The New York Giants returned to their imposing early-season form and flattened the Washington Redskins 45-12 in Landover, keeping alive their fragile hopes for a wildcard berth into the playoffs.
|Bradshaw celebrates after scoring on a three-yard touchdown in the first quarter [GALLO/GETTY]
Eli Manning completed 19 of 26 passes for 268 yards and three touchdowns, and Ahmad Bradshaw ran for two scores for the Giants, who have eight wins and six losses and are one game behind Dallas and Green Bay in the battle for wild-card spots with two weeks remaining in the regular NFL season.
A loss would have left New York with only the faintest of playoff hopes.
On the attack
"It was important to get off fast and set the tempo," said Manning, who has thrown for a career-high 26 touchdowns this season.
"We set the mood for the night very early."
Washington (4-10) lost to the Giants for the seventh time in their last eight meetings, falling behind 24-0 at the half amid a slew of defensive coverage lapses and poor tackling.
At one point in the second quarter, the Giants 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 4½.
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.
Redskins quarterback Jason Campbell completed 15 of 28 passes for 192 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions. But much of his success came with the outcome already decided.
Campbell was on the run all night trying to elude the Giants' pass rushers. Much of the 78,000-strong crowd voiced their displeasure with Washington's sputtering offence.
"Everyone was booing but there was nothing open," said Campbell.
"There was nothing we could do about it. They were bringing the rush and you get hit."
"There was nothing we could do about it. They were bringing the rush and you get hit"
Ahmad Bradshaw rushed for 61 yards and two touchdowns on just nine carries for New York, who opened the year with five consecutive wins but then lost six of their next eight.
"We came in and dominated on all sides - offence, defence and special teams," said Giants tight end Kevin Boss.
"It gave us confidence going into this final stretch of the season. We're going to be a scary team if we get in (to the playoffs)."
The Redskins were playing their first game under new general manager Bruce Allen, who was hired last week to replace the fired Vinny Cerrato.
"I've got nothing to try and gloss over," said Redskins coach Jim Zorn, whose job is widely believed to be in jeopardy.
"It was a pretty bad game and it's frustrating for me.
"It got away from us early. We're still searching for that fifth win and I can say it still hurts."
Bradshaw said the Giants were determined to return to their early season form, when they looked the best team in the NFC.
"We want to be back playing at that calibre," he said.
"This was a must-win. We needed this one. It feels great."
The Redskins had to remove tons of snow from the stadium and their parking lots just so the game could be played.