The Washington Redskins dominated in the second quarter Sunday vs. the Giants, outscoring their division rival 17-0 and taking control from there at FedExField.
After a scoreless first quarter between the Washington Redskins and the New York Giants, Sunday's game at FedExField certainly had the makings of one of those classic, down-to-the-wire NFC East divisional battles.
Check out these top photos from the Washington Redskins' 2015 Week 12 matchup against the New York Giants Nov. 29, 2015, at FedExField.
But don't let the score after the first 15 minutes of play fool you: the Redskins , led by their defense, dominated the first quarter on Sunday, highlighted by two Washington interceptions.
So the Redskins' offense decided to get in on the party in the second quarter, and by halftime, Washington had built a 17-0 lead in front of its home fans.
It would ultimately be all the Redskins would need in a 20-14 victory over the Giants, a win that puts Washington (5-6) in a tie for first place with New York in the NFC East.
"We knew it was going to be a battle and knew what was at stake for us," said right tackle Morgan Moses, who helped limit the Giants to zero sacks on Sunday. "We felt like it was going to start in the trenches, and we played a hell of a game."
Had the Redskins' offense been able to capitalize on two Giants turnovers in the first quarter, then Sunday's game likely would've been a blowout by halftime.
The first came via interception by linebacker Perry Riley Jr., who jumped on an opportunity to pick off an Eli Manning pass that bounced off running back Shane Vereen's hands.
It was Riley Jr.'s second interception of the season, and the third of the LSU product's career.
But the Redskins would go three-and-out on the ensuing drive.
The defense came up huge again on the Giants' very next drive, as Will Blackmon showed off his focus after a Manning pass bounced off of him and into the hands of New York wide receiver Dwayne Harris, who took a huge hit from safety Kyshoen Jarrett, jarring the football back into the air and into Blackmon's waiting hands.
The play was Blackmon's second-career pick and first with the Redskins.
But Washington would see a 51-yard field goal attempt blocked on its ensuing drive, ruining yet another opportunity to take an early lead.
The second quarter was a much different story, however. The Redskins' defense would continue its dominating ways – forcing four Giants punts in the period – and their offense came alive.
First, Hopkins got to avenge the blocked field goal by converting a 41-yard kick with 12:28 left. 3-0 Redskins.
Then, after a key third-down sack by Ryan Kerrigan on the ensuing New York drive, Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins struck gold on their very next play from scrimmage, finding DeSean Jackson wide open over the top for a 63-yard touchdown.
After the extra point, it was 10-0 Redskins with 10:29 remaining in the first half.
"We did a little hurry-up," Cousins said. "DeSean won his matchup and got behind the safety. I was able to lead him across the field. I had a great pocket, he made the catch. He made the play. It was his ability to get behind the defense with his speed and then track the football in the air that's so special."
A little more than eight minutes later, Washington had the ball deep in New York territory, trying to further establish the momentum just before halftime.
With 1:55 left, Cousins found wide receiver Jamison Crowder for what was originally ruled a four-yard touchdown, but a review by the officials determined Crowder's knee was down at the half-yard line.
Facing a 4th and Goal from that half-yard line, head coach Jay Gruden elected to go for the score. Cousins, lined up under center, took the snap and spun himself into the air, barely getting the tip of the ball to break the plane of the goal line and earning his third rushing touchdown of the season.
A review of this play would confirm the ruling on the field.
17-0 Redskins, 1:50 left in the second quarter.
"DeSean had a big hit on a nice play-action pass; our defense was flying all over the place, which I love to see that," Gruden said of his team's play in the second quarter. "'Cause I know, come late in the season, that's the meal ticket right there. Playing good defense, rushing the pass, covering the receivers and flying around to the football – that's what I was impressed with."
Washington, which got another field goal in the fourth quarter, would ultimately need every bit of those 17 second-quarter points, as Manning connected with Reuben Randle and Odell Beckham Jr. for two fourth-quarter touchdowns.
But the Giants' final drive with 19 seconds left resulted in a fumble out of bounds on New York's final desperate play of the game, giving Washington the much-needed home victory.
The Redskins head into December atop their division, with a big *Monday Night Football * matchup against a struggling Dallas Cowboys team next up on the horizon.
"It is great to be in December and play in and for something," Cousins said. "We have a big one coming up. The nature of winning is that it just creates bigger games up ahead. We're excited about what we did today, but there is a long ways to go and a lot of football to be played, and we will be the first ones to tell you that."