Redskins vs. Giants: Another Sign Washington Will Soon Rule the NFC East

Brad Gagnon NFL National ColumnistOctober 21, 2012

Oct 21, 2012; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning (10) (right) meets Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III (10) (left)  after the New York Giants 27-23, come-from-behind win over the Washington Redskins at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Mills/THE STAR-LEDGER via US PRESSWIRE
The Star-Ledger-US PRESSWIRE

I was ready to tell you why Robert Griffin III is now the league's leading MVP candidate. He had fought through a turnover-plagued performance and had somehow managed to put his Washington Redskins in front with another magical drive in the final three minutes Sunday against the New York Giants.

He had converted a 4th-and-10 throw after scrambling for almost 10 seconds, had escaped pressure to pick up 24 yards with his legs, and had thrown a masterpiece of a touchdown pass to Santana Moss to give Washington the late lead.

But then Eli Manning hit Victor Cruz on a 77-yard touchdown with just over a minute to play, then Moss fumbled on the final possession and Washington failed to complete what would have been by far the biggest victory of the Mike Shanahan era. 

So with the 'Skins now 3-4 despite the fact they probably should have at least two more wins than that, it's difficult for me to prematurely hand the rookie sensation an MVP award. But what we can conclude after Griffin outplayed two-time Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning is that it's only a matter of time before he and the Redskins are the dominant team in the NFC East.

Only seven weeks into the Griffin era, Washington is already at a point in which the team expects to win games like these. I don't think they're considering silver lining here, even though on the surface this loss would appear to be somewhat of a positive. I believe the Redskins are too good to buy into the idea of a moral victory, but that's a great thing—it indicates just how far they've come.

Sunday, the Redskins entered the home stadium of the defending Super Bowl champions. They were missing their top wide receiver (Pierre Garcon) and their top defender (Brian Orakpo). During the game, they lost Griffin's favorite target (Fred Davis) and their defensive leader (London Fletcher). They turned the ball over four times in one half.

And yet if not for one back-breaking, 77-yard touchdown, they'd have won. 

Imagine this team once they've matured. Imagine when they cut down on silly mistakes like the ones they made at MetLife. Imagine that, and then throw in Garcon, Davis and Orakpo. They won't get two of those three key players back until next season, but even the return of Garcon and continued improvement elsewhere could be enough to make the 'Skins contenders in 2012.

Beyond 2012? We're beginning to realize that we're all in store for something very special.