(TheBlaze/AP) — While Robert Griffin III is quickly becoming the NFL’s most exciting quarterback, there’s none better than Eli Manning with the game on the line.
Manning one-upped the Washington Redskins’ rookie sensation with a pinpoint 77-yard scoring pass to Victor Cruz with 1:13 to play and the New York Giants overcame a late touchdown toss by Griffin to defeat the Washington Redskins 27-23 on Sunday.
“With our offense and Eli at the helm, we’re never too worried,” Cruz said. “No matter what situation we’re in, no matter how many points we need or a field goal we need, we have the confidence we can do it. We have a lot of confidence in each other, and in Eli.”
The winning drive was the 22nd of Manning’s career in either the fourth quarter or overtime, his second this season and eighth over the past two seasons. This pass, which the New York Daily News described as “perfect,” might have been one of the most improbable.
“He has done it so many times,” veteran Giants defensive tackle Chris Canty said of the two-time Super Bowl MVP. “He has really bridged his performance in the 2011 season to the 2012 season. It’s just more of the same. He continues to get better. He is probably the most deadly quarterback in the fourth quarter.”
Redskins coach Mike Shanahan agreed, even though he was miffed that defensive backs Josh Wilson and Madieu Williams allowed Cruz to blow by them on the seam pattern.
“He sure proved it today,” Shanahan said after his team (3-4) blew a chance to move into a tie for first place in the NFC East. “It was a great throw. He was double- covered but (Manning) put it right on the money.”
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Manning, who finished 26 of 40 for 337 yards, had to make the throw a little sooner than he wanted.
“I kind of threw it high and deep and saw the coverage and was hoping Victor saw it the same way I did,” he said. “I didn’t see the ball get caught. I heard the cheer and that was a good sign. I got up in time to see him run into the end zone.”
Manning triumphantly pumped his fist once after the play as the more than 80,000 fans at MetLife Stadium erupted with cheers.
“He did a good job leading his team to victory today,” said Griffin, who ran for 89 yards and passed for 258 and two touchdowns. “When the game is on the line, you want the ball in your hand, no doubt about it. He made the play to win it.”