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New York at Washington

Grossman leads Redskins past rival Giants in opener

CBSSports.com wire reports
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LANDOVER, Md. -- Rex Grossman celebrated what he thought was his first touchdown pass by leapfrogging receiver Anthony Armstrong. Oops. Not quite. Turns out Armstrong was down at the 1.

When Grossman later connected with Armstrong for a touchdown that counted, the quarterback made a giddy backward trot toward the sideline, then turned around and kept running for another 20 yards or more along the Washington Redskins bench.

"Some situations are more emotional than others," Grossman said. "I just react to the moment. I was happy."

There was more Good Rex than Bad Rex in Grossman's first Week 1 start since 2007. The quarterback so maligned back then in Chicago completed 21 of 34 passes for 305 yards Sunday with two touchdowns, no interceptions and one lost fumble -- mostly avoiding the type of negative play that has so often defined his career - as the Redskins opened the season with a 28-14 win over the New York Giants.

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"I know it means so much to Rex," said tight end Chris Cooley, who had a Saturday dinner with Grossman during which both expressed their opening day nerves. "He wants to be an outstanding quarterback. ... He deserved to play so well today. I'm so happy for him."

Grossman's performance, at least for a week, justifies coach Mike Shanahan's choice in a quarterback competition against John Beck that lasted the entire preseason. After an 0 for 4 start, Grossman started spreading the ball around against a short-handed Giants defense. Fred Davis had a career-high 105 yards on five catches.

A stadium of burgundy and gold became red, white and blue -- in color and in spirit -- during pregame ceremonies for the opener featuring the cities hit by the terrorists attacks 10 years ago. Chants of "U-S-A! U-S-A!" greeted former Secretary of State Colin Powell as he walked onto the field to perform the coin toss, and the fans - most holding miniature American flags - chanted again after a national anthem during which players from both teams helped hold an enormous version of the Stars and Stripes that covered the entire field.

"Any typical kickoff weekend, your emotions are high," Grossman said. "Being it's Sept. 11, 10th anniversary, Colin Powell's in the locker room giving you the pregame speech, and then coming out and the fans are chanting 'U-S-A.' I was overwhelmed. It was a fun day. It's a day I'll never forget."

The Redskins fans kept cheering as their team ended a six-game losing streak against the Giants, beating their NFC East nemesis at home for the first time since 2005. The score was tied at 14 at halftime, but Washington first-round pick Ryan Kerrigan swung the momentum early in the third quarter when he batted Eli Manning's pass into the air, caught it, returned it 9 yards and found himself jumping up and down over a go-ahead touchdown in his NFL debut.

Manning completed 18 of 32 passes for 268 yards and was sacked four times by a Redskins defense that ranked 31st in the league last year but has been retooled around former Giants defensive tackle Barry Cofield. New York generated only 102 yards in the second half.

CBSSports.com Grades
New York Giants
New York Giants
D
The Giants had success when they blitzed QB Rex Grossman, but for some reason they did not stick with this strategy. They were hurt by field position in the second half, but the inability to get the ground game going hurt New York. The Giants could not sustain any success or momentum.
Washington Redskins
Washington Redskins
A
The Redskins could not run the ball the way they wanted, but they found a way to move by attacking the Giants' pass defense. Smart move. Washington also stayed aggressive defensively, with numerous blitzes to force QB Eli Manning into hurried throws. It was a terrific way to open the season.
By John Keim
RapidReports Correspondent

"Offensively, we didn't do a thing," said Giants coach Tom Coughlin, throwing his hands up.

Grossman's solid day came against a Giants defense that can't seem to go more than a few days without losing a player. Two-time Pro Bowl defensive end Justin Tuck was inactive with a lingering neck injury, adding to a lengthy list that already included Pro Bowl defensive end Osi Umemyiora (knee), cornerback Prince Amukamara (foot), linebacker Jonathan Goff (knee) plus several others from training camp. Sixth-round pick Greg Jones started at middle linebacker.

"You seen who was out there," said New York running back Ahmad Bradshaw, who had a 6-yard touchdown run in the first half. "We don't have our whole team. In the end, it didn't matter. They played better than us. They beat us."

Grossman was far from perfect. There were a couple of near-interceptions, and his fumble on a sack near midfield with the score 21-14 gave the Giants an opening to tie the game. But New York's drive stalled, and Washington's Brian Orakpo blocked a 38-yard field goal attempt with 10:57 remaining.

Grossman then took the Redskins 70 yards, capped by a 4-yard touchdown pass to former University of Florida teammate Jabar Gaffney that provided a two-touchdown cushion with 5:04 to play. This time, Grossman simply jogged to the sideline, as if to say, "Been there, done that."

"Feeling like I was in Florida again," Grossman said.

Notes

  • Manning made his 111th consecutive start, taking over top spot among active QBs from brother Peyton Manning, whose run of 227 for Indianapolis came to end because of a neck injury.
  • Cooley (three catches) moved past Jerry Smith as the Redskins' all-time leader in catches by a tight end. Cooley now has 423.
  • Armstrong has three of his four career TDs in three games against the Giants.
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Oshiomogho Atogwe celebrates with Ryan Kerrigan (91), who picks off an errant Eli Manning pass and turns it into six points. (AP)
Oshiomogho Atogwe celebrates with Ryan Kerrigan (91), who picks off an errant Eli Manning pass and turns it into six points. (AP)

 

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Sun. Sept. 11Final
770014
0147728
GiantsRedskins
Pass: E. Manning (18-32, 268) R. Grossman (21-34, 305)
Rush: A. Bradshaw (13-44) T. Hightower (25-72)
Rec: H. Nicks (7-122) F. Davis (5-105)
Scoring Summary
1ST QUARTER
TDEli Manning, 2 Yd run (Lawrence Tynes kick is good), 9:53. Drive: 4 plays, 70 yards in 0:35.
2ND QUARTER
TDTim Hightower, 1 Yd run (Graham Gano kick is good), 11:25. Drive: 11 plays, 66 yards in 5:32.
TDAhmad Bradshaw, 6 Yd run (Lawrence Tynes kick is good), 2:48. Drive: 8 plays, 85 yards in 4:44.
TDAnthony Armstrong, 6 Yd pass from Rex Grossman (Graham Gano kick is good), 0:37. Drive: 5 plays, 80 yards in 2:11.
3RD QUARTER
TDRyan Kerrigan, 9 Yd interception return (Graham Gano kick is good), 13:03.
4TH QUARTER
TDJabar Gaffney, 4 Yd pass from Rex Grossman (Graham Gano kick is good), 5:04. Drive: 10 plays, 70 yards in 5:53.
Players of the Game
Cleveland

R. Grossman
Att 34
Comp 21
Yds 305
TD 2
Indianapolis

H. Nicks
Rec 7
Yds 122
Avg 17.4
TD 0
 
New York
PassingCP/ATYDSTDINT
E. Manning18/3226801
RushingATTYDSTDLG
A. Bradshaw134417
B. Jacobs629014
E. Manning1212
ReceivingRECYDSTDLG
H. Nicks7122068
J. Ballard259041
M. Manningham449024
D. Hixon221014
A. Bradshaw110010
H. Hynoski1404
D. Ware1303
Washington
PassingCP/ATYDSTDINT
R. Grossman21/3430520
RushingATTYDSTDLG
T. Hightower2572122
R. Helu1202
ReceivingRECYDSTDLG
F. Davis5105028
S. Moss676022
J. Gaffney354139
T. Hightower325010
A. Armstrong224118
C. Cooley221015
Complete Player Stats
Other Games
NO 34 Final
GB 42
PIT 7 Final
BAL 35
ATL 12 Final
CHI 30
CIN 27 Final
CLE 17
IND 7 Final
HOU 34
TEN 14 Final
JAC 16
BUF 41 Final
KC 7
PHI 31 Final
STL 13
DET 27 Final
TB 20
CAR 21 Final
ARI 28
MIN 17 Final
SD 24
SEA 17 Final
SF 33
DAL 24 Final
NYJ 27
NE 38 Final
MIA 24
OAK 23 Final
DEN 20