Sep 25, 2014 10:58 PM
Manning, Giants lead Skins 31-14 after 3 quarters
The Associated Press
LANDOVER, Md. (AP) Eli Manning threw four short touchdown passes to tight ends including three to Larry Donnell in the first half and the New York Giants led the Washington Redskins 31-14 after three quarters Thursday night.
Manning's 5-yard TD throw to Donnell about 7 1/2 minutes into the game set up by one of Washington quarterback Kirk Cousin's four turnovers was the first time the Giants have scored in a first quarter this season.
Two-time Super Bowl MVP Manning, looking as if he's adjusting well to new offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo's system, connected with Donnell for a pair of 6-yard touchdown passes in the second quarter, one that came less than a minute into the period, and the other with 2:16 left.
Donnell, a second-year player with one career TD catch before Thursday, is the first Giants player with three scoring receptions in a half since Amani Toomer did it in December 2002 against Indianapolis, according to STATS.
Manning connected with Daniel Fells for a score from 2 yards out with a little less than 4 1/2 minutes remaining in the third quarter. That capped a 35-yard drive following Quintin Demps' interception of Cousins, starting a second consecutive game in place of injured Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III.
The NFC East rivals both entered the game at 1-2 and hoping not to fall too far behind the unbeaten Philadelphia Eagles in the division so early in the season.
But Cousins was intercepted three times in a five-pass span in the third quarter; he also fumbled while being sacked in the first quarter. He was 16 of 28 for 215 yards with one TD and that quartet of turnovers entering the fourth quarter.
Often operating without a huddle, Manning used a dink-and-dunk style to complete 27 of 37 passes for 285 yards, the four TDs and one interception heading into the fourth quarter. He completed 11 consecutive passes in one first-half stretch, and the incompletions bookending that run were both well-thrown passes that were dropped.
Even Manning's interception came on a play where his 6-yard pass was caught in the end zone by Rueben Randle. But a hit by Brandon Meriweather dislodged the ball, which popped in the air and was caught by linebacker Keenan Robinson.
Cousins went 16 of 28 for 215 yards, one TD pass, two interceptions and one fumble. Another Redskins drive stopped when tight end Logan Paulsen fumbled after catching a pass with about 75 seconds to go in the first half.
That one was recovered by cornerback Trumaine McBride at New York's 18, and the Giants drove 71 yards the other way for a 29-yard field goal by Josh Brown as time expired to make it 24-7 at halftime.
Shortly before Paulsen's fumble, Redskins tight end Niles Paul was ruled out for the rest of the game after getting a helmet-to-helmet hit at the end of a 28-yard catch. Safety Quintin Demps, starting in place of the benched Stevie Brown, was called for hitting a defenseless player, tacking on another 15 yards.
Paul stayed on his back on the ground for a couple of minutes, until being helped up. He wobbly walked, with assistance, toward the locker room.
Washington's only first-half score came on a 10-play, 80-yard drive finished by Cousins' 18-yard touchdown pass to Andre Roberts that made it 14-7 with less than 9 minutes left in the half.
Cousins was 6 for 7 for 68 yards on that drive, with five of those completions coming after Giants cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie limped off with a thigh injury. Rodgers-Cromartie, who appeared to hurt himself while making a tackle on fullback Darrel Young, was back in the game in the third quarter.
The Redskins got to 24-14 on Alfred Morris' 20-yard touchdown run on the second half's opening drive.
But the Redskins' next two possessions ended with interceptions, one by cornerback Prince Amukamara, the other by Demps, who started at safety in place of the benched Stevie Brown.