By BARRY WILNER
AP Pro Football Writer
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Robert Griffin III is doing just about everything well in the NFL — especially desperation.
Griffin made a handful of spectacular plays Sunday and, even though he couldn’t carry the Washington Redskins to victory over the New York Giants, he left a lasting impression on everyone in the building.
His best work didn’t come on either of his touchdown passes to Santana Moss in the 27-23 loss, although those were pretty memorable, too. The play that will dominate the highlight reels until, well, RG3 makes a whole bunch more of them, came on a fourth-and-10 at the Washington 23 with 2:07 to go. The Redskins trailed 20-16 when Griffin was pressured, scrambled to his left, was trapped by Jason Pierre-Paul, spun away from the defender — who futilely went sprawling to the ground — and set himself to throw.
All the while, Griffin has his eyes downfield. He spied tight end Logan Paulsen for a 19-yard gain.
Three plays later, including his own 24-yard run, he sent a 30-yard pass to Santana Moss that the receiver called “perfect,” giving Washington a short-lived lead.
“You try to tell everyone that you work through the play and after you’ve exhausted everything, then you can play backyard football,” Griffin said. “I exhausted my progressions, everyone stayed alive and we made a big play.”
One of many by the sensational rookie who displayed all of his skills — strong and accurate arm, breakaway speed, strength, smarts — throughout the game. He’s already sending waves of fear through his opponents.
“I’m pretty mad at the football gods for putting him in the NFC East,” Giants defensive end Justin Tuck said. “To face that guy twice a year is going to be a headache. It’s hard to game-plan that guy. He takes away from your enthusiasm for the game when you play a play perfectly and he still has 4.3 speed to make plays. I don’t think there is anybody in the league just like him. If I was going to run an offense and they asked me Vick, Cam Newton or RG3, I’m taking that guy hands down.”
Still, Griffin couldn’t get Washington (3-4) a win and the Redskins fell two games behind New York (5-2) in the division. The Giants have won three straight.
Griffin and everyone else on the offense felt they would use the final 73 seconds after Victor Cruz’s 77-yard TD reception to stage another comeback. But Moss fumbled at the Washington 43.
Coach Mike Shanahan was livid that Cruz got behind double coverage for the winning score.
“Two guys have got one guy we focused on,” Shanahan said, “and they went down and beat us.”
Griffin was 20 of 28 for 258 yards and two touchdowns and ran for another 89 yards on nine carries. Fellow rookie Alfred Morris gained 120 yards rushing.
Manning’s pass to Cruz came two plays and 19 seconds after Griffin capped what was a potential winning 77-yard drive with the 30-yard touchdown toss to Moss.
Cruz blew by Josh Wilson and Madieu Williams and the more than 80,000 fans in MetLife Stadium celebrated as Manning triumphantly pumped his fist once again after his 22nd fourth-quarter and overtime comeback.
Ahmad Bradshaw and Andre Brown scored on 1-yard runs and Lawrence Tynes kicked a pair of field goals for the Giants, who won despite giving up nearly 500 yards in total offense.
Manning hit 26 of 40 passes for 337 yards and a touchdown for New York, which had 396 yards in total offense, with the biggest chunk coming on Manning’s pass to Senor Salsa.
Before the wild finish, the second half was dominated by turnovers.
Griffin was picked off by safety Stevie Brown and his 41-yard return late in the third quarter set up Bradshaw’s 1-yard plow-job into the end zone.
Griffin moved Washington into position to tie on the next possession, but he fumbled after being sacked by Pierre-Paul and Linval Joseph recovered the ensuring fumble at the Giants 29.
On the next play, linebacker Rob Jackson intercepted a quick out by Manning and Kai Forbath kicked a 45-yard field goal to narrow the lead to 20-16 with 5:21 to go.
The Giants punted on their next series, leading to Griffin’s fourth-down magic. Then Moss beat Hosley and hauled in Griffin’s pass; Griffin lay on his back and celebrated by doing a pretend snow angel.
Manning and Cruz spoiled the afternoon seconds later.
There were seven offensive possessions in the first half that resulted in 439 total yards, six scores and a 13-13 tie.
TEXANS 43, RAVENS 13
HOUSTON — Matt Schaub threw two touchdown passes, Arian Foster ran for two scores and the Houston Texans dominated a showdown of the AFC’s two teams, routing the Baltimore Ravens 43-13 on Sunday.
Johnathan Joseph returned an interception 52 yards for a touchdown and the Texans (6-1) beat Baltimore for the first time in seven meetings. Antonio Smith had two sacks, J.J. Watt deflected the pass that led to Joseph’s interception and Houston’s defense returned to form after an embarrassing loss to Aaron Rodgers and Green Bay last week.
Terrell Suggs, the 2011 defensive player of the year, had a sack and three tackles in his first action for Baltimore (5-2) since undergoing surgery on his right Achilles tendon last May. Joe Flacco threw two interceptions and was sacked four times.
PACKERS 30, RAMS 20
ST. LOUIS — Aaron Rodgers threw for 342 yards and three touchdowns and Green Bay’s depleted defense flourished on the road.
Randall Cobb caught two touchdown passes and Jordy Nelson had eight receptions for a season-best 122 yards for the Packers (4-3), who brought a huge contingent of cheeseheads that was just as loud as the home fans and chanted “Go, Pack, Go!” during the Rams’ final possession. Rookie Casey Hayward made his first start in place of injured Sam Shields and intercepted his fourth pass in three games.
Green Bay ended the Texans’ unbeaten start at Houston last week, but had alternated losses and wins the first six weeks. Rodgers was 30 for 37 for his fourth 300-yard game this season.
SAINTS 35, BUCS 28
TAMPA, Fla. — Jonathan Vilma played for the first time while appealing a season-long suspension for his role in the Saints bounty program and Drew Brees threw for 377 yards and four touchdowns in the come-from-behind win.
While it’s debatable how much Vilma’s return impacted the Saints defense, the unit turned back two drives near the end zone in the second half, including the final three plays of the game to preserve New Orleans’ second straight win.
Brees extended his NFL record for consecutive games with at least one TD pass to 49, while leading long scoring drives on four straight possessions to turn a 14-point deficit into a 28-21 halftime lead.
Josh Freeman threw for 420 yards and three touchdowns for the Bucs. His bid to force overtime ended with three straight incompletions from inside the Saints’ 10.
PATRIOTS 29, JETS 26 OT
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Rob Ninkovich recovered a fumble by Mark Sanchez after Stephen Gostkowski kicked a 48-yard field goal in overtime for New England.
The Patriots (4-3) moved into sole possession of first place in the AFC East. The day started with all four teams tied at 3-3, but the Jets (3-4) and the Buffalo Bills lost, while the Miami Dolphins were idle.
Gostkowski tied the game with a 43-yard field goal on the last play of regulation.
In overtime, each team gets the ball unless the first team with it scores a touchdown. So the Jets had a chance after the Patriots kicked a field goal. New York moved from its 15 to its 40 before Sanchez lost the ball as he was being sacked and Ninkovich recovered, ending the game.
RAIDERS 26, JAGUARS 23 OT
OAKLAND, Calif. — Sebastian Janikowski kicked a 40-yard field goal after Cecil Shorts III fumbled on the opening possession of overtime and Oakland rallied from 14 points down in the second half.
Carson Palmer threw one TD pass and ran for another to force overtime for the Raiders (2-4) before they won it after Lammar Houston forced a fumble that Joselio Hanson recovered at the Jacksonville 21.
After one play to center the ball, Janikowski came on to kick the winning field goal to end a rough day for the Jaguars (1-5).
The Jaguars lost star running back Maurice Jones-Drew to a left foot injury on the opening drive and quarterback Blaine Gabbert to an injured left shoulder in the second quarter and managed only two downs after halftime behind backup quarterback Chad Henne.
COLTS 17, BROWNS 13
INDIANAPOLIS — Andrew Luck became the first Colts quarterback to run for two touchdowns in a game since 1988.
Indy (3-3) has already won one more game than it did in 2011.
Brandon Weeden threw for 247 yards and two touchdowns, but Trent Richardson, who tried to play through a rib cartilage injury, sat out the second half after running eight times for 8 yards in the first half. The Browns (1-6) have lost 11 straight road games.
Luck scored on runs of 3 and 5 yards in the first half.
Weeden threw a 14-yard TD pass to Greg Little in the second quarter, and a 33-yard TD pass to Josh Gordon in the third quarter.
COWBOYS 19, PANTHERS 14
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Dan Bailey made a go-ahead 28-yard field goal with 3:25 remaining to help Dallas end a two-game losing streak.
With Dallas trailing 14-13, Tony Romo led the Cowboys (3-3) into field goal range with a 10-play, 44-yard drive to send Dallas to its ninth consecutive regular-season victory over the Panthers (1-5).
Romo had 227 yards and a touchdown.
On a fourth-and-1 at their 39, the Panthers caught Dallas’ defense changing personnel and Cam Newton quickly completed a pass for an apparent first down. But officials ruled the Cowboys called timeout before the snap. On the ensuing play, Morris Claiborne collided with receiver Louis Murphy before the ball arrived, but no flag was thrown.
Bailey added his fourth field goal of the game with 53 seconds left.
TITANS 35, BILLS 24
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — Matt Hasselbeck hit Nate Washington for a 15-yard touchdown with 1:03 left in leading Tennessee.
It was Hasselbeck’s 22nd career fourth-quarter comeback and second in consecutive weeks. It happened in a game in which running back Chris Johnson enjoyed a long awaited breakout performance with 195 yards rushing and two scores.
Jamie Harper also scored twice for Tennessee (3-4). Jason McCourty’s interception of a Ryan Fitzpatrick pass set up the decisive drive.
Fitzpatrick finished 27 of 35 for 225 yards and three scores, but turned the ball over twice, including a lost fumble. Buffalo is 3-4.
VIKINGS 21, CARDINALS 14
MINNEAPOLIS — Adrian Peterson ran for 153 yards and a first-quarter touchdown, and Minnesota survived an ugly second half to hang on for the win.
Percy Harvin caught Ponder’s only touchdown pass, but Ponder threw an interception that led to a second-quarter touchdown run by LaRod Stephens-Howling. Ponder has seven turnovers in the last three games; two of them were turned into touchdowns last week at Washington.
Arizona’s John Skelton went 25 for 36 for 262 yards and two turnovers. Rookie Harrison Smith returned an interception 31 yards for a touchdown in the first minute of the second half, giving the Vikings enough of a cushion to withstand the offensive woes down the stretch.