Don't think it's cynical at all to wonder where in the world performances like that have been the past nine games. It wasn't since Oakland on Oct. 11 that the Giants have so dominated a team as they did in their 45-12 victory over Washington. And it couldn't have come at a better time.
The Giants looked at that game with all the intensity of a playoff game, as well they should. The win enabled them to remain within spitting distance of a playoff berth. Dallas or Green Bay still has to lose a game, and the Giants have to beat Carolina and Minnesota. But they're still very much in the hunt.
And they stayed in there by putting up their biggest points total as a visitor since they laid out the Redskins with 51 points in 1954, a span of 55 years. Eli Manning continued a three-game run of big-number passing, and the patchwork defense inflicted such punishment on Jason Campbell that he was left damaged mentally and physically by game's end.
Here's the complete stats package for you. And here's Mike Eisen's notes from Giants.com.
On the Giants' second third-down situation, Ahmad Bradshaw ran with a slip-screen 14 yards for the first down. That play, coming in the middle of a 16-play, 80-yard touchdown drive that marked the first first-possession touchdown since Oakland, would work all night, and Bradshaw would catch three of those for 29 yards.
On third-and-five on the Redskins' first possession, Justin Tuck charged up the middle and dumped Campbell for loss. It marked the first of five sacks on the quarterback by a rejuvenated pass rush.
On the final play of an 11-play touchdown drive, Bradshaw took the ball from three yards out and followed an excellent block by left guard Kevin Boothe, who had replaced an injured Rich Seubert on the opening drive, for his first of two touchdowns and a 14-0 lead.
Hakeem Nicks took a quick pass as the Redskins blitzed, made a backward step to elude a tackler, and raced 45 yards to the Washington 7 to set up Steve Smith's seven-yard touchdown catch and a 24-0 lead.
Undrafted rookie corner Bruce Johnson wound up in the middle of a cluster of players to grab holder Hunter Smith's dying duck off a fake field goal and returned it to the 45 as the first half expired to keep the Redskins scoreless. Washington had shifted into the "swinging gate" formation to try the pass.
Eli Manning: He went 19-of-26 for 268 yards and three touchdowns and no interceptions, making good decisions all along the way.
Kevin Boss: His 35-yard completion that set up the touchdown throw to Derek Hagan showed how smart he was in using all his resources, including an official that acted as a shield as Brian Orakpo pursued him.
Terrell Thomas: He made his fifth interception of the season, bringing it back 14 yards for a touchdown and a 38-6 lead.
Kevin Boothe: He did an excellent job making up for the loss of Rich Seubert in the first quarter. He sprang Ahmad Bradshaw on several good runs and was overall solid in the middle.
Fred Robbins: The demoted defensive tackle had his first sack in four games.
Steve Smith: The wide receiver jumped his franchise-record reception total to 90 with five catches for 40 yards and a touchdown, his sixth of the season, tying him with Nicks for the team lead.
Will Beatty: The second-round tackle did a sound, solid job in his second start for the injured Kareem McKenzie. Best of all, he got right in the fray when Brandon Jacobs and DeAngelo Hall went after each other.
Hakeem Nicks: Before he went out of the game, he made quite a contribution with two catches for 66 yards, including that 45-yarder. Even on his 21-yarder, he made a nice move around a defender to get the extra yardage.
THE UGLY STUFF:
Not a whole lot of that. You can get nit-picky and talk about how Haynesworth blew past Boothe for a second-quarter sack. But he recovered nicely. Or you can talk about Lawrence Tynes' inconsistent kickoffs, which never mattered in this game, anyway.
There were a couple of big plays the secondary shouldn't have given up in the second half, like Rock Cartwright's 51-yarder on a counter pass, and Kevin Gilbride's failure to run the clock at the end of the first half, allowing the Redskins to take over with 1:02 left and move into scoring position. Only the "swinging gate" fiasco saved the Giants from a late, possibly momentum-changing field goal.
LG Rich Seubert sprained his left knee in the first quarter and did not return.
WR Hakeem Nicks strained a hamstring in the second quarter and did not return.
LB Michael Boley hurt his finger in the fourth quarter and returned.
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