By Kevin Ross II
It was nearly a year ago since the last time the Washington Redskins played the New York Giants. The setting was Monday Night Football, and it was a cold night in early December. Maybe the signature play of the season happened during that game, when quarterback Robert Griffin III fell down and fumbled the ball, that just so happened to land perfectly in the arms of Redskins receiver Josh Morgan who ran it in for a touchdown.
The 17-16 win improved the surging Redskins to 6-6, a mark that many thought was unreachable just a few weeks earlier. “We know that our backs are against the wall,” said Griffin. “And even though we won tonight, our backs are still against the wall.” This marked the day-and-age where Robert Griffin III could do no wrong, and everything that he seemed to touch turned into shiny gold.
However, a year later things are a bit different to say the least. Griffin finds himself battered and beaten both on-and-off of the field. Defensive linemen have assaulted his body, while fans and media have assassinated his character. The young dynamic play-making kid that everybody fell in love with, is nowhere to be found. But maybe Griffin can find solace in the fact that the opposing team’s quarterback has been just as bad. This puts things into perspective for Griffin, who can lean on the notion that even two-time Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks sometimes have bad seasons.
Eli Manning is having his worst year as a professional, and is the leading factor for New York’s lack of success this season. Griffin may be bad, but Manning is trailing Griffin in almost every major statistical category and has even thrown six more interceptions than Griffin. The bottom line is, Sunday’s competition will boil down to the quarterback position. Which quarterback will make the big mistake that causes his team the game?
The history of Eli Manning this season says that he will turn the ball over, but Washington must be able to capitalize on those turnovers and put points on the board. If the offense can find any rhythm whatsoever, this Redskins team should be able to beat the struggling Giants.
Expect a hard-fought game, as the players on both teams will be fighting for their jobs.
Coach Mike Shanahan spoke about evaluating his team heading into Sunday Night Football. “I think the players are smart enough to understand that if you are 3-8, everybody is playing for their jobs,” Shanahan said. “That’s the nature of our business. I don’t care if it’s players, coaches, support staff … The nature of this game is to find a way to win and if you don’t win, everybody is accountable.”
If everybody is accountable than that certainly includes the head coach. Mike Shanahan cannot afford for his team to display another lethargic effort on national television.
For more Redskins news and updates, visit Redskins Central.
Kevin Ross is a freelance writer covering all things Washington Redskins. His work can be found on Examiner.com.