Grading the Redskins: Defense 'manned' up in clutch

Grading the Redskins: Defense 'manned' up in clutch
December 4, 2012, 12:00 pm
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Defense

Grade vs. Giants: B

Comment: For the first 30 minutes Monday, Eli Manning and the Giants’ offense had its way at FedEx Field. The visitors converted 8 of 10 third downs, outgained Washington 273 yards to 156 and dominated time of possession.

Then the Redskins regrouped at halftime.

“We changed up what we were doing third down-wise,” said defensive captain London Fletcher, who finished with a game-high 12 tackles. “We came with a different type of coverage, brought some pressure, allowed [linebacker] Rob Jackson to rush a little bit more, and he was able to get a sack and a holding penalty.” 

Indeed, Jim Haslett’s adjustments – and timely plays at critical moments – made all of the difference. Jackson’s fourth quarter sack of Manning, for instance, came on a third down and prevented the Giants from immediately answering Pierre Garçon’s go-ahead touchdown. It was the only sack for a Redskins’ pass rush that struggled most of the night. But it ignited the crowd of 80,246 and changed the game’s momentum.

The Giants converted only 1 of 7 third downs in the final two quarters, and were limited to three points. They punted on three of their four drives. 

Overall, though, the numbers weren’t especially pretty for Haslett’s unit. It yielded 390 yards, including 117 on the ground. But the numbers didn't bother cornerback Josh Wilson afterward.

“You don’t win games by getting a lot of yards. You win games by getting points,” Wilson said. "At the end of the day, it’s about putting points on the board. And when they got down there, we manned up and stopped them. You guys can go calculate the stats, we’re going to go calculate the wins.”

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