Redskins hurt Giants playoff bid with 23-10 win

If only the Redskins could play the Giants every week.

That's what Washington's players were thinking Sunday after upsetting the Giants 23-10, damaging New York's playoff chances and sweeping the season series.

Washington dominated almost from the outset, even though Rex Grossman threw two long interceptions in the first quarter. The Redskins (5-9) pretty much settled matters by taking a 17-3 halftime lead, holding the Giants (7-7) to 111 yards and 9:34 with the ball.

Their defense didn't let up all day, dropping New York a game behind Dallas in the NFC East. If the Giants fail to win the division, they can look directly at the Skins for the main reason.

"I think everybody really concentrated on their job," coach Mike Shanahan said. "I thought collectively to play the way we did, you have to have everybody doing their job and being focused. We had some nice interceptions, we had some good pressure. You have to do that against a guy like Eli."

That would be Giants quarterback Eli Manning, who's having a career year even as the Giants have gone from 6-2 to a .500 team needing to win out to win the division. Manning wound up throwing three interceptions, was sacked three times and harassed much of the game.

"This is very gratifying to play so well from the beginning, especially against a quality team like the Giants that is fighting for something," linebacker Brian Orakpo said. "They know us and we know them; we have a great book on them."

If it was a novel, no one would bother with it because of the plot's predictability. Washington's 28-14 victory to open the season was just as lopsided.

But this book is extremely satisfying to defensive tackle Barry Cofield, who spent his first five NFL seasons with the Giants before leaving this year as a free agent.

"This is a great feeling for me," Cofield said. "I thanked the guys for how they played, but all week I have been saying this is not about me. I didn't want to answer the questions about the Giants. I wanted the focus on the team.

"I know if we play like this all the time, we can do some great things."

That's not quite how this season has gone, with the Skins losing their other three NFC East games. Washington is the only division team out of the playoff race.

Rex Grossman threw a touchdown pass to Santana Moss, Jabar Gaffney had six catches for 85 yards and seemingly was open all game, handing the Giants their fifth loss in six games. As in the last two years, with the playoffs in their grasp, they came out flat against the Redskins.

Even a couple of gift interceptions by Grossman in the first quarter didn't help.

Graham Gano gave Washington the lead on its second series with a 36-yard field goal. Grossman, who finished 15 of 24 for 185 yards, pushed the lead to 10-0 early in the second quarter with his 20-yard TD pass to a wide-open Moss on third-and-8.

If the touchdown had the fans muttering, there was no hiding their feelings minutes later after Oshiomogho Atogwe intercepted a pass that deflected off the hands of running back D.J. Ware and returned it 26 yards to the Giants 41. Nine plays later, Darrel Young scored and the fans let the team know it was sick of being let down.

Manning, who finished 23 of 40 for 257 yards, finally got the Giants on the board just before halftime, setting up Lawrence Tynes for a 40-yard field goal.

Instead of gaining momentum, the Giants gave the points right back. DeAngelo Hall made a one-handed interception on the second offensive play of the third quarter. His 26-yard return set up Gano's 43-yard field goal for a 20-3 lead.

"We made plays, all of us, as a defense," Hall said.

After Tynes missed a 44-yarder on the next series, Gano opened the fourth quarter with a 25-yarder to make it 23-3.

Ahmad Bradshaw scored on a 3-yard run with 33 seconds to play.

The Giants were their own worst enemy. Hakeem Nicks dropped what might have been a 54-yard scoring play on their second series. He got behind the defense and had the pass hit off his facemask as he looked back into the sun.

That's the way the day was for the Giants, who had only a few faithful fans in the stadium when they scored their touchdown.

"With all the close games we had, we just couldn't finish, that was our whole problem," Orakpo said after slapping hands with several Redskins fans at the end of the rout. "It felt so good. It always happens to us at the end that our fans leave because the game is out of hand. This is the first time we were able to do that in somebody else's stadium."


AP Sports Writer Tom Canavan contributed to this story.