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Posted at 06:00 AM ET, 09/12/2011

Redskins defense showed plenty of positives vs. Giants

The Redskins’ defense did what needed to be done in their season-opening win over the New York Giants, which was stop the run and force Eli Manning to beat them.

Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs were held in check pretty much the entire game: The Giants’ longest run of the day was 14 yards, an outstanding defensive feat for any team against one of the league’s more dynamic backfields.

These guys also showed a resiliency that was not present last season. When the game was on the line, this defense delivered a 10-point swing to help the team win. A touchdown from steadily improving rookie Ryan Kerrigan gave them the lead, and a blocked field goal in crunch time that squashed any chance of a comeback.

They pressured Manning all game, the front three pushed the pocket and the blitzes were landing, inside and out.

Another standout performance came from an unlikely player in Chris Neild, the rookie seventh-round draft pick out of West Virginia, who put up two sacks and forced a fumble.

Maybe the best statistic of all for the defense was third-down efficiency. Last season they gave up way too many third-down conversions, and some were costly. In Sunday’s game, the Giants converted only 1 of 10 tries.

To sum it all up:

●The defense held Bradshaw and Jacobs to a combined 73 yards rushing.

●They got off the field 90 percent of the time on third downs, the most critical down.

●They generated a key turnover and turned it into points while the game was tied and still up for grabs.

●They forced Eli to do it in the air and in the end it was too heavy a burden for him to bear.

Great first game for this defense. If I had to give a grade it be an A, hands down.

By  |  06:00 AM ET, 09/12/2011

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