"Santana has been pretty phenomenal," Redskins coach Joe Gibbs said. "I'm really thankful we got him. Last year, I was so frustrated (because) we couldn't get big plays. For us to get some this year changes the whole complexion of what we're doing."
Moss' 10 catches of at least 30 yards is one more than the Redskins managed all last season.
"It's pretty cool to go back and be playing in the game we're playing in on Sunday," said Moss, who called Giants Stadium home for four years before the Jets traded him to the Redskins in March for fellow receiver Laveranues Coles. "I know the stadium well. I know it has some pretty fast turf. I'm hoping it's a good (weather) day so we can be able to do the things that we do."
Moss' best game as a Jet came in his previous matchup with the Giants when he caught 10 balls for 121 yards and three touchdowns in a 31-28 loss in 2003 at Giants Stadium. Moss caught 74 passes for 1,105 yards and 10 touchdowns that season, but those numbers pale with those on pace for this year: 101 catches, 1,981 yards and 13 touchdowns. The yards would be an NFL record, the touchdowns a Redskins mark.
"I always like to make the critics scratch their heads," said Moss, who battled injuries in New York. "(The Redskins) don't just make me stretch the (field) every time. They put me in a situation where ... I'm just getting the ball in my hands and generate whatever I'm going to get. When you've got a guy like myself and you're throwing deep every play, teams pretty much pick that up."
Although Moss was absent for much of the off-season program at Redskins Park while his agent negotiated a new contract, and although Mark Brunell was a backup throughout training camp and preseason, the receiver and his new quarterback didn't waste any time clicking.
"The whole Brunell-Moss thing is 80 percent Moss and 20 percent Brunell," said Brunell, who's leading the NFC with 98.3 passer rating thanks largely to a 12-2 touchdown-interception ratio. "Santana is that good. There's nothing he can't do. The only thing he doesn't have is he's not 6-foot-4 or 6-5, but he can catch and run. He's smart. He's competitive. And once he gets the ball, he can do something with it."
As long as the speedster doesn't outrun the ball.
"The hardest thing about throwing to Santana is that it's easy to underthrow him," Brunell said. "You just have to throw it out there, because when the ball is in the air he'll really go and get it."
And to think the Redskins only went out and got Moss because the unhappy Coles wanted to be traded back to the Jets.
SERIES HISTORY: 147th meeting. The Giants lead the series 82-60-4 including a split of their two postseason meetings. The most memorable meeting was a meaningless regular season game in which the Redskins crushed the Giants 72-41 in 1966. The more recent memorable game came on "Monday Night Football" in 1985 when Giants LB Lawrence Taylor broke Joe Theismann's leg and ended the longtime Redskins QB's career.
Quotes and Notes
--Kicker John Hall, who missed the last five games with a pulled quadriceps, could finally return to action on Sunday.
"I think I'm kicking this week," Hall said. "I felt pretty good. It depends on what (special teams coach Danny Smith) wants. I prepared last week like I was kicking, but it didn't happen. Of course, I'm anxious. It's a pretty big game, but I just want to get out there for any game. I don't care if we play Maryland."
Gibbs, who earlier said that Hall would reclaim his job from rookie Nick Novak if he showed he could kick in practice for two straight weeks, said today's more kick-intensive practice would likely be more telling about the situation for Sunday.
Hall, who spent the first six years of his career kicking in Giants Stadium for the Jets, has missed 14 of the last 17 games with a series of leg injuries.
--Defensive tackles Cornelius Griffin (hip), Cedric Killings (ankle) and Aki Jones (hamstring) didn't practice on Wednesday. Killings and Jones hadn't played against San Francisco while Griffin went out in the third quarter.
With the inexperienced Ryan Boschetti as the only healthy defensive tackle, Joe Salave'a has continued to tough it out despite a case of plantar fascia, a painful arch/heel injury he suffered on Oct. 16 at Kansas City.
"It's tender, but if I can tolerate the pain, I'll be all right," said Salave'a, who didn't practice all last week but started against the 49ers. "I've never had this problem before. I'm trying to get as much treatment as I can and work through it."QUOTE TO NOTE: "Antonio is a good friend, but he's playing for the other guys on Sunday. We can hug and kiss after the game, but for those three hours, it's all business." - Redskins SLB Marcus Washington about facing Giants MLB Antonio Pierce, whom he played next to all last season.
--QB Mark Brunell (calf) was limited in practice on Wednesday but should start on Sunday against the Giants.
--FS Sean Taylor (ankle) didn't practice on Wednesday but should start as usual on Sunday.
--CB Carlos Rogers (ankle) practiced Wednesday and is expected to return to action on Sunday after being inactive against the 49ers.
--C Casey Rabach (ankle) practiced on Wednesday and should start. Rabach didn't practice all last week.
--LB LaVar Arrington (hamstring) practiced on Wednesday and should be available to play.
GAME PLAN: The Redskins will try to attack the Giants' struggling pass defense with deep balls to WRs Santana Moss and David Patten as well as underneath throws to H-backs Chris Cooley and Mike Sellers.
Defensively, the Redskins would like to repeat the nightmares they gave Giants QB Eli Manning as a rookie last December. However, Manning is maturing quickly and has more weapons with new WR Plaxico Burress and healthy TE Jeremy Shockey. Washington will have to limit the big plays by that trio as well as RB Tiki Barber after allowing four TDs on runs or screens of at least 34 yards the last three weeks.
MATCHUPS TO WATCH
Redskins RB Clinton Portis vs. Giants MLB Antonio Pierce. Portis, who finally got off the TD schneid last week with three scores against the lowly 49ers, will battle ex-teammate Pierce, who leads the Giants in tackles and loves chasing down RBs.
Redskins WR Santana Moss vs. Giants CB Will Allen. Moss has been the biggest playmaker that Washington has had at WR since Gary Clark, Ricky Sanders and Art Monk in Gibbs' first tenure that ended in 1992. Allen and the rest of the New York secondary, which was burned by Moss in 2003 when he was a Jet, are not playing well. Only Denver has held Moss without a 30-yard catch.
Redskins DT Cornelius Griffin vs. Giants RG Chris Snee. Griffin felt dissed by the Giants when they let him go to the Redskins as a free agent without a fight last March. Griffin drove the point home with 12 tackles in his return to the Meadowlands last September. Snee, a tough kid who also happens to be the son-in-law of Giants coach Tom Coughlin, wasn't starting then, but he was in the lineup when Griffin made six tackles in the December rematch.
INJURY IMPACT: With DT Joe Salave'a gimpy and the backup DTs inexperienced and/or ailing, Griffin has to be himself to make the defense work properly against a high-flying New York offense.