EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — A game-changing fumble by Robert Griffin III as time expired in the first half paved the way for yet another Washington Redskins’ defeat.
The play wiped out a pivotal touchdown, left the Redskins shaking their heads and got Santana Moss ejected in a 24-13 loss to the New York Giants, Washington’s sixth straight setback.
“It seems like we just can’t catch a break,” Redskins running back Alfred Morris said. “Little things like that can change the momentum of a game. It can be the difference between winning and losing.”
The Giants (5-9) won for the second straight time as Eli Manning threw three touchdown passes to rookie receiver Odell Beckham Jr. covering 10, 35 and 6 yards.
The game, however, seemingly was decided on the final play of the first half when Griffin scrambled for an apparent 8-yard score and a 17-7 lead, diving over the pylon and then running on to the field and spiking the ball.
The celebration was premature.
The video review by referee Jeff Triplette showed that Griffin lost control of the ball diving over the pylon, and the play was ruled a touchback.
“We shouldn’t have let that play alter the game for us,” Griffin said. “Ultimately, it did. It’s a touchdown. That’s how we all felt, everybody in the locker room, coaches included. My understanding is, if the ball passes the plane and you have control of the ball, it’s a touchdown in every game that I’ve ever seen. They decided that it wasn’t today.”
Instead of a 10-point lead, the Redskins led only 10-7.
The reversal so incensed veteran Redskins receiver Santana Moss that he charged at the officials, argued and got tossed.
“The players’ language and pointing at the official was the unsportsmanlike,” Triplette said. “Then a second act took place with another official. Language, very, very inappropriate language that was derogatory towards the official. That precipitated the disqualification.”
Moss was apologetic after the game.
“I was heated that we had something taken away from us and I probably didn’t see it the way they saw it,” the 14-year veteran said. “I spoke how I felt and I got too close the ref. I was wrong and I apologize.”
Moss was called for two 15-yard penalties for his argument and the Giants went with onside kick from the Washington 35 to start the second half. They recovered at the Redskins 17, setting up a tying 32-yard field goal by Josh Brown.
The 35-yard TD by Beckham gave the Giants a 17-13 lead late in third quarter. The 6-yarder with 4:41 to go sent the Redskins (3-11) to their sixth consecutive loss.
Washington’s only points in the second half came on a 38-yard field goal by Kai Forbath.
Manning (23 of 34 for 250 yards) drove the Giants 81 yards on four plays on the ensuing series, combining for the final 35 on a crossing pattern to Beckham. The rookie’s catches were one shy of the Giants’ single-game record held by Tiki Barber.
New York iced the game with a 76-yard drive that featured five catches by Beckham.
Griffin, who had been benched for Colt McCoy, finished 18 of 27 for 236 yards. He also ran five times for 46 yards in an impressive performance, but was sacked seven times. There were moments late in the game when the oft-injured quarterback had trouble getting up.
McCoy started and led the Redskins to a field goal before leaving after aggravating a neck injury on the opening series.
Manning, who was listed on the Giants’ injury report with a back problem, got New York on the scoreboard late in the first quarter with a 10-yarder to Beckham.