x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 20 July 2017

NFL round-up: Griffin shines despite Redskins' loss to New York Giants

The reigning Super Bowl champions scored a key 27-23 win over Washington - but it was rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III's performance against Eli Manning that grabbed the headlines.

Washington's Robert Griffin III greets Eli Manning after the match with the New York Giants.
Washington's Robert Griffin III greets Eli Manning after the match with the New York Giants.

Reigning Super Bowl champions the New York Giants recorded a key win over Washington on Sunday, but much of the postgame focus was on the sensational play of Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III.

The multi-talented rookie surpassed all the hype heard around the league about the prowess of the quarterback known as RG3 after he went toe-to-toe with double Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning in a fourth-quarter duel that ended 27-23 for the G-men.

"I'm not even going to lie. That's the best quarterback we've played this year, for sure," said Giants defensive end Osi Umenyiora. "It's just unfortunate that he's a rookie, because he's going to be around here forever, doing stuff like that."

Griffin put the Redskins into the lead 23-20 with 92 seconds left after a jaw-dropping trio of plays.

Manning and the Giants retook the lead 19 seconds later, but Griffin's late-game trilogy had 80,000 fans packed into MetLife Stadium quieted in stunned disbelief.

Trailing 20-16, Giffin converted on a fourth-and-10 from his own 23-yard line when he froze Giants' defenders on a scramble before connecting with Logan Paulsen for 19 yards and a first down at the 42.

On the next play, Griffin scrambled to his right for 24 yards and after a short pass completion, he hit Moss over the shoulder on the run for a go-ahead score with 92 seconds left.

"He looks like the fastest guy on tape and he's certainly the fastest guy on the field," said Giants coach Tom Coughlin.

"When he pulls the ball down, when you break down contain and he goes outside, you are just praying someone is going to run him out of bounds."

Griffin said the Redskins, who dropped to 3-4, should have won the game and vowed Washington would be a force in the NFL.

"I feel like this is a game that we should have won but we lost," the number two overall draft pick out of Baylor said.

"We had turnovers today and no excuses for that, but as I told the guys in the locker room, we still had a chance to win at the end of the game.

"So if we can come back from that and continue to put points on the board, it's going to be hard to be stopped."

The Houston Texans took control of the American Football Conference (AFC) after handing the Baltimore Ravens a convincing 43-13 defeat on Sunday.

The Texans triumphed in the battle of the AFC's top two teams, bouncing back from their first loss of the season against the Green Bay Packers last week.

Quarterback Matt Schaub threw for 256 yards and two touchdowns while Arian Foster ran in two scores against a Ravens defence without their injured inspirational linebacker Ray Lewis.

Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco threw two interceptions, one of which was run in from 52 yards by Johnathan Joseph.

Most things looked back in place for the Texans with their defence solid as they restricted the Ravens to 176 yards total offence.

"We found out today that we can still play a great defence and we'll continue to do that for the rest of the year," said Texans head coach Gary Kubiak.

Meanwhile the Green Bay Packers offence proved decisive again as they ran out 30-20 winners at the St. Louis Rams.

After a slow start to the season, the Packers are now 4-3 and Aaron Rodgers is once again proving to be a game-winning quarterback, throwing for 342 yards and three touchdowns in St. Louis.

Randall Cobb collected two of Rodger's touchdown passes while Jordy Nelson scored one and put up 122 yards receiving as Green Bay put the game well beyond the Rams.

Rodgers was full of praise for Cobb's display.

"He's a star in the making. He sees the game through the eyes of the quarterback. He asks the right questions. I am happy with the way our offence is progressing," Rodgers said.

New England were 23-13 ahead of rivals the New York Jets after the third quarter but found themselves needing a Stephen Gostkowski field goal from 43 yards to take the game into overtime and eventually score a 29-26 win.

The Jets revival came via a Dustin Keller touchdown on a seven-yard pass from quarterback Mark Sanchez and then two field goals from Nick Folk.

Into overtime, the Patriots had to settle for another Gostkowski field goal on the opening possession but that proved enough as Sanchez was sacked and fumbled with Rob Ninkovich making the game-winning recovery.

There was no shortage of offensive entertainment in Tampa Bay where Drew Brees threw for 377 yards and four touchdowns and Josh Freeman put up 420 yards and three touchdown passes while the Saints defence came up big in the fourth quarter to record a 35-28.

All four of Brees's touchdowns and 313 yards of his passing came in the first half while Jonathan Vilma, who is appealing a one-year ban for his alleged role in the "Bounty" affair, made his season debut.

Andrew Luck became the first Colts quarterback to run for two touchdowns in a game since 1988, leading Indianapolis past Cleveland 17-13 on Sunday.

Indy (3-3) has already won one more game than it did in 2011.

Brandon Weeden threw for 247 yards and two touchdowns, but Trent Richardson, who tried to play through a rib cartilage injury, sat out the second half after running eight times for 8 yards in the first half. The Browns (1-6) have lost 11 straight road games.

Luck scored on runs of 3 and 5 yards in the first half.

Weeden threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to Greg Little in the second quarter, and a 33-yard TD pass to Josh Gordon in the third quarter.

Adam Vinatieri added a 38-yard field goal for Indy.

Colts coach Chuck Pagano watched Sunday's game from home, hours after being released from an Indianapolis hospital, where he has been receiving treatment for leukaemia.

After making a 4-0 start to the season, the Arizona Cardinals have lost their last three games, the latest setback a 21-14 loss to the much-improved Minnesota.

Vikings running back Adrian Peterson opened the scoring with a 13-yard touchdown run and put up 153 yards on the ground but the game turned decisively for Minnesota when Harrison Smith brilliantly returned an interception for a 31-yard score in the third quarter.

The Dallas Cowboys won 19-14 at the Carolina Panthers, thanks to two fourth quarter field goals from Dan Bailey, although the highlight was a superbly weighted 16-yard pass from Tony Room to Miles Austin in the third quarter.

In Oakland, Sebastian Janikowski kicked a 40-yard field goal after Cecil Shorts fumbled on the opening possession of overtime as the Raiders came from 14 points down in the second half to beat the Jacksonville Jaguars 26-23.

Carson Palmer threw one touchdown pass and ran for another to force overtime.

Ben Roethlisberger threw one touchdown pass, and the Pittsburgh Steelers overcame their injury-depleted running game to beat the Cincinnati Bengals 24-17.

Shaun Suisham kicked field goals of 42, 47 and 42 yards, and the Steelers clamped down on Cincinnati's Dalton-to-Green connection, holding it to one completion.

The Steelers (3-3) won on the road for the first time this season and improved to 12-2 at Paul Brown Stadium. The Bengals (3-4) fell to 0-6 the last two seasons against Baltimore and Pittsburgh.

Andy Dalton's interception set up Roethlisberger's 9-yard touchdown pass to Heath Miller and a tying 2-point conversion to the tight end with 24 seconds left in the half.

Roethlisberger was 27 of 37 for 278 yards, leading an offence missing its top two running backs and two offensive linemen to injury. Jonathan Dwyer ran 17 times for 122 yards.

Matt Hasselbeck fired a 15-yard touchdown strike to Nate Washington with 63 seconds to play, lifting the Tennessee Titans to a wild 35-34 comeback win over the Buffalo Bills.

Running backs Chris Johnson and Jamie Harper both rushed for a pair of scores as the surging Titans recorded back-to-back wins for the first time this season to jump back into the playoff chase in the AFC South with a record of 3-4.

The powerful Johnson rushed for 195 yards and two touchdowns.

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