So the Washington Redskins are upset because they let a game get away from them Sunday after taking a late lead on the Super Bowl champion New York Giants. And defensive back DeAngelo Hall, who was not one of the two defensive backs who got absolutely smoked on the 77-yard touchdown pass Eli Manning threw to Victor Cruz with 1:13 left in the game, expressed his bitterness about the loss thusly, per John Keim:
I don't feel like he made that play. I feel we gave him that play. We just had one guy set his feet and one guy not do this. I could have thrown that ball and he would have scored. It wasn't something where he was a rocket scientist and he figured something out. We just played that as bad as possible.
This is, of course, true. The Redskins' coverage on that play was abysmal, Cruz beat it easily and Manning hit him in stride for the game-winner. I was in the Giants' locker room after the game and don't recall hearing anyone say it was rocket science. Hall was responding to something Manning had apparently said about expecting a certain coverage scheme in the final two minutes of the second half because the Redskins had used it in the final two minutes of the first half, and I think that's probably where the "rocket science" thing came from.
However, the folks who cover the Giants did what we all, unfortunately, have to do when we cover sports in this day and age -- go ask the Giants players in question what they thought about what Hall said about them. Even though what Hall said really wasn't derogatory. Manning played along, per Ohm:
"I appreciate him giving it to me," Manning deadpanned. "Thank you. No, I didn''t think it took a rocket scientist to figure it out either. We had a guy running open and you hit him."
"It doesn''t bother me," Manning added. "If that is the way they want to put it in their heads, then that is fine."
And defensive end Justin Tuck said this:
"Well, DeAngelo is not that smart if they gave it to them," Tuck responded. "I love how DeAngelo plays, he is an awesome player. But to give a person a game-winning touchdown ... ehhhh."
And the world spun on towards a new day.
Honestly, as Manning said later in his interview, that's the point of the game, right? To identify and exploit the opponents' weaknesses and mistakes? Some are easier to identify and exploit than others, and obviously the way the Redskins covered that play did not require Manning and Cruz to make the best play of their careers. But there's nothing wrong with Manning saying what he saw and that he wasn't surprised to see it. And there's nothing wrong with Hall saying the Redskins blew the play, because they did. There's actually nothing really wrong with what Tuck said. He didn't say Hall was dumb -- he said that if the Redskins really decided to "give" the Giants the game-winning touchdown, then that was a dumb thing to do.
But it's a sound-byte world, isn't it, and this stuff makes for good headlines and blog posts. And since I am here to serve you, the readers of the NFC East blog, I present this post on a topic you're surely going to discuss regardless. Just don't expect me to weigh in too hard on this "controversy," since I think it's much ado about nothing.