Robert Griffin threw the ball downfield on first down. The pass was incomplete, and it brought up fourth down.
Wait, hold on a second. A play before Griffin threw downfield, he completed a pass that appeared to go for a first down. That's what the linesman told Shanahan when he asked for a measurement. Head official Jeff Triplette was trying to communicate the fact that it was third down.
But it was too late.
Redskins coach Mike Shanahan had called a deep pass on what he thought was first down. That's when the refs realized there was a bit of a miscommunication.
Instead of having some sort of conference among the officials or a review, they just carried on as normal. It would be fourth down for the Redskins. Here's how Shanahan explained the tough break:
Shanahan on that last sequence: "Well, I said I wanted a measurement and he said, 'You don't have to, it's a first down.'"— Chris Burke (@ChrisBurke_SI) December 2, 2013
It was fourth-and-1, but it caught the Redskins off-guard. Still, Griffin completed a pass to Pierre Garcon. He caught the pass, which was far from a guarantee on Sunday night for Washington's receivers, but he gave it away to Giants' defensive back Will Hill.
The confusion robbed the Redskins of a chance to tie the game. Driving inside Giants territory, they didn't know what was going on and fumbled the game away.