This wasn't a game in which he played like the old Justin Tuck. No, this was a game in which he played better.
The veteran defensive end racked up a career-high four sacks against the Redskins, all in the second half, to help the Giants capture a 24-17 victory Sunday night at FedEx Field. Tuck entered the game with 21/2 sacks this season, but during one span of four snaps in the third quarter, he came up with three more.
In a season of almosts for Tuck, he finally was able to land his prey. And he did it while playing nearly every snap of the game because the Giants were without Jason Pierre-Paul.
"It's a big feat, obviously, but the more important thing is we got the win," Tuck said.
For the rest of the Giants, it was a joy to watch Tuck at work.
"That was fun to see," Eli Manning said.
"I'm happy he had the breakout game," Mathias Kiwanuka said. "I've played with him for eight years. He goes out and performs week in and week out whether people are talking good about him or talking bad about him. I just respect his approach to the game and how he can come back and perform like that. It's good to see him get some credit, finally, for everything he's doing."
Tuck, who usually does not address his critics, had a message for them afterward.
"Hopefully they see that I can play the game at a high level," he said.
There has been talk that Tuck, in the last year of his contract, soon might be a former Giant. He hasn't focused much on that situation this year.
"The one thing I can control is how I play," he said. "I really can't control anything other than that. For me, everyone knows I'm a New York Giant through and through. People ask me: Do you want to be back here next year? That's a stupid question. Obviously I do."
And he played that way Sunday night.