Manning, Tuck lead Giants over Redskins 24-17
LANDOVER, Md. (AP) — In a span of seven Washington Redskins offensive plays, Justin Tuck sacked Robert Griffin III four times.
In a span of 10 pass attempts, Eli Manning completed all 10.
If Tuck and Manning had been humming like that all season, the New York Giants wouldn’t be on the fringes of the playoff race.
As it is, they’ve made it to 5-7 — not bad after an 0-6 start — with Sunday night’s 24-17 win over the Redskins.
“If I was standing here with four sacks and a loss, I wouldn’t give two cents,” said Tuck, who had only 2½ sacks on the season entering the game. “But we got a win. I played pretty good tonight.”
The win keeps the Giants (5-7) two games behind division leaders Dallas and Philadelphia with four to play.
“After last week’s loss we were probably going to have to win five in a row,” Manning said, “and this is the first one,”
The Redskins (3-9), meanwhile, were eliminated from the postseason for the 17th time in 21 years and finished the season 0-5 in prime time.
“When you’re out of it, yeah, it’s very disappointing. ... You don’t like to play for pride,” Washington coach Mike Shanahan said, “but sometimes that’s the card that’s dealt, and that’s where we’re at right now.”
The Giants let Griffin do essentially whatever he wanted early on — the quarterback completed 16 of 17 passes in the first half — but Tuck and the Giants defense took over when it mattered, holding the Redskins to 96 second-half yards.
Linebacker Jon Beason finished with 17 tackles in a game New York played without defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul (shoulder) and cornerback Corey Webster (ankle).
The defense clinched the game with one final big play, when safety Will Hill wrestled the ball from Pierre Garcon after the receiver made a catch near midfield with 1:21 remaining as the Redskins were driving for a possible tying score.
The turnover came two plays after a confusing moment in which Washington apparently thought it had a first down — the sideline down marker was at “1″ — when it was actually third-and-1.
Shanahan vented at officials over the miscue, which referee Jeff Triplette said was caused when the chains were incorrectly moved, but the Redskins technically converted the fourth-and-1 anyway because Garcon had enough yardage for the first down before he was stripped of the ball.
Manning and Griffin put on quite the statistical show in the first half — they were a combined 26 for 29 for 250 yards at halftime — before the same troubles that have beset both teams resurfaced in droves.
Manning had a high throw tipped for an interception in the third quarter, and he remains on course to have more interceptions than touchdown passes for the first time since his rookie season. Manning was also sacked three times, giving him a career-high of 31.
But the Redskins could only convert Manning’s interception into a field goal — even though they got the ball at the New York 12. That gave Washington a 17-14 lead, which evaporated after a gaffe by the consensus worst special teams units in the league.
Redskins long snapper Kyle Nelson sent a bouncing grounder back to punter Sav Rocca, leading to a blocked punt that was compounded by a holding penalty on Nelson that added 10 yards to the final spot.
The Giants took over at the Washington 46 and needed only four plays and an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on cornerback DeAngelo Hall to produce Andre Brown’s 1-yard touchdown run that made the score 21-17, putting the Giants ahead for good early in the fourth quarter.
“You can’t stop yourselves,” Shanahan said. “We had some penalties. We had some dropped balls. We had a couple missed assignments. You couple all those things and that’s how you lose a football game.”
Josh Brown added an insurance 39-yard field goal with 2:32 remaining.
Manning finished 22 for 28 for 235 yards, including a 22-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Myers in the second quarter that was part of the 10 completions in a row.
After his stellar first half, Griffin was 8 for 15 for 58 yards in the second half for a final line of 24 for 32 for 207 yards and a season-high 88 yards rushing on 12 carries. He wasn’t sacked in the first half, but he went down five times after halftime.
“He outran me on a few plays,” Tuck said, “but I thought he looked good until we were able to make some adjustments.”
Notes: The Redskins scored a touchdown on their opening possession for the first time this season. ... The Giants had only one running play of 20-plus yards entering the game, but they had two on the same drive, including a 23-yard touchdown run by Brown that made the score 14-7. ... Redskins injuries: CB Hall (left hip), LB London Fletcher (sprained ankle).
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org
Follow Joseph White on Twitter: http://twitter.com/JGWhiteAP