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Giants Get Must-Have Victory Over Redskins To Remain Alive In NFC East Title Race, Handing Out Game Balls To Justin Tuck, Eli Manning, Victor Cruz, Will Hill And More

Andre Browns scores one of his two touchdowns. (AP photo)
  By Brad Carroll  
The best part about this New York Giants team is they refuse to quit. Whether that's because they don't realize they are a long-shot to make the playoffs or they just want to play and win football games no matter the circumstances, it's a quality all winning football teams must have. The Giants proved it again Sunday night in a 24-17 victory over the Washington Redskins.

With the win the Giants keep their slim NFC East title hopes alive. At 5-7 the Giants will have to win out to even have the chance to take over first place in the division. The Eagles and Cowboys, which both won this week, sit at the top of the heap at 7-5. The Redskins, at 3-9, are eliminated from the playoff chase.

The Giants had everything working against Washington, a tremendous sign they could sweep the final four games on the schedule. Eli Manning and the offense finally got on track, with both the passing and running games getting the job done. After a slow start, Manning and the Giants outscored the Redskins 24-3. The defense had to get pressure on the quarterback, and for once this season, they actually did. Justin Tuck had four sacks and the Giants had five overall, harassing Robert Griffin III in the second half.

The Giants have a difficult remaining schedule, at San Diego, home to Seattle, at Detroit and home to Washington, but must win them all to have a chance. The Eagles are home to Detroit, at Minnesota, home to Chicago and at Dallas. The Cowboys are at Chicago, home to Green Bay, at Washington and home to Philadelphia. It won't be easy, but the Giants have do have a shot.

Here's a closer look into the Giants victory over the Redskins, including handing out Game Balls and Game Falls from the season-saving win.

Game Balls
Justin Tuck: The Giants needed someone to step up and put pressure on quarterback Robert Griffin III, especially considering Jason Pierre-Paul would miss the game with an injury. Tuck did that and then some. Tuck brought down RG3 in the backfield four times Sunday night, all in the second half. Griffin III had lit up the Giants in the first half, but he was a non-factor in the second half, thanks mainly to the pressure supplied by Tuck. He had just 2.5 sacks coming into the game and pumped that up to 6.5 just like that. He had four sacks all of last season. Tuck is a free agent after the year and may have solidified a big deal in the offseason with this performance on national television.

Eli Manning: Finally, Manning had the game Giants fans have been waiting for. He wasn't perfect, and he did throw another interception, but Manning was at his best most of the game. He finished 22-of-28 for 235 yards and a touchdown. After the Redskins went up 14-0, Manning and the Giants outscored Washington 24-3 the rest of the way. He hit Victor Cruz just like he did when the offense was clicking. He spread the ball around as well, completing passes to seven different receivers. He even used tight end Brandon Myers to exploit the Redskins in the secondary, as he caught five passes for 61 yards and a touchdown. Manning had a quarterback rating of 98.7.

Victor Cruz: He had six receptions for 80 yards, including a big 22-yard grab that gave the Giants a first and goal from the one. Andre Brown pounded it in from there to give the Giants the lead early in the fourth quarter. Cruz has been the one consistent offensive threat for the Giants this season, but he was held to just two catches for 27 yards last week against Dallas. He was back Sunday night.

Brandon Myers: The Giants tight end is known more this season for not being able to bring in a high pass from Eli Manning in the fourth quarter against the Bears, which turned into an interception and a sixth straight loss. But Sunday night, he was contributing in positive ways. He had five receptions for 61 yards and a touchdown. The score was huge, coming with just 35 seconds to go in the first half on a 22-yard pass over the middle of the field. Myers was wide-open and was able to fall into the end zone after the catch.

Jon Beason: He continues to be the team's leader on defense and against Washington he racked up the tackles, picking up 17 in all and 13 solo. It's no secret the Giants defense has done a complete turnaround since Beason came over to the team after a trade with Carolina.

Will Hill: He had five tackles, four solo, against the Redskins, but it was his strip of the ball from Pierre Garcon that put an end to a wild finish. After Griffin III hit Garcon for a first down among tons of confusion due to the referees botching what down it was, Hill ripped the ball from the receiver and went running in the opposite direction to end the game. The play allowed the Giants to keep hope alive for a division title.

Game Falls
Will Beatty: The Giants left tackle allowed two sacks to Brian Orakpo, acting more like a turnstile rather than what should be the strongest player on the offensive line. He was also responsible for allowing pressure on Manning that led to his interception. Beatty just signed a big contract with the Giants, something the organization has to be regretting at this point in the season.

Hakeem Nicks: He was targeted just twice in the game, catching both for 34 yards. It's becoming more and more apparent Nicks' time with the Giants is down to the final four games.

The Officials: Not that the Giants will complain, but the officials absolutely blew that final drive by the Redskins, throwing the entire play calling out of whack. The officials moved the chains signaling a first down was converted as the Redskins were driving for what could have been the game-tying touchdown. But it actually wasn't a first down, but rather a third and one. Griffin III threw incomplete on a long pass down the middle of the field, a perfectly good chance to take considering it was first down. But after the play, the referees had the down marker on the sideline changed from what would have been second down to fourth down. The Redskins converted and the Giants later ended the game on Will Hill's forced fumble, but it was a horrible way to end what was a solid game. There needs to be greater punishment for bad officiating, otherwise horrible decisions like that will continue. But the Giants will gladly accept the help. Best yet, the fact we're putting the officials here instead of a Giant is a great sign from a great win.

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