By Paul Dottino
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There’s only one way to look at the Giants’ 45-14 road rout of the Washington Redskins: It put coach Tom Coughlin’s team at 2-2 after it lost its first two games.
Let’s see, what did they do well? They ran the ball. The defense held firm and came up with six turnovers (with only one giveaway by the offense). And quarterback Eli Manning (28-of-39 for 300 yards with four TDs and one INT) had only one completion worth more than 30 yards — an 80-yard catch-and-run to Victor Cruz in the first quarter. In other words, Manning managed the game.
Bingo! The Giants executed their modest three-pronged “recipe for success” checklist to perfection in front of a crowd that had a very large group of Big Blue fans. There actually were chants of “De-fense” and “Let’s Go Giants!” that could be heard throughout the stadium.
Offense: TE Larry Donnell — The Redskins must have thought that his receiving stats after the first three games were a misprint, because they didn’t pay close attention to him. Washington allowed him to release off the line and he did the rest, hauling in Manning’s darts to the tune of seven catches for 54 yards and three TDs. That made Donnell the first Giants tight end to catch three scores in a game since Joe Walton did it in Y.A. Tittle’s record-setting seven-TD game against Washington in 1962. Donnell scored on a 5-yard cross in the first period, and a 6-yard slant and a 6-yard fade in the second as the Giants built a 21-7 lead.
Defense: CB Trumaine McBride — We’ll put his late third-quarter interception aside because it was gravy to his overall performance. McBride was responsible for the play that virtually sealed the Redskins’ fate with 1:24 remaining in the first half, when he stole the ball out from WR Andre Roberts at the Giants’ 18. Roberts’ catch had Washington’s offense on the move, trailing by 14. But McBride wrestled the ball from him as they went to the ground, and it set up the Giants for a field goal that made it 24-7 at the half.
Special Teams: Damontre Moore — Going into the night, the Redskins had to feel as though they had an edge in the return game. It didn’t happen that way. Moore was in on both tackles of Roberts’ attempted kickoff returns (two for 33 yards). He had help from FB Peyton Hillis on the first one that left Washington at its own 15 following Donnell’s first score of the night.
Offense: RG John Jerry and RT Justin Pugh — No doubt, this is being very rough. But with 18 seconds left in the first half, OLB Ryan Kerrigan beat Pugh to the inside to sack Manning, who had to step up AFTER blitzing LB Trent Murphy ran around Jerry. The play left the Giants at the Redskins’ 40, although a 29-yard pass to Cruz allowed them to salvage a field goal for a 24-7 advantage.
Defense: OLB Mark Herzlich — The Redskins momentarily got a shot in the arm when they opened the third quarter with a five-play, 83-yard TD drive. It included RB Roy Helu’s 36-yard catch from the left flat to the Giants’ 37 when Herzlich appeared to have a busted coverage. Two plays later, TE Logan Paulsen stood up Herzlich so that RB Alfred Morris could run inside the left edge and dart 20 yards for a TD that made it 24-14. To be fair, LG Josh LaRibeus sealed DE Jason Pierre-Paul and RT Trent Williams ran out LB Jameel McClain on the play to widen the hole for Morris.
Special Teams: Nat Berhe — The rookie safety was called for an illegal block above the waist that ruined Preston Parker’s 29-yard punt return and forced the Giants to start from their own 20 with a 7-0 edge and six minutes left in the first quarter. The penalty tilted the field, but the Redskins were unable to gather any momentum.
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