Pierre Garcon’s injured right foot is not 100 percent and it won’t be for the rest of the season. But he didn’t look like a man in pain after Monday’s 17-16 victory over the New York Giants. He was beaming at his locker. The pain can return Tuesday morning. He won’t care at that point. That’s the relief winning brings.
Garcon caught a game-high eight passes from quarterback Robert Griffin III for 106 yards, including the eventual game-winning touchdown in the fourth quarter. It was his best game of the season. Yes, he had 109 receiving yards in the season-opener at New Orleans. But 88 yards of that came on one thrilling play. Add this performance to the four-catch, 86-yard, one-touchdown game on Thanksgiving Day against Dallas and the Redskins suddenly have the weapon they expected coming into the year before a tear in Garcon’s plantar plate limited him to just three of the first 10 games.
“You see the difference. He’s a game-changer,” left tackle Trent Williams said of Garcon. “You get the ball in his hands and he’s going to get yards after the catch. He’s going to get you them tough yards. He’s going to go up and get the ball. He’s one of the best in the league.”
For a while this season Garcon had to wonder if he would earn moments like these. He was targeted 11 times, a season high. The game started with Griffin III launching a pass down field to Garcon on the first play from scrimmage. And while it was an over throw, it also sent a message to a New York defense missing starting safety Kenny Phillips. The second pass thrown Garcon’s way was incomplete, too. Then he took over.
“To play well and continue to get more reps with Robert and the offense is important,” Garcon said. “And to have [offensive coordinator Kyle] Shanahan calling plays…You wouldn’t be a receiver if you didn’t ask for the ball.”
There was the 25-yard reception that began Washington’s second drive of the night. That preceded Griffin III’s bizarre fumble, which landed in the arms of Josh Morgan, who raced in for a touchdown. Another scoring drive began with an 18-yard pass over the middle to Garcon. The next play he caught the ball and screamed across the middle again and raced through and around Giants defenders for 35 yards. That was the team’s last drive of the second half and set up Kai Forbath’s 33-yard field goal.
Garcon wasn’t heard from again until the Redskins were deep in New York territory with 1st-and-goal at the 8. Griffin III rolled out and fired a dart to Garcon in the end zone. It was his third touchdown of the season and put the Redskins ahead 17-16 after the extra point. He added a seven-yard catch on the next drive. Then, as the Giants desperately tried to get the ball back with time winding down, Garcon grabbed a key first down on 2nd-and-8 from the Washington 41. It was a 17-yard catch, allowed the clock to hit the 2-minute warning and after an ensuing run New York had to use its last time out.
“I think right at the end of that four-minute, they were committing pretty strong,” Washington coach Mike Shanahan said. “And we had the confidence in both Robert and Pierre to make that play at the end – the 20 yarder thereabouts catch over the middle. We had a lot of confidence.”
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