Giants ‘Stand' and Deliver

If the Giants are to make anything of themselves this season, there's no doubt that they'll all point back to their late-game defensive stand in Washington as the turning point. Protecting a seven-point lead, the Giants allowed Washington to get inside the one-yard line with just less than one minute to play – but no further.

"We rose up, on the goal line, and were able to make a couple of plays there at the end," Giants coach Tom Coughlin understated.

All the Skins had to do was move the ball about a foot to force overtime, which Washington would have entered with all the momentum in the world. And the Giants, plain and simply, wouldn't let them.

"Our guys just bowed up their backs and came out victorious," said CB Sam Madison, who easily played his best game of this young season. "All I can do is tip my hat to those front eight guys that pushed the offensive linemen back, got penetration, and allowed our linebackers to come in and make the tackles."

After a 20-yard pass to Antwaan Randle El converted a third-and-13 and moved the ball to the Giants 1, for some odd reason, Redskins QB Jason Campbell spiked the ball to stop the clock. Yes, the Skins were out of timeouts, but with just about a minute to play, Washington still had plenty of time to run their plays.

"We still had three opportunities to get into the end zone from the one," Campbell explained in defending his decision to waste a down.

The Giants actually called their second timeout at that point so they could get the correct personnel on the field. It worked.

On second down, Campbell looked to exploit LB Kawika Mitchell, who has had his share of troubles in coverage during the first two games. Not this time. He had Mike Sellers played perfectly and the Giants were halfway home.

Mitchell came up big again on third down, this time stuffing Skins RB Ladell Betts for no gain.

"Obviously you want to be the one to make the hit," Mitchell said. "We answered the call for this game."

Now, with 25 seconds to play, the game, and perhaps the entire season, came down to one final play. The Giants were ready.

"Me and Osi (Umenyiora) knew they were going to run outside," Justin Tuck said. "We knew the challenge was there and we just manned up."

The charge of Tuck and Umenyiora helped push Betts wider than he intended to run, where safety James Butler was there waiting to wrap him up. Butler dropped Betts for a two-yard loss and the Giants had finally broken into the victory column.

"We just decided that enough was enough," Umenyiora said.

"This was a great defensive effort," Michael Strahan said. "But it's something to build on; not something to sit back and get happy about."

Reuben Droughns, one of New York's offensive heroes, admitted he was nervous as the defense needed its final stand.

"Of course you're going to be biting your nails," he smiled. "But this is going to be one of those stepping stones that they needed."

"You can't write a story better than that," Tuck added.

Now if only the huge defensive stand carries over to the next chapter.

Mr. TD: While he's contributed in various roles, Reuben Droughns hadn't exactly been a rushing star during the season's first two games. It only took him a couple of carries in DC to change all that. Droughns twice rumbled into the end zone for 1-yard scores to help the Giants erase all of their halftime deficit.

"It felt good to get the ball and get into the end zone," Droughns said.

"He was one of our key additions this offseason," O'Hara said.

Droughns was asked if he figured to become a hot fantasy football commodity after his two short scoring bursts.

"I'm sure no one started me today," he laughed.

Turning the corner: Down 17-3 at halftime, the Giants knew they were running out of time. So they took the bull by the horns and drove 61 yards in 10 plays to Droughns' first TD. That cut Washington's lead to 17-10 and the game was again up for grabs.

"Just to come out and put that drive together to start the third quarter really started our momentum," O'Hara said.

O'Hara said the club was calm at halftime. "There weren't any rah-rah speeches," he said. "It was just, ‘let's get a drive going'…we were able to do it."

Game winner: As huge a play as Antonio Pierce's mid-fourth quarter fumble recovery turned out to be, none of it would have mattered if New York's offense didn't capitalize. And it didn't take them long. After being shut out in the first half, Plaxico Burress responded after halftime in a big way.

On a second-and-nine, Burress caught a short pass from Eli Manning, cut right inside of Redskins CB Carlos Rogers and sprinted the rest of the way for a 33-yard touchdown. He was blasted by LaRon Landry, but not before he crossed the goal line with the game-winning points.

"Plaxico has been our playmaker all year," O'Hara said.

Better late than…: It might have taken close to three full games, but Michael Strahan appears to be back. After a very quiet first three quarters in Washington, Strahan was clearly a major player in the final period. He finished with two tackles and a quarterback hit but, most importantly, Strahan drew a huge holding call on Redskins center Casey Rabach that helped thwart the Redskins' final drive.

"I felt better than I've been feeling," Strahan said. "One thing is that I've never been tired in a game."

Now it's really starting to show.

Top TE: With his fourth catch of the game and the 328th of his career, Jeremy Shockey became the Giants' all-time leader in receptions for a tight end. Bob Tucker grabbed 327 passes during his eight-year Giants career.

Not just yet: After receiving indications during the week that they both had a strong chance to start the game, rookie CB Aaron Ross and KR Sinorice Moss remained in their backup roles. It looked as if Ross would start when he trotted on the field with the first-team defense, but he ran off before the first snap. The Giants went back to the kickoff return team of Ahmad Bradshaw and Reuben Droughns, but they did switch Bradshaw, who had a very costly fumble against the Packers, from the primary returner to the secondary man.

Sittin' it out: Rookie receiver Steve Smith and RB Brandon Jacobs highlighted the inactive list in Washington. Additionally, safety Craig Dahl, LB Gerris Wilkinson, rookie OT Adam Koets, G Kevin Boothe and rookie TE Kevin Boss were inactive. Jared Lorenzen, coming off a sprained ankle suffered against Green Bay, was the third quarterback.

Extra points

After posting just three defensive three-and-outs during the season's first two games, New York delivered three in Washington – in the second half alone…

The Giants now lead the regular season series with Washington, 85-60-4. Big Blue improved to 5-5-1 against the Redskins at FedEx Field…

The crowd of 90,803 was an all-time record for FedEx Field.

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