there and banging away and banging away," Giants coach Tom Coughlin said of Manning. "When his back is up against the wall that's when he kind of does his best work."
The Redskins had one final try, but Moss fumbled the ball back to the Giants, who went into the victory formation to seal the win.
"When you're fighting anything can happen and sometimes you lose the fight," Moss admitted. "I just feel like I lost the fight."
Manning finished 26-of-40 for 337 yards and two interceptions, while Ahmad Bradshaw and Andre Brown each added a rushing score for the Giants (5-2), who have won three straight since a loss to NFC East-rival Philadelphia on Sept. 30.
Griffin completed 20-of-28 passes for 258 yards, a pair of scores and one interception and Alfred Morris added 120 yards on 22 carries for the Redskins (3-4), who had won their last two meetings with the defending champions.
"You feel like your defense is going to go out and shut them down and then something like that happens and you just have to move on," Griffin said of Manning's game-winning drive.
With the game locked at 13-13 to start the fourth, the Giants quickly broke the tie when Bradshaw capped a 7-play, 35-yard drive, which was set up by a Griffin interception late in the third that Stevie Brown returned 41 yards to the Washington 35-yard line.
The Redskins looked poised to respond as Griffin converted a pair of fourth downs on Washington's ensuing drive, but the Baylor product was sacked and stripped by Jason Pierre-Paul and Linval Joseph pounced on the loose ball.
Manning gave the ball right back however, as Rob Jackson picked him off on the next play to give Washington the ball at the New York 32-yard line and set up Kai Forbath's 45-yard field goal to bring the Redskins within 20-16.
Earlier in the game, Washington forced the Giants to punt on the game's opening possession before putting together a 17-play, 93-yard scoring trek.
The Redskins converted three straight third down opportunities before Griffin hit Josh Morgan for 35 yards and an apparent touchdown. However, Washington tight end Fred Davis was whistled for an illegal shift to nullify the score.
Morris then carried the ball four straight times down to the New York 2-yard line, but back-to-back incompletions from Griffin led to a 20-yard field goal from Forbath.
The Giants answered with a 12-play, 80-yard march to take a 7-3 edge early in the second quarter.
Manning found Martellus Bennett for 31 yards down to the Washington 21-yard line on 3rd-and-1 before converting another third down with a 7-yard strike to Hakeem Nicks down to the 1-yard line.
Two plays later, Brown leaped over the pile for a 1-yard score and a four- point Giants lead.
The Redskins quickly countered with an 80-yard scoring drive of their own, as Griffin tossed a bubble screen to Moss, who followed a convoy of blockers and raced into the end zone for a 26-yard TD catch to put the Redskins in front, 10-7 with 8:45 left until halftime.
New York's next drive stalled inside the Washington 10, as Manning missed Cruz in the end zone, resulting in a 27-yard field goal from Lawrence Tynes.
Griffin scrambled for 28 yards on the first play of Washington's ensuing drive and Morris followed with a 30 yard run to set up Forbath's 43-yard field goal.
With less than two minutes remaining, Manning converted a pair of third downs before Tynes buried a 39-yard field goal to send the teams into the break knotted at 13-13.
Davis left the game in the first quarter with a left Achilles injury and did not return ... The Redskins have not scored a touchdown on an opening drive this season ... Washington has an interception in all seven games this season ... Washington has rushed for 125 yards or more in 10 consecutive games ... Cruz finished with seven catches for 131 yards and two scores.
10/21 18:02:22 ET