By Larry Fine
EAST RUTHERFORD, New Jersey (Reuters) - The Super Bowl champion New York Giants notched a key win over Washington on Sunday, but much of the post-game chatter centered 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."
Griffin, who threw an interception and lost a fumble on a sack, would not blame his mistakes on being a rookie.
"I try to not approach the game like I'm a rookie," Griffin said. "The team doesn't look at me like a rookie. I'm their leader, I'm their quarterback."
In just seven NFL games, Griffin has given evidence he may be the most complete of the new breed of hybrid quarterbacks, including Michael Vick and Cam Newton, blessed with the ability to do damage with the run as well as the pass.
He completed 20-of-28 passes for 258 yards with two touchdowns and threw one interception. Griffin also rushed for 89 yards, 25 yards more than the Giants totaled.
"I'm pretty mad at the football gods for putting him in the NFC East," said New York defensive end Justin Tuck, whose team firmed their grip on first place in the division by improving to 5-2. "To face that guy twice a year is going to be a headache."
(Reporting by Larry Fine; Editing by Mark Lamport Stokes)