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New York Giants can't figure out Washington Redskins

New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin stepped to the microphone after his team's befuddling 17-16 loss in Washington not sure what really hit him.

"This is not real complicated. I don't know what happened in the second half," Coughlin said after the team's first blown halftime lead in a road game since 2006.

Coughlin got RG3'd. It's enough to make Redskins owner Dan Snyder giddy. On a night with a ton of first downs and very few drives for both teams, the last team with the ball was going to win. The Redskins held the ball for nearly 14 of the last 18 minutes of the game, including a 12-play touchdown drive to take the lead and a satisfying 8-play, 3:51-minute drive to end the game on the ground.

The Redskins aren't a complete team yet, but they are winning for a variety of reasons:

Aggression: On the final drive, when most coaches are in clock-killing mode, Redskins offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan trusted Robert Griffin III enough to throw a pass on second down. Seventeen yards later, the game was over. You think Jason Garrett is calling a pass in that situation?

Improved defense and Alfred Morris: The Redskins defense got away with some mistakes, but it also forced the Giants to punt on New York's final two short drives. With the help of a lot of Giants penalties, Washington forced New York to attempt four field goals. This is never going to be a great Redskins defense, but coordinator Jim Haslett showed a ton of different looks in the second half. They have been more effective since the bye week, making just enough plays for the offense to carry the team. Alfred Morris' tough running and Griffin's play fakery do the rest.

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Emotion: I'm hesitant to write about intangibles, but something special is going on in Washington. When Morris sealed the game on a run, Washington's sideline exploded. The crowd was chanting "R-G-3, R-G-3!" It all felt like the Redskins had just won a bowl game. That's rare to find in the NFL.

If there is such a thing as mojo, the Redskins have it.

Luck: Griffin played well Monday night, but he was also fortunate. The Giants committed nine penalties, keeping their score down. Griffin's 10th fumble of the year -- tied for second in the NFL with Mark Sanchez and Michael Vick -- was picked up by a teammate for a touchdown. It's the second time this year that's occurred.

It's becoming that kind of season for Griffin. That, Mr. Coughlin, is what just happened.

Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter @greggrosenthal.

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