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Giants keeps playoff hopes alive

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By The Associated Press
Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2009

LANDOVER, Md. -- Playing for their playoff lives, Eli Manning and the New York Giants were efficient, focused and dominant.

Playing for their new general manager, the Washington Redskins did a good job of convincing the boss that maybe everyone ought to be fired.

The Giants kept themselves in the postseason hunt Monday night with one of the most lopsided victories in the long, storied series against their NFC East rival. New York scored on six of its first seven possessions and controlled every facet of the game in a 45-12 win that wasn't as close as even that margin of victory would indicate.

Manning completed 19 of 26 passes for 268 yards and three touchdowns, and Ahmad Bradshaw ran for two scores for the Giants (8-6), who are one game behind Dallas and Green Bay in the battle for wild-card spots with two weeks remaining in the regular season. A loss would have left New York with only the faintest of playoff hopes.

The Giants marched downfield at will to take a 24-0 halftime lead. At one point in the second quarter, they 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 4.5. The Redskins (4-10) 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.

Even when the Redskins scored their first touchdown -- with the game already out of reach in the third quarter -- the Giants blocked the extra point.

The Giants defense, with its habit of giving up big-yardage plays, had largely been the culprit as the team lost six of eight games to waste a 5-0 start. The unit was stout, however, against the Redskins -- even with defensive backs Corey Webster and Aaron Ross inactive with injuries.

Terrell Thomas got his fifth interception of the season and turned it into his first NFL touchdown with a 14-yard runback. Osi Umenyiora temporarily forced Jason Campbell out of the game with one of five sacks by different players. Campbell sprained a shoulder on the play, which occurred in the final minute of the first half, but he returned to start the second half.

Bradshaw had touchdown runs of 3 and 4 yards in the first half and was greeted both times with snowballs thrown from the stands. The Redskins had to remove an estimated 25 million pounds of snow from the stadium and their parking lots just so the game could be played two days after a historic East Coast storm.

Getting his first tour of the stadium earlier in the day was Bruce Allen, hired on Thursday as the Redskins' general manager in a front-office shake-up that included the ouster of longtime front-office chief Vinny Cerrato. Allen is using the final three games of the season to evaluate his new team, and coach Jim Zorn didn't do much to help whatever slim chances he had of returning next season.

The Giants set the tone by taking the opening kickoff and driving 80 yards for a touchdown in a 16-play drive that took 9:13. The second drive was 63 yards in 11 plays over 5 minutes.

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