“The Giants, they’ve really been our nemesis around here the last five years,” said Redskins linebacker London Fletcher, whose team had fallen to New York nine of the last 10 games entering this season. “To sweep them, it means a lot, because they’re a well-coached football team.”
With quarterback Rex Grossman
turning in a shaky performance, the Redskins relied heavily on their defense. Washington intercepted Giants quarterback Eli Manning three times, winning the turnover battle for the first time all season.
And when Manning went to work in the final quarter — aiming for his seventh fourth-quarter comeback victory of the season — the Redskins twice denied the Giants in the shadow of their own end zone.
Manning finished the game 23 for 40 for 257 yards and no touchdowns. Ahmad Bradshaw led New York in rushing with 10 carries for 58 yards and a touchdown.
Grossman connected on 15 of 24 passes for 185 yards and a touchdown but threw two interceptions. Roy Helu’s streak of three 100-yard rushing games came to an end as the rookie picked up 53 yards on 23 carries while Evan Royster added 36 yards on 10 carries. Jabar Gaffney led Washington with six catches for 85 yards.
“You feel good about the way they played,” Coach Mike Shanahan said of his team, which had lost two straight and last week fell short in a last-second bid to upset the New England Patriots. “I was really disappointed that we couldn’t close the door last week. . . . So to finish the way we did today was nice.”
Washington’s first defining goal-line stand came three minutes into the fourth quarter. After the Redskins extended their lead to 23-3 with 14 minutes 57 seconds left, the Giants finally started showing signs of life. Manning completed four straight passes to march his team to the Redskins 13-yard line.
But on his fifth pass attempt, Manning’s fortunes changed. Redskins cornerback Josh Wilson made a leaping catch in the end zone for an interception and touchback. It was Wilson’s second interception of the season, and his second straight game with a pick.
The Redskins’ defense answered the bell again later in the fourth quarter. Wilson made a strong tackle to deny Giants running back D.J. Ware as he caught a pass and tried to cross the goal line. Initially, the officials ruled the play a touchdown. But a review showed that Ware had bobbled the ball at the line and didn’t secure possession until Wilson wrestled him back the 2.
With the Giants facing fourth and goal from there, Redskins linebacker Brian Orakpo rushed from the edge and drew a holding call from tackle David Diehl, backing the Giants up to the 12-yard line. New York tried for a touchdown on the next play, but rookie linebacker Ryan Kerrigan sacked Manning to deny the Giants and register Washington’s first sack of the game.