The Giants' 31-7 win over the Redskins couldn't have come at a more opportune time.
Just days after the Eagles beat the Texans to go 8-4, the Giants moved right back into their first-place tie with arguably their most dominant performances of the season. Six turnovers, four sacks, 200 yards and four rushing touchdowns by Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw, and a deflected punt on special teams. Can't ask for much better than that, unless one insists Eli Manning keep his interceptions to himself while nearing the end zone.
There was plenty of good in this one.
Eli Manning: Yeah, he threw that end zone pick into triple coverage on Kevin Boss. But he otherwise played well within himself in a 15-of-25, 161-yard effort. He kept his passes short and, for the most part, safe on a windy day. The gameplan was to run the football, and he managed the game well.
Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw: Jacobs had 103 yards and two touchdowns on eight carries and Bradshaw went over the 1,000-yard mark for the season with 97 yards on 25 carries, also scoring two touchdowns. Considering they did it behind a makeshift line that also for a fifth straight game, kept Manning off his back, that's saying something. Jacobs was particularly impressive as he cut back on his 28-yard touchdown run.
Derek Hagan: Who'd have figured this guy as a go-to receiver? But with Mario Manningham well-covered for most of the game, Manning found the veteran for seven completions for 65 yards. Good job for a guy who expected to see no better action than three-wide sets when he arrived three weeks ago.
Jason Pierre-Paul: This first-round defensive end is coming along at just the right time. His two sacks on Donovan McNabb gave him four in two games, and he also had a recovered fumble and a batted pass. Add Justin Tuck's sack and two forced fumbles, and Osi Umenyiora's strip sack, and you've got a nice day from the defensive front.
Keith Bulluck: Things could have gotten dicey after Manning threw that endzone interception with the Giants up 14-0. But the former Titans linebacker scooped up Anthony Armstrong's fumble four plays later and set up Bradshaw's second touchdown of the half to effectively put the Redskins in an irretrievable hole. Extra props to Bulluck for contributing despite a long, frustrating year that has seen injuries and the new three-safety alignment turn the one-time star into a bit player.
Special Teams: The coverage units came out flying from the beginning and handled dangerous returner Brandon Banks very well. But even more important was their pressure on punter Hunter Smith, which eventually resulted in a fourth-quarter block by newly-acquired former Redskin Devin Thomas. Matt Dodge had one of his best days, hitting seven punts for a 44.1-yard average and dropping one at the Washington 5.
Terrell Thomas: Nice end zone interception to thwart a scoring chance at the beginning of the fourth quarter. That marked his team-high fifth pick of the season.
Manning: That end zone pick marked the Giants' 31st turnover and Manning's 17th interception. Way too many on each count. The Giants are lucky to be escaping these turnover scrapes. The thing about this one is that it was totally avoidable. Manning knew he was at least throwing into double-coverage (it turned out to be triple-coverage), so he should have just chucked it out of the end zone. He's got to become a bit less daring, especially in times where the Giants are moving the ball effortlessly.
Will Beatty: Pretty good day at left tackle except for a hold and a false start in the span of three third-quarter snaps. If David Diehl can come back next week, the second-year Beatty is out of there, anyway.