By Jacob Troxell, special to Breaking Burgundy
Stuck on the road in a divisional bout, the Washington Redskins won a second-half tug of war against the New York Giants on Sunday afternoon, avoiding a 0-3 start that would have also put them at 0-2 in their division.
Down 21-9 at one point in the first half, the Redskins had little room for error moving forward, and several big plays helped them dig out of a two-possession hole and eventually take the lead.
Here are the top five plays that helped the Redskins come out victorious Sunday.
With 13 minutes and some change left in the fourth quarter, Manning was leading the Giants down the field in a hurry as they trailed by only two points. Going 3 for 3 on the drive, Manning connected with rookie Sterling Shepard and All-Pro wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. for a combined 55 yards. A second Josh Norman penalty in the drive handed the Giants a first down in the red zone.
It looked like the Redskins' defense was gassed and had no answer. But Dunbar had one, and one hand was all he needed. Dunbar snatched the ball out of the New Jersey sky with merely his right hand, saving a potential touchdown pass intended for tight end Will Tye. Although the Redskins did not get any points off the turnover, it let them live to see another day, one without a Giants touchdown.
4) Jamison Crowder's 55-yard catch-and-run touchdown
Getting in the end zone is hard, especially for the Washington Redskins this season. They came into Week 3 with touchdowns in only 30 percent of red zone visits, fifth-worst in the NFL. The Redskins did not improve in that category Sunday. However, they had two touchdown passes longer than 40 yards. This one, the second of two, came on a conservative screen pass on third and 15. Crowder found a crease downfield, perfectly sculpted by tight end Jordan Reed, Pro Bowl tackle Trent Williams -- who had moved over to left guard -- and the rest of the Redskins’ offensive line. The score put the Redskins in the lead, 22-21, for the first time on the day.
3) Fake punt is the Way
Coming into today’s game, many had been critical of Kirk Cousins' play through the first two weeks of the season. But few imagined anyone in a Redskins uniform other than him would be throwing a pass on Sunday. Even fewer would have guessed it would be the punter, Tress Way.
On fourth and 12, after a 23-yard drive stalled in Washington territory, head coach Jay Gruden dialed up a play that perhaps would have begun the “Fire Jay Gruden” campaign if it failed and the Redskins started the season 0-3. Way threw a 31-yard bomb (plus however far back he was in punt formation) to Quinton Dunbar, who, although he was not going to be afforded a pass interference call since it was a punt formation play, caught the ball despite nearly being tackled while the ball was in the air. The drive continued at the Giants’ 21 and would provide a field goal that put Washington back on top, 26-24.
2) Su'a Cravens' game-clinching interception
Coming into Week 3, this second-round rookie had played only 37 snaps but still led all NFL rookie linebackers in coverage stops and overall grade. After sealing the deal Sunday with this diving interception, Redskins fans will likely be seeing more of the former USC Trojan.
In a game where it felt like whichever team had the ball last was going to win it, Cravens made sure the Giants did not get that chance. The interception came with a little more than a minute left on the clock and allowed the Redskins to line up in victory formation.
1) DeSean Jackson's 44-yard touchdown catch
Why does this beat the game clinching interception? The Redskins' absolutely horrid red zone offense needed help Sunday, and Jackson certainly provided that assistance.
The always-intimidating deep threat burned Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie in one-on-one coverage just one play after Jackson caught a 31-yard pass. The two-play, 75-yard drive gave the Redskins their first touchdown of the game and put a second-half comeback within reach.
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