Running Tiki Barber up the middle on a third-and-10 play from their own 28, when they were clinging to a 34-28 lead with 2:33 to play, exhibited how little faith they had in Eli Manning by the end of this game. He did, however, sell play action well on his 6-yard touchdown toss to WR Tim Carter in the third quarter. Early in the second quarter, though, he sensed pressure, hurried a deep throw into double coverage and should've been intercepted by SS Vernon Fox at the goal line. Bottom Line: It is difficult to consider this performance progress.
With Washington gaining momentum, Tiki Barber broke the attempted shoulder tackle of SS Troy Vincent at the Redskins' 40 and out-ran three other defenders for a 50-yard touchdown that gave the Giants breathing room (34-21) with 6:13 to play. FB Jim Finn blasted WLB Rocky McIntosh and created the huge hole on the left side for Barber's 55-yard touchdown with 5:44 left before halftime. Bottom Line: Barber saved their season.
WR Tim Carter tripped over his own feet, but his NBA-like flop drew a pivotal pass interference flag, a 31-yard penalty on FS Sean Taylor that brought the Giants to Washington's 6. Carter caught a touchdown on the next play that helped the Giants move ahead 27-7 with 9:11 left in the third quarter. WR Plaxico Burress pushed nickel back Ade Jimoh in the back, and the pass interference call in the end zone cost him a 28-yard touchdown catch just before halftime. They settled for a 31-yard FG two plays later. Bottom Line: They missed Jeremy Shockey's presence.
OFFENSIVE LINE/TIGHT ENDS
C Shaun O'Hara's hold on SLB Jeff Posey at the line of scrimmage negated Barber's 33-yard run late in the third quarter. TE Visanthe Shiancoe sealed off RDE Andre Carter at the line of scrimmage to help spring Barber for his 15-yard touchdown run early in the second quarter. Bottom Line: Manning was sacked only once and Barber ran for 234 yards.
With FS Will Demps blitzing past him, RDE Osi Umenyiora remained engaged with TE Todd Yoder, leaving FB Mike Sellers wide open for a 1-yard touchdown catch that helped get Washington within six (34-28) with 3:22 left in the game. WLB Brandon Short would've covered Sellers had Umenyiora pursued Sellers. Bottom Line: They didn't get nearly enough pressure on Jason Campbell.
MLB Antonio Pierce pursued straight up the middle and over-ran RB T.J. Duckett, who shifted left and scored a 1-yard touchdown that drew Washington within six (27-21) with 9:25 remaining in the game. WLB Brandon Short executed a textbook tackle at the Giants' 18 early in the first quarter, wrapping his arms around RB Ladell Betts' waist and using his helmet to dislodge the football from Betts' right arm. DT Fred Robbins recovered the fumble, returned it 67 yards and the Giants grabbed a quick 3-0 advantage. Bottom Line: Short and Pierce were all over the field.
With Washington down 34-28 and two minutes to play, SS Gibril Wilson snuck his left hand in at the last second to tip away a Campbell pass to WR Antwaan Randle El on a fourth-and-10 play from Washington's 22. SS Jason Bell showed concentration and agility in falling to intercept a Campbell pass that ricocheted off backup RCB Kevin Dockery's shoulder pad. The turnover gave the Giants, who were ahead 20-7, the ball at Washington's 47 early in the third quarter. RCB Sam Madison misplayed Randle El's underthrown option pass in the first quarter, which allowed WR Santana Moss to sneak in front of him at the goal line and catch a 48-yard touchdown pass that helped put Washington ahead 7-3. Bottom Line: Campbell had his way with them.
WR Sinorice Moss managed an average of just 15.6 yards on five kickoff returns, worse than injured Chad Morton's mediocrity. The punt return coverage unit limited Randle El to seven yards combined on three returns. Bottom Line: Moss must get them better field position.
Kevin Gilbride's commitment to enabling Barber to win this game for them was evident early, and the new offensive coordinator's choice obviously paid dividends. David Diehl was overpowered for a sack on the Giants' first series, but Tom Coughlin's decision to start him at LT in place of Bob Whitfield at least sent a message that those costly personal fouls won't be tolerated anymore. Bottom Line: The players responded for a change, but still nearly blew another huge lead.
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