Giants hammer Redskins for key win

This was how the New York Giants played when they were starting

5-0, back when they looked like a solid Super Bowl contender.

The dominant version of the Giants showed itself again Monday

night, only this time as a desperate team clinging to its playoff

hopes.

The Giants controlled every facet of the game in a 45-12 rout

that wasn’t as close as even that margin of victory would indicate,

embarrassing a Washington Redskins coach and team that failed

miserably in an attempt to make a good first impression for its new

general manager.

“We felt we can play at that caliber that we were playing at

the beginning of the year,” said Ahmad Bradshaw, who ran for two

first-half touchdowns. “We came out fired up. This was a must-win.

I told everybody before we went out: ‘I need the whole team to come

with us.’ And that’s how we played – together.”

The Giants (8-6) don’t control their destiny, but they moved

one game behind Dallas and Green Bay in the race for wild-card

spots with two weeks remaining in the regular season. A loss would

have left New York with only the faintest of postseason hopes.

“We were the team that had more at stake, obviously – and

played that way,” New York coach Tom Coughlin said. “We always talk

about being the team that demonstrates greater purpose. And we

did.”

In theory, the Redskins (4-10) should have had a great

purpose – a desire to put on a good show for Bruce Allen, hired on

Thursday in a major front office shake-up. Instead, they did a good

job of showing Allen that maybe everyone ought to be fired.

“You’ve got a new boss to impress,” cornerback DeAngelo Hall

said. “This is an audition. These last couple of games is an

audition. Bruce Allen pretty much got a head start on evaluating

talent. If he looks at what he saw today, he’ll scrap this whole

thing.”

Redskins coach Jim Zorn didn’t do much to help whatever slim

chances he had of returning next season. Defensive tackle Albert

Haynesworth sounded ready to cast a vote for someone else.

“I don’t think really this team is that bad. The players

ain’t that bad,” said Haynesworth, who drew a personal foul for

throwing a haymaker at Brandon Jacobs in the fourth quarter. “The

score, the record, (they) say that we’re horrible, that we don’t

know how to play football. But I’ve been around these guys a lot

and I think they know how to play football. I think we’re just all

going in different directions, and we need somebody to lead us in

the right direction.”

Eli Manning played seven possessions before taking an early

seat in the fourth quarter. New York scored on six of them. He

completed 19 of 26 passes for 268 yards and three touchdowns. His

26 scoring passes this season are a career high.

The Giants marched downfield at will to take a 24-0 halftime

lead. At one point in the second quarter, they held a 226 to

minus-2 advantage in total yards, a 16-0 dominance in first downs,

and the time of possession gap was roughly 21 minutes to 4 1/2. The

Redskins went three-and-out on their first three possessions,

finally got a first down on the fourth, then tried to pull a

ridiculous-looking fake field goal on the fifth – a play that

produced a Giants interception to end the half.

Even when the Redskins scored their first touchdown – with

the game already out of reach in the third quarter – the Giants

blocked the extra point.

The Giants defense, with its habit of giving up big plays,

had largely been the culprit as the team lost six of eight games to

waste the 5-0 start. The unit was stout, however, against the

Redskins – even with defensive backs Corey Webster and Aaron Ross

inactive with injuries.

“They came out ready, and played awesome,” Manning said.

“They kept giving us the ball and we kept going down and scoring.

We just set the mood for the night very early.”

Terrell Thomas got his fifth interception of the season and

turned it into his first NFL touchdown with a 14-yard runback. Osi

Umenyiora temporarily forced Jason Campbell out of the game late in

the first half with one of five sacks by five players. Campbell

sprained a shoulder on the play but returned to start the second

half.

Bradshaw had touchdown runs of 3 and 4 yards and was greeted

both times with snowballs thrown from the stands. The Redskins had

to remove an estimated 25 million pounds of snow from the stadium

and their parking lots just so the game could be played two days

after a historic East Coast storm.

The Giants took the opening kickoff and drove 80 yards in 16

plays. The second drive was 63 yards in 11 plays.

The holes were there even though the offensive line was a

patchwork job. Right tackle Kareem McKenzie missed the game with a

left knee injury, so rookie Will Beatty got the start. Left guard

Rich Seubert limped off with a right knee injury after Bradshaw’s

first touchdown run; he was replaced by Kevin Boothe.

“We ascended tonight,” Coughlin said, “and we have to

continue to do that.”

Notes: The Giants converted their first seven

third-down plays and went 11 for 15 for the game. … Injuries: New

York WR Hakeem Nicks (hamstring), Washington WR Devin Thomas

(sprained ankle).