Halftime thoughts: Giants grind out a lead

December, 3, 2012
12/03/12
10:19
PM ET

LANDOVER, Md. -- The New York Giants haven't had an easy time with the Washington Redskins over the past two years, and nothing about their 13-10 halftime lead tonight at FedEx Field has come easily. They have been grinding out yards and long drives against a Redskins defense that's obviously quite permissive but has limited their big plays. The Giants held the ball for 20:32 of the 30 minutes of the game's first half and have just a three-point lead.

Washington, you could argue, is fortunate to be so close. The Redskins' only touchdown came when quarterback Robert Griffin III fumbled at the 13-yard line at the end of a run and the ball bounced into the arms of wide receiver Josh Morgan, who ran it into the end zone. Griffin is 7-for-12 for 100 yards and has a 12-yard run, but the Giants have done an excellent job of keeping him on the bench while they have moved the ball down the field with their offense.

Giants quarterback Eli Manning still doesn't look to be in complete sync with his wide receivers, but he's making the throws he has to make. The Giants are 8-for-10 on third downs, and Manning is 14-for-22 for 187 yards and a touchdown. He's also been helped by the 77 rushing yards a fired-up Ahmad Bradshaw has racked up on 15 carries.

There's no way the Redskins defense can keep this game close if they're going to have to spend two-thirds of the second half on the field as well. They need to find a way to get off the field on third down and let Griffin get into the game to run the offense. With wide receiver Pierre Garcon back from his foot injury and looking explosive down the field, there's a lot the Redskins offense can do if it can just get the ball.

Couple of other thoughts:

Giants safety Kenny Phillips is playing in spite of a knee injury, but there have been a few plays on which I thought it looked as though he shouldn't be playing. I wonder if they'll limit his snaps in the second half. He looks a step slow, to me.

Redskins linebacker London Fletcher, playing on a bum ankle, whiffed on a tackle on Martellus Bennett in the first quarter and it cost the Redskins 15 yards. But on the next play, Fletcher leveled David Wilson and has looked sound since.

Lawrence Tynes' missed field goal appeared to be because of a bad snap. All three field goal snaps have been shaky, which is odd considering that's not an area in which the Giants generally struggle.

Manning's 28-yard throw to Bennett to set up the go-ahead field goal at the end of the half was vintage Manning -- a gutsy, fearless, on-the-money throw most quarterbacks wouldn't even try. But Manning's strengths include the facts that he has a handle on the moment and doesn't fear mistakes. In that spot, he quickly and correctly identified that there was nothing to lose with the risky throw (they weren't kicking a field goal from where they were anyway), and he nailed it. Three big points.

Dan Graziano

ESPN New York Giants reporter

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