The last time the Giants faced Washington, it was Robert Griffin’s indoctrination into the rugged NFC East, and it was almost a very special afternoon. He led his team to what could’ve been a dramatic game-winning drive with just 90 seconds remaining. Griffin capped a 77-yard scoring drive when he found wideout Santana Moss on a 30-yard strike that hushed a once-rabid MetLife Stadium crowd.
But just as quickly as Griffin led his team for a galvanizing score, Giants’ quarterback Eli Manning one-upped the rookie sensation when he connected with receiver Victor Cruz for 77 yards just 19 seconds later for the improbable 27-23 win.
Fast forward five weeks, and Big Blue is even more impressed with Griffin’s development.
“He’s more of a down-the-field passer than I think people expect him to be. He’s got good poise in the pocket and he can also extend the play and look to get the ball down the field. He’s not just the runner that everybody knew he was coming out [of college],” said linebacker Mathias Kiwanuka. “He has a different skill set than most guys. Some guys are either fast and not necessarily a good pocket passer, or they’re a pocket passer and they’re not as quick. But I think he has talent on a lot of different levels.”
As win by the Giants this week would likely put a stranglehold on the division. But nothing is guaranteed in the NFC East noted Kiwanuka.
“When you’re playing a divisional opponent, it doesn’t matter what the records are, or what you’re ranked in the conference, or anything like that,” Kiwanuka said. “We’re two teams that have seen each other a lot. We know what each other is capable of, and it’s going to come down to desire more so than the Xs and Os. … No matter what the records are, it’s always going to be a rivalry game.”
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Cruz agreed and said more than anything he just wants to put Washington away, because he sees them as the Giants’ biggest threat in the division. While clarifying that he wasn’t trying to take a shot at fellow bitter rivals the Cowboys and Eagles, Cruz simply said he thinks Washington matches up better with the Giants – and if further proof is needed, just turn on the Week 7 film.
“I think they’re still a couple of pieces away from actually being contenders and legitimate talks for playoffs and things like that, but I think they are [the Giants’ biggest threat],” Cruz said. “I think they have to be in the conversation. They’ve got a good team, they play good football, they hold the ball for a long time and they really do some good things. I’d definitely put them in that conversation, for sure.”
Washington can only remain in the conversation with a win under the white-hot Monday night lights.
Big Blue notes
»The Giants found replacements for the injured Andre Brown by signing running backs Ryan Torain and Kregg Lumpkin. Brown, who fractured his fibula in the Giants’ 38-10 victory over Green Bay on Sunday night, was placed on the designated for return injured reserve meaning he could be reactivated.
»Offensive lineman Selvish Capers was the roster casualty following the signing of the two running backs. Capers’s stay didn’t last long, as he was signed off the practice squad just last week.
Follow Giants beat writer Tony Williams on Twitter @TBone8.