Sunday, October 21, 2012
Cruz makes more history against Redskins
By Kieran Darcy
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Seven weeks into the NFL season, we can say this, for sure: Victor Cruz is no one-year wonder.
Cruz came through yet again on Sunday, with a 77-yard touchdown grab with less than two minutes remaining and the winning score in the Giants' 27-23 victory over the Redskins.
That's the longest game-winning TD in the final two minutes of the fourth quarter in Giants history.
"[It was] A great route by Victor -- great decision," said quarterback Eli Manning. "I had good protection, I was able to put it up there and he ran under it to go get the touchdown."
Victor Cruz celebrates after scoring the game-winning touchdown against the Redskins.
The Giants had just given up the lead when Redskins QB Robert Griffin III connected with Santana Moss on a 30-yard TD strike, putting Washington up 23-20 with 1:32 to play. After David Wilson returned the kickoff to the Giants' 23-yard line, and following an incompletion on first down, the G-Men faced 2nd-and-10 with 1:23 left in the game.
That's when Cruz, from the right slot position, took off and streaked down the field, hauling in the bomb from Manning.
"As I was going vertical, I just saw that the safeties were wide and they were outside of the numbers, and I saw the middle of the field wide open, so I just took it," Cruz said. "I just kept going vertical and Eli saw it the same way."
Cruz had seven catches for 131 yards on the day. It's his fourth straight game with at least one touchdown catch.
In 2011, his first full NFL season, Cruz -- undrafted out of UMass -- stunned people around the league, with 82 catches for 1,536 yards and nine touchdowns. That yardage total was the third-highest in the NFL, and tops in Giants history.
But many people wondered, was he for real? Could he do it again?
Cruz has answered those questions. He entered Sunday's game tied for third in the league in receptions, and second in receiving touchdowns.
In seven games, Cruz now has 50 catches for 527 yards and seven scores.
"I love being in that position," Cruz said, about the game-winning play. "I feel like whenever I get the ball in my hands, I want to do some good things and some great things with it, so any time we get in that position I want to be the one to make the big catch or to make the winning touchdown."
He's making a habit of doing just that. Cruz may be most famous for his salsa celebration after he scores. But he now deserves to be known for something else:
Being one of the best wide receivers in the National Football League.