Eli Manning, Justin Tuck lift Giants over Redskins
LANDOVER, Md. -- Justin Tuck summed up the mood of the Giants when they fell behind by 14 points Sunday night with a guttural sound of disgust that has emerged from the team and its fans all too often this season.
"You're kind of like, blech," he said, capturing the situation more phonetically than with an actual word.
It's undoubtedly how the Giants felt when they were 0-6, too. And it might have been too civilized a grunt to capture their disappointment after last week's loss to the Cowboys.
But the Giants were able to overcome their early deficit in this game, rallying for a 24-17 win over the Redskins at FedEx Field.
"I don't think we could have quit," Tuck said. "I don't think we have quit in us.''
What a rousing victory this would have been. A second-half comeback led by old reliables Eli Manning and Tuck against a division rival. It's the type of win that might have carried the Giants into the last month of the season riding a wave of momentum and enthusiasm.
Too bad the time for statement wins and stretch runs has all but passed. The Giants' victory at FedEx Field came a week after their season effectively ended. They missed the big Thanksgiving spread because of last week's loss to Dallas; all that remains are the kind of leftover scraps they feasted on Sunday night.
"I'm happy to win, that's for sure," Tom Coughlin said, eschewing the dire circumstances for the moment. "They truly did show what they're made of."
The Redskins (3-9) were eliminated from playoff consideration. The Giants (5-7) remain alive, but even with the victory, their chances were diminished because of Week 13 wins by the Cowboys and Eagles. Those two teams are tied for first at 7-5.
"You can't go back and look at the past and say we wish we could have done this or done that," said running back Andre Brown, who scored two touchdowns, including the go-ahead score 34 seconds into the fourth quarter. "We put ourselves in the situation where we're at, and now we just have to go out there to continue to win football games and hope for a miracle."
For the record: The Giants will win the NFC East title if they win their last four games and the Eagles and Cowboys both lose three of their last four. Increasing the level of difficulty of the maneuver: The Eagles and Cowboys face each other in the regular-season finale.
After falling behind by two touchdowns and watching Robert Griffin III complete his first 12 passes, the Giants finally grabbed a bit of momentum. Brown scored on a 23-yard run, and after Tuck and Linval Joseph combined to stop Evan Royster on a third-and-1 run from the Redskins' 37 and force a punt, the Giants went into hurry-up mode. Manning found a wide-open Brandon Myers on a play-action pass for a 22-yard touchdown with 35 seconds left in the half.
An interception by Manning in the third quarter, his 18th of the season and the team's 31st turnover, could have given control back to the Redskins, who began the ensuing drive at the Giants' 12. But the defense held Washington to a field goal and a 17-14 lead.
The Redskins scuttled a snap on a punt attempt late in the third quarter that Sav Rocca picked up and kicked, but not without Damontre Moore deflecting it, and the Giants took over at the Redskins' 46. Manning completed three straight passes, including a 19-yarder to Victor Cruz from the 20 that preceded a 1-yard touchdown run by Brown. That gave the Giants a 21-17 lead with 14:26 left.
They tacked on a late field goal and sealed the win when Will Hill stripped the ball from Pierre Garçon with 1:21 left on a play in which Garçon had caught a pass and converted a fourth-and-1.
Coughlin said it was "too early" to be concerned when the Giants fell behind 14-0, and they showed that they will not be quitting on the season's final stanza. But it may be too late for them to have a comeback to the season similar to the one they executed against the Redskins. That won't stop the Giants from believing it can happen, though.
"I wouldn't be playing if I didn't think it," Tuck said. "Obviously, Philly and Dallas are playing pretty good right now, but you never know what's going to happen."