In an offensive display long-awaited in Washington, the Redskins defeated the New York Giants 31-7 on Sunday at FedExField. Running back Clinton Portis rushed for 148 yards and scored two touchdowns in the first half, while quarterback Patrick Ramsey had his best game this season, completing 19-of-22 passes and throwing for three touchdowns.
And it was business as usual for the Redskins' defense, which limited New York's offense to just 145 total yards and 38 rushing yards. Rookie quarterback Eli Manning struggled, completing just 12-of-25 passes for 113 yards. The defense pitched a shutout, with the Giants' only points coming in the third quarter on Derrick Ward's 92-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.
But given the Redskins' struggles on offense most of the season, this was a day to celebrate the offensive output.
"I'm extremely proud of our guys for everything that has happened to us all year," head coach Joe Gibbs said. "There are so many guys hurt and so many guys injured. I'm very proud of them."
Regarding the offense, Gibbs said: "We had playmakers making plays. We've been missing plays all year. Clinton had a big day. I could tell he would because all week he was asking for the ball. After a couple of weeks of us not doing well in the running game, he felt the need to produce. Our receivers made some great catches. A lot of things that haven't gone well for us this season went well for us today."
It was the first time this season that the Redskins had score more than 20 points in a game.
Said Portis: "This offense can produce week-in and week-out. This week we were able to stick to our game plan, pound away with a play-action pass here and there. Guys made plays. We knew this offense can produce."
It couldn't have been a better start for the Redskins. Washington scored on its opening possession, with Portis's 1-yard run capping a 13-play, 93-yard drive. Gibbs elected to have Ramsey hand off to Portis on the offense's first five plays. Portis would go on to carry seven times--one more than his total rushing attempts in last week's game against Pittsburgh--for 49 yards on the drive.
Ramsey was perfect on the drive, connecting with Laveranues Coles twice and going 4-4 overall for 32 yards. After a Ramsey pass to Brian Kozlowski gave the offense a 1st-and-goal at the 1-yard line, Portis followed a block from fullback Mike Sellers and dove across the left side of the goal line for the early 7-0 lead.
The Redskins took a 14-0 lead early in the second quarter, with Portis scoring his second touchdown of the game on a 4-yard shovel pass from Ramsey.
Once again, the Redskins employed a heavy dose of Portis on the 10-play, 91-yard drive. The third-year tailback had a 19-yard gain on the drive's first play, breaking loose after he appeared to be stopped at the line of scrimmage. Portis eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark for the season on the play.
The offense continued to mix in the pass as well. Ramsey connected with James Thrash on a 13-yarder and Rod Gardner on a 16-yarder to set up the offense with a 1st-and-goal at the Giants' 4-yard line. Ramsey and Portis did the rest.
Meantime, the Redskins' defense dominated in the first half, forcing consecutive 3-and-outs on the Giants' first two drives and limiting the offense to just 57 yards and three first downs. Rookie quarterback Eli Manning was sacked by defensive end Phillip Daniels to end the Giants' first drive. Daniels would later leave the game with a dislocated left wrist.
Late in the first half, the Redskins' special teams contributed a key play when Walt Harris blitzed through the line and blocked a punt by the Giants' Jeff Feagles.
The Redskins took over at the Giants' 31-yard line and quickly drove downfield on the running of Portis and a Ramsey pass to Coles. On second down at the Giants' 5-yard line, Ramsey rolled right and spotted tight end Robert Royal crossing the end zone. Ramsey threw a dart to Royal, who caught his first NFL touchdown on the play.
In the third quarter, John Hall connected on a 46-yard field goal to put the Redskins ahead by a score of 24-0. Ward's 92-yard return for a touchdown on the ensuing kickoff was the only negative on a day when everything seemed to go Washington's way.
The Redskins went ahead 31-7 in the fourth quarter when Ramsey connected with H-back Chris Cooley on a 6-yard touchdown pass. The score capped a 14-play, 72-yard drive and included more solid running by Portis.
In total, the Redskins rushed for 211 yards, with Ladell Betts adding 64 yards on 11 carries.
"We needed it," right tackle Ray Brown said. "We established the running and also some credibility around here. We've been losing too many football games by not carrying our load."
Added defensive end Renaldo Wynn: "It all clicked today on all cylinders. It couldn't have worked out better, against a division opponent, and here at home for our fans. It's a great start for the next four games, because we want to get on a winning streak. It all clicked tonight. I take my hat off to the offense."