EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Robert Griffin III is doing just about everything well in the NFL — especially desperation.
Griffin made a handful of spectacular plays Sunday and, even though he couldn't carry the Washington Redskins to victory over the New York Giants, he left a lasting impression on everyone in the building.
His best work didn't come on either of his touchdown passes to Santana Moss in the 27-23 loss, although those were pretty memorable, too. The play that will dominate the highlight reels until, well, RG3 makes a whole bunch more of them, came on a fourth-and-10 at the Washington 23 with 2:07 to go. The Redskins trailed 20-16 when Griffin was pressured, scrambled to his left, was trapped by Jason Pierre-Paul, spun away from the defender — who futilely went sprawling to the ground — and set himself to throw.
All the while, Griffin has his eyes downfield. He spied tight end Logan Paulsen for a 19-yard gain.
Three plays later, including his own 24-yard run, he sent a 30-yard pass to Santana Moss that the receiver called "perfect," giving Washington a short-lived lead.
"You try to tell everyone that you work through the play and after you've exhausted everything, then you can play backyard football," Griffin said. "I exhausted my progressions, everyone stayed alive and we made a big play."
One of many by the sensational rookie who displayed all of his skills — strong and accurate arm, breakaway speed, strength, smarts — throughout the game. He's already sending waves of fear through his opponents.
"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. It's hard to game-plan that guy. He takes away from your enthusiasm for the game when you play a play perfectly and he still has 4.3 speed to make plays. I don't think there is anybody in the league just like him. If I was going to run an offense and they asked me Vick, Cam Newton or RG3, I'm taking that guy hands down."
Still, Griffin couldn't get Washington (3-4) a win and the Redskins fell two games behind New York (5-2) in the division. The Giants have won three straight.
Griffin and everyone else on the offense felt they would use the final 73 seconds after Victor Cruz's 77-yard TD reception to stage another comeback. But Moss fumbled at the Washington 43.
Coach Mike Shanahan was livid that Cruz got behind double coverage for the winning score.
"Two guys have got one guy we focused on," Shanahan said, "and they went down and beat us."
Griffin was 20 of 28 for 258 yards and two touchdowns and ran for another 89 yards on nine carries. Fellow rookie Alfred Morris gained 120 yards rushing.
Manning's pass to Cruz came two plays and 19 seconds after Griffin capped what was a potential winning 77-yard drive with the 30-yard touchdown toss to Moss.
Cruz blew by Josh Wilson and Madieu Williams and the more than 80,000 fans in MetLife Stadium celebrated as Manning triumphantly pumped his fist once again after his 22nd fourth-quarter and overtime comeback.
Ahmad Bradshaw and Andre Brown scored on 1-yard runs and Lawrence Tynes kicked a pair of field goals for the Giants, who won despite giving up nearly 500 yards in total offense.
Manning hit 26 of 40 passes for 337 yards and a touchdown for New York, which had 396 yards in total offense, with the biggest chunk coming on Manning's pass to Senor Salsa.
Before the wild finish, the second half was dominated by turnovers.
Griffin was picked off by safety Stevie Brown and his 41-yard return late in the third quarter set up Bradshaw's 1-yard plow-job into the end zone.
Griffin moved Washington into position to tie on the next possession, but he fumbled after being sacked by Pierre-Paul and Linval Joseph recovered the ensuring fumble at the Giants 29.
On the next play, linebacker Rob Jackson intercepted a quick out by Manning and Kai Forbath kicked a 45-yard field goal to narrow the lead to 20-16 with 5:21 to go.
The Giants punted on their next series, leading to Griffin's fourth-down magic. Then Moss beat Hosley and hauled in Griffin's pass; Griffin lay on his back and celebrated by doing a pretend snow angel.
Manning and Cruz spoiled the afternoon seconds later.
There were seven offensive possessions in the first half that resulted in 439 total yards, six scores and a 13-13 tie.
NOTES: Washington TE Fred Davis tore his left Achilles tendon and will miss the rest of the season. ...Redskins linebacker London Fletcher, who has played in 231 straight games, suffered a right hamstring injury in the second half. ...The Redskins gained a season-high 248 yards rushing. ...The Redskins had a minus-2 turnover margin, their first negative game this season. ... Bradshaw gained 43 yards rushing after getting 316 in the past two games. ...Cruz led the Giants with seven catches for 131 yards. ...New York had three sacks, and allowed its first in four games.
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