Robert Griffin III gave the New York Giants plenty of trouble the first time he faced the Super Bowl champions.
The Washington Redskins rookie superstar believes he may be even more lethal in this rematch.
Griffin and the Redskins can win their third straight Monday night as they try to pull within one game of the Giants in the NFC East race.
The No. 2 overall draft pick's introduction to divisional play was a 27-23 loss at New York (7-4) on Oct. 21. He completed 20 of 28 passes for 258 yards and two scores and also ran nine times for 89 yards.
"It's a game we felt we should have won," Griffin said. "And we didn't win it, they got the win in their column and we got the loss."
That contest started a three-game slide for Washington (5-6), which has bounced back with consecutive NFC East victories behind its quarterback. Griffin threw four TD passes in each win in a five-day span over Philadelphia and Dallas, with the Redskins totaling 69 points.
"He is one of the best dual threats in our game today and we're going to have our hands full trying to stop that guy," Giants defensive end Justin Tuck said.
Griffin has doubled his season touchdown pass total over his last two games. Fellow rookie Aldrick Robinson has two TD catches in that span while Pierre Garcon, who missed the first meeting with a foot injury, is back and caught a 59-yard touchdown pass from Griffin in last Thursday's 38-31 win over the Cowboys.
New York allowed 248 yards rushing in October - its highest total yielded in three seasons. The Redskins are second in the NFL with 162.9 rushing yards per game behind rookie Alfred Morris, and now Griffin believes their passing attack is improved.
"The things they faced facing us the last time with the running game are still there but we've added elements in the passing game that make us more dangerous," Griffin said. "So they'll prepare for that and we'll see what happens."
While Griffin excelled the last time these teams met, the contest will be remembered for Eli Manning's game-winning 77-yard touchdown pass to Victor Cruz with 1:13 left. It came 19 seconds after Griffin hit Santana Moss for a 30-yard go-ahead score.
Manning received plenty of credit for the clutch play, but not from DeAngelo Hall. The cornerback said the defense blew the coverage, and that the Redskins "gave him that play."
Hall repeated his claim Wednesday.
"I could've made that throw," Hall said. "Eli's made a lot of great throws in his career, but like I said, it didn't take a rocket scientist to figure out the guy was wide-open."
Not surprisingly, the Giants had a different viewpoint of the play.
"It was something that wasn't given to us," said Cruz, who is tied for the NFC lead with eight touchdown receptions. "The guys were in coverage, they were chasing after me, they were in position to potentially make plays on the ball, but unfortunately for them, they didn't do so."
Although Washington is allowing 301.4 passing yards per game for the second-worst mark in the NFL, Hall believes his defense matches up well against Manning. There may be something to that claim since the two-time Super Bowl MVP had only one touchdown to eight interceptions in a five-game stretch against the Redskins, including last month's contest before his strike to Cruz.
The pass to Cruz was Manning's last TD before a three-game stretch without one. The quarterback emphatically ended his drought Sunday with three scores and 249 yards as New York returned from the bye with a dominant 38-10 victory over Green Bay.
One negative for New York was that running back Andre Brown was lost for the season with a broken leg. Brown only has 385 yards, but he leads the NFC with eight TDs on the ground.
That opens the door for rookie first-round pick David Wilson to get more action. Wilson carried a season-high six times for 13 yards last Sunday.
"It's his time," coach Tom Coughlin said. "The timing as far as where he's coming from couldn't be any better, I don't think."
The Giants had a five-game win streak at FedEx Field snapped with a season-opening 28-14 loss last year. New York is two games in front of Dallas and Washington in the East.
"I think the stadium will be rocking, it'll be a great atmosphere Monday night," Manning said. "And it's a huge game for us, a chance to build a little bit more lead in the division for us."
The Associated Press News Service
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