Best & Worst

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Worst Effort: On a second-and-six pass from his 42, Giants quarterback Eli Manning threw behind tight end Jeremy Shockey on a short buttonhook and was intercepted by Lemar Marshall. As soon as the ball landed in Marshall's hands, Shockey turned to argue with officials for a pass interference call, while Marshall returned it 27 yards to set up the Redskins' third touchdown.

Worst Check-Off: As Redskins quarterback Mark Brunell called the signals on second and 11 from his 24, he never took his eyes off the right side of the field. After he received the snap, his eyes stayed right as he looked for James Thrash on a short slant. Giants linebacker Chase Blackburn, reading it all the way, intercepted Brunell and returned it 31 yards for a touchdown to put New York ahead 10-7.

Best New Celebration: Taking a page from Green Bay receivers' Lambeau Leap into the end zone stands after scoring, Santana Moss perched himself on the ledge in front of the end zone seats after his 59-yard touchdown catch. Perhaps it was the first FedEx Flop?

Worst Shot: With the Giants driving just before halftime, Eli Manning tried to hit Tim Carter along the left sideline. Carter was backpedaling and facing Manning when Redskins cornerback Walt Harris hit Carter with his helmet in the left jaw. Harris was called for unnecessary roughness, which moved the ball into Redskins territory. Three plays later, the Giants scored to cut the Redskins' lead to 21-17 10 seconds before halftime.

Best Containment: The Giants' bookends on the defensive line -- Osi Umenyiora and Michael Strahan -- entered the game among the top three in the NFL in sacks; Umenyiora had 12 1/2 ; Strahan had 11 1/2 . Not only did neither get to pad their total, both were kept out of the Redskins' backfield. While Strahan had eight total tackles, Umenyiora managed one assist as he went up against Chris Samuels.

Best Containment, Part II: Only a 31-yard run late in the fourth quarter prevented Tiki Barber from having his least productive game of the season. That carry -- Barber's 16th and last of the game -- gave him 80 yards rushing, yet that was far below the 144 yards he averaged over the five previous games.

Best Identity: The Redskins have wanted to go to a more run-oriented offense with the colder weather approaching, and they found the most success with it against the Giants. The Redskins rushed a season-high 43 times -- surpassing their previous high of 40 set three other times -- for 156 yards. It helped the Redskins maintain an edge in time of possession of nearly six minutes in the clinching fourth quarter.

-- Alan Goldenbach

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