The Giants won, so smile.
The organization gladly put the last two weeks in the rearview mirror and finished off a 32 -21 victory over Washington on Thursday night at MetLife Stadium. The Giants led for all but 2 minutes and 13 seconds in the game, but like coach Tom Coughlin preached in the team meeting the night before, they weren't going to leave any gas in the tank in the fourth quarter.
Outscored 28-10 in the final 15 minutes of their two losses, the Giants kept the foot on the pedal with two long touchdowns down the stretch to pull away from the Redskins.
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"I'm not saying our games were anything to write home about," Coughlin said. "But, in truth, we could have won two games coming into this one tonight and players need the reinforcement, the confidence that comes from pushing a thing through to a win. I'm hoping that helps in the locker room."
THE GAME WAS OVER WHEN
Randle juggled a deep pass from Eli Manning for a 41-yard touchdown with 3:21 remaining in the game. Randle's first score of the year put the Giants ahead 32-14 at the time, and the Giants needed all the buffer room they could get as the Redskins returned the ensuing kickoff 101 yards for a touchdown. Earlier in the fourth quarter, fellow receiver Odell Beckham Jr. hauled in a 30-yard touchdown to make it 25-6 at the time.
"I think that helped our team breathe a little bit more," cornerback Prince Amukamara said of Beckham's score. "Then when Randle scored, I think we got to exhale more because of that."
Five standout performers in the Giants Thursday night matchup vs. Washington
On offense, the man of the night was Randle, who finished with seven receptions for 116 yards and the score. Randle entered the game with just four catches for 28 yards. Talking throughout the week about getting Randle involved, Coughlin had a feeling he was set for a big game.
"It was frustrating at times, but I don't think it was hard for me to keep my spirits up," Randle said. "It's a long season. My job is to stick with it no matter what the situation may be and make a play."
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On defense, there were plenty to choose from as the Giants held the NFL's No. 1 rushing attack to 88 yards, 26 of which came on the final snap with the game out of reach. But it's hard to deny cornerback Prince Amukamara, whose first-quarter interception led to a touchdown and a quick 9-0 lead for the Giants. The fifth-year cornerback finished with eight tackles (six solo), three passes defensed and the pick.
"I do think that Prince, on his behalf, I think he studied well, I think he knew he had some kind of tip," Coughlin said. "He knew that was coming. He really drove hard on the ball as good as I've seen him this fall and he really made a nice play and gave us outstanding field position. We did score on the drive."
WHAT THE WIN MEANS FOR THE GIANTS
They can exhale. For now. After losing in heartbreaking fashion in the first two weeks, the Giants broke into the win column and notched their fifth consecutive victory over Washington, which included another Thursday night game last season. With players like left tackle Ereck Flowers (ankle) and cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (concussion) unable to play on the quick turnaround, the Giants will have an extended break on the backend with 10 days before facing Buffalo on the road in Week 4.
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"I think it's great for our team," Amukamara said. "I think it's something that we can build off of. You definitely don't want to be here in New York especially, and keep having that goose egg—it's 0-1, then 0-2, then you end the only team with no wins. You just don't want that type of energy or that atmosphere here. I'm glad we got the win out of the way and we can focus on winning more."
WHAT THE LOSS MEANS FOR THE REDSKINS
After coming into MetLife Stadium with the momentum of a 24-10 victory over St. Louis, Washington dropped to 1-2 and will use the extended time to regroup before hosting Philadelphia in Week 4. But first, the Eagles will look for their first win this Sunday at MetLife Stadium against the Jets.