Week 7: The Roller Coaster

And I’m spent. That was an emotional roller coaster of epic proportion, like falling in love and getting your heartbroken in the same afternoon. Several times over. The Redskins fell to the Giants 27-23 in a spectacular thriller of a game that was hard-fought into the final seconds. When it was all said and done, I was devastated and exhilarated all at the same time.

Our Great Hope
Griffin is simply spectacular. Anyone who says otherwise, if there are still any out there, need only to look at his Q4 4th & 10 conversion completion to Logan Paulsen – he scrambled, evaded Pierre-Paul and several other Giants defenders before finding Paulsen for a 1st down and more. Griffin leads the league in completion percentage and yards per attempt – BOTH passing and rushing. He is electric and easily the most entertaining player to watch right now.

Kai Forbath went 3-3 on the day with a long of 45 yards. This kid has a leg on him and he’s accurate. He’s earning some much-needed goodwill among a fan base prepared to crucify a kicker for a single miss. 3-3 was also our 4th down conversion rate. I loved Shanny’s moxie this week and our boys did right by it. Obviously, I’d rather we didn’t get to that point, but it is good to know that we can convert when we do.

The Hurt
London Fletcher did not look like himself for much of the game, and we found out why in the second half. Fletcher has a nagging hamstring injury and was sidelined in the second half after attempts to work it out on the bike failed. Our defense isn’t great when he is on the field, but they’re far worse when he is not on the field. Even more devastating, however, was the loss of Fred Davis, who suffered a season-ending achilles injury. In Garçon’s continued absence, Davis was stepping up as our biggest playmaker. It is even more imperative now that the younger receivers start to contribute.

Getting It Done
For the second week in a row, Santana Moss made a huge impact. Moss hauled in two TDs, including a big 30 yarder from Griffin late in Q4. He may not be the big, explosive player we’ve all been dreaming of, but he makes things happen. Leonard Hankerson caught 6/8 targets for 70 yards, showing flashes of his speed on deep routes and grit on pushes for yard after the catch. While he continues to improve, he does still fall short at crucial moments, including a miss on a nice deep ball in the opening drive of the second half and falling down short of the down marker on 3rd and 14. The clear victor in getting it done this week, though, is Logan Paulsen. Paulsen had 76 yards over four receptions for an average of 19 yards per reception. I’ve always touted Paulsen’s abilities and I am so glad to see him shining when we need him most. With Davis out and Niles Paul continuing to struggle at TE, we need Paulsen at the top of his game.

The Giant Impact
Turnovers, turnovers and more turnovers. While both sides lost the ball on several occasions, it was the Giants defense who won the turnover battle, stripping our receivers and our QB of the ball on multiple tackles. It is easy to put the blame on our players, and they do need to protect the ball, but in this game it was more about the plays that the Giants defense did make rather than those that our players muffed. If only our D could make similar plays…

Don’t Deserve a Title
DHall actually had a pretty good game. I’ll admit it. Josh Wilson and Rob Jackson both had fantastic INTs. We kept the Giants to FGs early on and slowed their run game. We even sacked Eli once, despite not being able to create consistent pressure. But for all the small positive things we can say about the defense, none of them really matter. The D failed us when we needed them most. Griffin led us on an epic, if slightly too quick, march down the field to give us a 3 point lead with the 30 yard TD pass to Moss. Less than 20 seconds later, our defense broke down and allowed a 77 yard TD by Victor Cruz. We should’ve seen it coming. Instead, Madieu Williams failed to support Josh Wilson, coming in late and flat-footed in a hopeless attempt to catch Cruz. It felt like a punch in the gut.

We could’ve won this game. We should’ve won this game. We will win the next one. Even though we lost, there is still a great satisfaction in knowing that we went toe-to-toe against the reigning Super Bowl champs and almost bested them. Sure, almost only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades, but I think the Giants are the most complete team in the NFL right now and we made them earn that win. As devastating as the loss was, I have a hard time feeling bad about it. Now let’s go get ready to show those aging has-beens in Pittsburgh what the youth movement is all about.

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