There is momentum now for the New York Giants, a 19-10 win at the Washington Redskins now gives them three wins in the final four games of the regular season as they head into the playoffs.
The Giants, now 11-5, have to feel good about the play of their defense in the win over an NFC East rival while getting the bad taste of their mouth from an embarrassing Week 16 loss at the Philadelphia Eagles.
The Giants took the lead via a Robbie Gould 22-yard field goal in the first quarter and then increased that when Rashad Jennings dove two yards in the second quarter for a 10-0 lead. While the offense had struggles punching the ball into the endzone, they didn’t have a turnover and moved the ball with some efficiency.
All game long the Giants defense stood up to the task against an offense that has topped 500 yards three times in a game this season. Washington seemed poised to put some points up on the board and perhaps gain some momentum when, late in the third quarter, a 49-yard link-up between quarterback Kurt Cousins and wide receiver Pierre Garcon had the Redskins in the red zone. But on the very next play, Giants cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie made an interception, keeping both feet in bounds for a huge turnover.
The Redskins would storm back with 10 unanswered points but Gould would nail a 40-yard field goal with 2:12 left in the fourth quarter. Then it was Rodgers-Cromartie again, this time with just 1:12 left in the game, who intercepted Cousins a second time to seal the Giants win.
Three Things We Learned from the Giants in Week 17:
No injuries – One week before the start of the Wild Card round, the Giants emerged from Washington relatively unscathed in terms of injuries, with all of their prominent pieces walking away relatively healthy. For a team that has had some big injuries over the past few weeks, making sure that they are overall healthy for their first trip to the playoffs since 2011.
That the Giants escaped the game without any major injuries, especially to quarterback Eli Manning (whose backup Josh Jackson last threw an NFL pass five years ago), is more important than getting a win in what is essentially a meaningless game.
To that end, neither wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. or cornerback Janoris Jenkins played in the second half, resting their own injuries.
They can run – What was the league’s worst rushing offense much of the season has found its stride in recent weeks. Against Washington, the Giants used a balance attack and remained committed to getting something from the ground game…and then some.
Paul Perkins built on the momentum of recent weeks for what would be the rookie’s biggest game of his young NFL career, going for 102 yards on 21 carries. Veteran Rashad Jennings added 52 yards on 18 carries.
The numbers put up by Perkins were the most of any Giants running back this season.
Getting super defensive – Washington wouldn’t get on the board until there was just :25 left in the third quarter, a unit that got after Cousins in the pocket and made things very difficult for a team replete with offensive stars to move the ball.
Washington didn’t get on the scoreboard until late in the third quarter
Safety Landon Collins backed up the MVP talk with a sack and four tackles to spearhead the effort. The Giants also got key contributions from defensive end Olivier Vernon (one sack) and linebacker Keenan Robinson (six tackles).