Improved version of Robert Griffin III to face Giants
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How impressive was Robert Griffin III when he faced the Giants in late October?
Consider that Justin Tuck picked out one play from the dozens that were worthy of highlight reels as the most memorable . . . and the Redskins didn't even gain any yardage on it.
It was the most impressive incompletion Tuck has ever seen, he said. "No doubt."
On third-and-goal from the Giants' 2, Griffin took a shotgun snap and looked to his right, where there was no open receiver. He was flushed out of the pocket, running full speed at an angle toward the Redskins' sideline and chased by Jason Pierre-Paul and Michael Boley. At full speed, Griffin swung his hips around -- the players call the move a karaoke -- and began backpedaling before throwing the ball out of bounds.
The Redskins kicked a field goal on the next play to take a 3-0 lead, but the next day, when the Giants were watching the replay of the game, it was that seemingly innocuous snap that stood out the most.
Tuck spoke about the play as if it were the Immaculate Reception. Minus, of course, the Reception part.
"Me and Osi [Umenyiora] were watching film, we were like, 'Did he just karaoke?' " Tuck said. "Full speed . . . If I tried to do a backwards karaoke walking, I might fall. He did it full speed. He was running full speed to outrun us, flipped his hips and did a backwards karaoke. That's impressive."
The Giants can only hope that Griffin's most memorable moments Monday night are punctuated by incompletions and throwaways and limited to no-gains. Good luck with that, because while Griffin left a lasting stamp on the psyche of the Giants in that 27-23 Giants win, Tom Coughlin had some bad news for his defense.
"He's getting better, no question," Coughlin said. "He's got the numbers to prove it."
Griffin isn't just a runner, an eluder, a karaoke-er. In the last two weeks, his passer rating is a combined 146.1, which, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, is the highest two-game rating of any rookie with at least 40 attempts in NFL history. On Thanksgiving against the Cowboys, Griffin became the first player in Redskins history to pass for four touchdowns in consecutive weeks. On Wednesday, he was named the NFC Offensive Rookie of the Month for November.
Griffin has been in the NFL for three months. He's been Player of the Month in two of them.
"He's done extremely well with the passing game, the play-action passes," Coughlin said. "What you notice is the effectiveness with the completion percentage and the yardage that's attained. It may not be as many throws, but it's more productive."
Griffin also is getting help.
"I think their offense is definitely clicking a lot better," Giants safety Stevie Brown said. "They're doing a lot of things well and with [Pierre] Garçon back, it adds another element to the passing game."
That the Giants have the firsthand experience of facing Griffin a little more than a month ago can give them a good deal of confidence, or it can spook them. They shook their heads in astonishment after the last game, and some of those wide eyes of appreciation were visible in the locker room Thursday.
"Watching him, you see a spectacular athlete going out there and making things happen for his team, whether it's running the ball or throwing the ball," Antrel Rolle said. "He's doing everything and then some in order to make that offense successful."
It's the "and then some" the Giants will focus on taking away.
"Any time you make a guy one-dimensional, I don't care how good he is at the other thing, it's better for us as a defense," Tuck said. "He's pretty good at running and passing, but if we can just make him very good at running or very good at passing by itself, we swing things in our favor a little bit.
"I don't know if we can make him one-dimensional, but it definitely helps us if we can."