Dec 18, 2011; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning (10) is sacked by Washington Redskins nose tackle Barry Cofield (96) and outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan (91) during the second half at MetLife Stadium. Washington Redskins defeat the New York Giants 23-10. Mandatory Credit: Jim O

Redskins: How to beat the champ

Since this game has been over, I’ve bounced between three different ideas/explanations of how the Redskins beat the Super Bowl Champion New York Giants twice, but could not beat the NFC best record 49ers (who the Giants beat in the conference championship) or the New England Patriots (AFC champs). The New England game was close… but no cigar. The Niners game wasn’t even a contest.

One thought I had was that maybe it was just the sheer will and drive of the players in the game. Could the Pats and Niners just have wanted it more than the Skins in those matchups? It’s possible. The Pats game came down to the final quarter and mistakes separated the Skins from them. Against San Fran, The defense played well, but the offense just couldn’t seem to get the ball rolling. There were tons of mistakes in that game. Then against the G-men, the momentum ball started rolling early and they never let up. The “Any Given Sunday” factor still seems like a viable option.

Another thought was maybe the teams just matched up better against the Giants than they did the Pats or the Niners. San Fran has a great defense that stifled the Skins offense for most fo the game. The defense played them pretty well but the offense just couldn’t get it going. Later in the season, the Patriots, carrying the worst statistical defense in the NFL, probably matched up pretty well in this game. Washington could have gotten some calls from the refs that could have changed the game, but in the end, they just didn’t put enough points ont the board. The Giants really didn’t have an aswer for the Skins. They were outmatched/outplaed.

Last theory, was it the coaching? Could it have been that the first two theories really stemmed from Mike and Kyle Shanahan being outsmarted in the 4th qurter? With basically the same personnel on all four teams were the same (or about the same), logic says that the Skins should beat them all. Of course, this wasn’t the case. So maybe the Harbaugh and Belichick just really won a chess match that Shanford and Son may not have not been prepared to fight. Again, another viable reason.

No one really knows the answer for that. So I’ll leave you with this a better question people want answers to this morning: Why wasn’t Mario Manningham the MVP?

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