Washington Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan stated that the botched first down call by the officials in the Redskins loss to the New York Giants affected their play calling, and may have cost them the game. And while the miscues by the officials were certainly a big mistake, I don’t think that cost the Redskins a chance to tie the game.
What cost them that were dropped passes and a fumble by wide receiver Pierre Garcon. The Redskins had plenty of time to mount a possible game tying drive late in the fourth quarter, but the string of dropped passes helped scuttled the drive. Quarterback Robert Griffin III threw a perfect pass to tight end Logan Paulsen on first down, but he dropped it.
Then after a completion to Roy Helu Jr. on second down, RGIII hit wide receiver Pierre Garcon with a catchable ball on third down, but it was knocked loose before he could secure it. Paulsen and Garcon then made amends for the drops, with a fourth down conversion by Paulsen, and then catches on first down and second down by Garcon.
The catch on second down by Garcon was incorrectly ruled a first down by the officials, and the chains were moved. Griffin then hit tight end Fred Davis with a perfect pass over the middle on what was thought to be first down, but it was actually third down. Davis appeared to make the catch, but the ball was jarred loose by the Giants Antrel Rolle.
Drop number three by a Redskins receiver on the drive. And then on fourth down, Griffin hit Garcon with a good pass again for what was a conversion on fourth down. However, Garcon had the ball stripped from him by Giants safety Will Hill. And the Giants then proceeded to run out the clock.
So, yes the botched first down call was a big mistake by the officials, as Mike Shanahan stated he asked for a measurement on the play, but he was told it wasn’t needed because they had a first down. But had the Redskins receivers not had those drops and a turnover in crunch time, the botched call wouldn’t have made much of a difference.