UPDATED 6:33 p.m.
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. Minutes after the Redskins completed their most complete victory of coach Mike Shanahans nearly two-year tenure and put a dent in a division rivals postseason hopes, defensive end Stephen Bowen seconded the theory floating around the locker room.
Where has this been?
An offense that makes plays on third down and is flawless in the red zone. A defense that produces turnovers and creates pressure on the quarterback. And special teams that have no debacles in the kicking game.
All of the components were in sync Sunday at 29-degree MetLife Stadium, where the Redskins posted a 23-10 win over the New York Giants.
If we play like this, I dont think anybody can beat us, Bowen said. We just have to be consistent. If we would have played like this all season, we would be talking about January.
January is for playoff talk, which the Redskins (5-9) wont be doing. But what was worth talking about is how the Redskins continue to play out the string with improved efficiency.
The Redskins, who hurt their draft stock by breaking a two-game losing streak, posted only their second road win over the Giants in 10 tries, and the margin of victory was the largest since the 50-21 game a dozen years ago.
The win was aided by winning the turnover ratio for the first time this year, thanks to a season-high three interceptions by the secondary (O.J. Atogwe, DeAngelo Hall and Josh Wilson).
We stepped up to the challenge today, said Hall, breaking his brief media protest. We knew this Giants offense is pretty good, and theyve got the stats to prove it. We matched up against them pretty good the first time, and we wanted to go out here and finish it up.
Finish being the operative word.
Leading 17-3 at halftime, the Redskins kept the accelerator floored. Hall intercepted Eli Manning, and Graham Gano kicked one of his three field goals to push the lead to 17 points.
The Giants lone touchdown came in garbage time (33 seconds remaining). They entered averaging 389 yards and 24 points per game.
Asked if it the best defensive performance of his Redskins regime, Shanahan said: Its right up there, especially if you take a look at the way theyve played. They had a lot at stake; obviously, we didnt, but I was pleased with the way the guys focused.
The Giants (7-7) controlled their NFC East fate, but after a third consecutive home loss, they trail Dallas (8-6) by a game.
I told the players that I just expected to see more, coach Tom Coughlin said. I expected to see quality, quality execution, and quite frankly, we didnt get much of that.
And neither did the Redskins early offensively. Rex Grossmans first a flea flicker and seventh passes were intercepted, both deep shots.
In between, he completed a third-and-12 play to Donte Stallworth (19 yards) to set up Ganos 36-yard field goal to start the scoring.
Were going to take chances to try and keep the defense off balance and hopefully open up some plays, Shanahan said of the interceptions. I was pleased with how they kept their poise and kept fighting back.
Third down was again important in the Redskins taking a 10-0 lead. Grossman threw 16 yards to Stallworth, to set up a fourth-and-one conversion; and on third-and-eight from the Giants' 20, Grossman lofted a perfectly thrown pass to Santana Moss for the touchdown.
Moss was part of a "bunch" set to the left side, and there was confusion in the Giants secondary from the snap.
It was nothing big, nothing extravagant just a corner route, Moss said. From that set, you have to find out who youre covering. That particular time, they probably didnt line up in the coverage they wanted. They covered the corner the other times.
The defense answered that with its first interception Atogwe snatched a deflected pass and returned it 26 yards to the Giants 41. Nine plays later, Darrel Young scored his first NFL rushing touchdown, a 6-yard run.
On the play, Young lined up at fullback, took a quick handoff and ran left. The Giants Jason Pierre-Paul extended both arms, but Young ran through the tackle because Pierre-Paul still had his eyes in the backfield. Next up at the goal line was safety Antrel Rolle.
I saw the safety, and I was like, This is the goal line, I cant let him stop me here, Young said.
It was 17-0 Redskins, the boos started and the defense held onto the lead.
Of the Giants 11 drives, five lasted fewer than five plays and they had four punts, three turnovers and a missed field goal. Manning posted a miserable 45.5 passer rating.
We didnt get any balls downfield, he said.
The Redskins now have a short week to prepare for a reeling Minnesota team intent on breaking a five-game home losing streak.
Im just happy that we dominated a team in the division, Bowen said, and about how were playing.
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