Stat worth noting: The Giants posted 14 first downs after halftime to only four for Washington. New York finished with a 19-14 edge in moving the sticks.
Stat worth noting II: The Giants defied the odds and won a game despite losing the all-important turnover battle. New York coughed up the football three times, while the Redskins only lost one fumble. But the Giants were able to turn that one Washington miscue into the game-winning score.
Turning point: Tied midway through the fourth quarter, the Giants were forced to punt when they were unable to convert a third down from their own 16. The Redskins, however, failed to take advantage of their excellent ensuing field position. On their second play, QB Jason Campbell and RB Clinton Portis botched the handoff and Antonio Pierce was linebacker-on-the-spot, falling on the free ball at the Redskins 44-yard line. Four plays later the Giants were in the end zone with the game-winning score, which came with 5:22 to play.
Play to remember: Jeremy Shockey, who already had a 27-yard catch in the first half to his credit, got open between LaRon Landry and Rocky McIntosh and dove to reel in a 21-yard pass that moved the ball to the Redskins one-yard line early in the third quarter. That led to a Reuben Droughns TD run that sliced Washington’s lead to 17-10. After the play, a playful Shockey, who was penalized for spiking the ball after a catch against the Packers, gently placed the ball on the ground.
Play to forget: On New York’s first play from scrimmage on its second possession, Skins DE Andre Carter blew right by David Diehl. Carter, who simply ran right outside of Diehl, unloaded on an unsuspecting Eli Manning, who coughed up the ball. Washington LB London Fletcher picked up the loose ball and returned it to the New York 6-yard line. Two plays later, Washington RB Clinton Portis punched it in and the Redskins had their first lead, 7-3.
By the Numbers
0 – Number of first-half catches by Plaxico Burress. He also dropped a few catchable passes and was unable to come up with a few more that he got his hands on. He also had a nice diving grab overturned by video replay, which showed that the ball hit the ground.
5 – Number of second-half catches by Burress, good for 86 yards and the game-winning TD catch.
23 – Consecutive drives in which the Redskins defense had not allowed an opposing TD before Reuben Droughns ran it in from one yard out in the third quarter.
“If we don’t win, that’s probably the end of our season there.” – Giants DE Justin Tuck
“We let one get away and that is really tough because we had the opportunity to go 3-0 and go three games up on the Giants. For us to drop one at our own field really hurts.” – Redskins QB Jason Campbell
What went right
The beleaguered defense rose up when it most mattered, stopping the Redskins on a classic goal-line stand to protect the lead and ensure New York’s first victory of the 2007 season.
Derrick Ward continued his tough, solid running. He averaged 3.6 yards per carry en route to a 94-yard afternoon. Reuben Droughns twice punched it in from one yard out.
Plaxico Burress and Jeremy Shockey were the downfield threats New York desperately needed, combing for 10 catches for 165 yards.
While it was clearly the accurate call, the Giants still caught a break when Tom Coughlin successfully challenged a Derrick Ward fumble in the fourth quarter. With Big Blue driving to the tying touchdown, Ward coughed it up at the Washington 5-yard line. However, video review showed that he was down by contact before the ball came free. Given new life, the Giants scored two plays later.
The Giants offense totally took over in the third quarter. New York posted nine first downs in the third period to none for Washington.
The Redskins moved down the field at will on their opening possession, but came away scoreless when Shaun Suisham missed a 39-yard field goal.
What went wrong
New York’s coverage units were sloppy once again. They allowed Washington to average 28 yards per kickoff return and 12 yards a pop on punt returns.
With the Giants trailing 17-10 in the third quarter, Eli Manning reverted to his old self when he threw a pass totally up for grabs. The intended receiver was Burress, but he was nowhere near the ball, which very well could have been fair caught by Sean Taylor, who picked it off at the Skins 14.
Despite pretty good coverage by Sam Madison and late help from R.W. McQuarters, Redskins WR Santana Moss came up with a beauty of a grab, lunging to haul in a 49-yard gain that moved the ball to New York’s 10-yard line.
New York’s defense missed two golden opportunities during the opening half. First, Madison dropped what should have been an interception; then Antonio Pierce missed an easy sack on Jason Campbell, blowing right by the signal-caller, who scooted away to safety.
No matter how good the defense played, they still had to allow at least one wide open tight end catch. This one hurt, though, as Chris Cooley caught an eight-yard TD pass to give Washington a 14-3 second-quarter lead.