But there was more to his game. He was credited with one solo tackle and two assists, he helped force a fumble that Will Blackmon ultimately got credit for, and he seemed to be around the ball with greater frequency in Week 3 than in the first two weeks.
He also played a major role in one of the most frustrating plays of the game for Washington.
On a Giants 1st-and-10 at the Redskins’ 20-yard line, with just less than nine minutes left in regulation, Manning looked to hit running back Shane Vereen on a pass to the right. The throw was considerably short, and it was headed straight for a well-positioned David Bruton, but Cravens was unaware his teammate was there for the easy interception. The rookie tried to make a play on the ball, but he couldn’t quite come up with the interception, and instead the ball fluttered harmlessly to the ground.
A gimme interception in their own red zone turned into a disappointing incomplete pass for the Redskins defense, and the Giants would then go on to hit the go-ahead field goal less than a minute later.
If the Redskins lost the game, Cravens would end up one of several primary scapegoats.
Of course, Cravens redeemed himself with the timely interception less than eight minutes of game time later, and all is well in Washington. But don’t think the former USC star has forgotten his blunder.
Redskins reporter Brian McNally told The Sports Junkies on 106.7 The Fan Monday morning how the play was sticking with Cravens after the game.
“He had a great story at the end of the game. Obviously, he basically ruined an interception attempt for David Bruton, who was sitting there waiting for an Eli Manning pass near the goal line. It would have hit him right in the chest, he was probably gonna have a good return. Su’a tried to make a play on it, knocked the ball away from his own teammate, and he said Bruton was just yelling his name over and over, like ‘No! What are you doing? I was right there!’
“So he felt a sense of relief to be able to make a play at the end. He said Eli looked his way, he saw that Eli saw him, and he figured ‘Ah, you know what? I guess I’m not getting this ball thrown to me.’ But Eli thought he could fit the ball in, just didn’t make a good throw, Su’a made a great play to intercept it.
“He’s really given them, of all the rookies, I think — obviously the third-round pick, Kendall Fuller, in inactive pretty much every week, Josh Doctson didn’t play yesterday, that’s a concern — Su’a Cravens has been the draft pick that’s given them the most [due to] his versatility. That showed through yesterday, that he’s a playmaker and can kind of be trusted out there in big situations. So that’s a big development for them, too.”
It was the first of what figures to be many big plays for the versatile second-round pick at the NFL level, but its significance was exponentially greater due to the redemption factor.