Here's five takeaways from the Washington Redskins' Week 12 game against the New York Giants that took place at FedExField in Landover, Md.
1. On a night when points were hard to come by, the Redskins' defense clamped down to thwart the Giants.After giving up more than 30 points against both the Minnesota Vikings and New Orleans Saints, the Redskins on Thursday night completely shut down the Giants in a 20-10 victory.
In total, the Redskins allowed just 170 total yards as New York's offense didn't come close to sniffing the end zone.
"It's something we said we wanted to do in the short week that we had," said safety D.J. Swearinger of the defense's performance "I think guys did a great job of mentally preparing and staying focused and playing the full 60 minutes. We did a great job.
Where the Redskins were particularly stout was against Eli Manning and his weapons, as the future Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback was held to just 113 passing yards with a completion percentage less than 50 percent.
"Really I was really glad to see our defensive line putting pressure on Eli Manning," said cornerback Bashaud Breeland. "Quick game, passing like that, he gets the ball out quickly. You don't really see too many people getting sacks and pressure and they did an excellent job, they made it really clear for us on the back end."
While the Giants remained within striking distance late in the fourth quarter, a pair of turnovers shut the door on any sort of comeback story this time.
First, linebacker Junior Galette took down Manning for a sack on third down before cornerback Jonathan Allen logged his fourth interception of the season in the final minute.
It was his first full-sack since recovering from two different torn Achilles.
"It takes repetition," Galette said. "As much as I do in practice every day, it takes repetition in real-life, game, you know, to get that rhythm. I try to tell people it's not basketball. I'm not Robert Horry, I can't come off the bench and hit a game-winner after being frozen, so it's a rhythm thing and the coaches understand that."
2. The model of consistency, Ryan Kerrigan entered rare company on Thursday night.
Kerrigan may not get the national attention some of his peers around the league receiver, the 2011 first-round pick is among the most consistent pass rushers in the league.
Entering Thursday night's game, Kerrigan had seven sacks through 10 games. In the first quarter, though, Kerrigan added two sacks to his season total.
In the process, he became just the fifth player to log 7.5 sacks in each of the first seven seasons of a career since the NFL adopted sacks as an official statistic in 1982, joining Jared Allen, Derrick Thomas, DeMarcus Ware and Reggie White.
"That's pretty cool, pretty cool and obviously some pretty cool names, those are some pretty good pass rushers," Kerrigan said. "And [to] have that company in some way is pretty cool."
Kerrigan now sits tied for the sixth most sacks in the NFL right now, three off the league lead. His continued efforts day in and day out don't go unnoticed by Gruden.
"You're just so impressed with not only what he is as a football player but as a person and how he conducts himself on and off the field," Gruden said. "He's always available, he's practicing every day, he's playing hard every day, he consistently has a high motor every week and, you know, he's just a great captain, great leader – not a captain, but a great role model for these young guys coming up and preparing themselves to be great NFL players – you can't have enough Ryan Kerrigans on your team."
3. Jamison Crowder broke through with his biggest performance on the season to date.With Chris Thompson sidelined for the remainder of the season following a broken fibula suffered against the Saints, the Redskins needed one of their other weapons to step up in the passing game.
In stepped Crowder on Thursday.
While Crowder's been quiet this season in comparison to his first two years in Washington, the Duke product had his best performance of the season against New York, catching seven passes for 141 yards.
He also logged his first touchdown of the season in the third quarter, floating in the back of the end zone just long enough to get to open space to secure a 15-yard score.
"It felt great," Crowder said with a smile. "It took long enough. You know, I'm just thankful to get in the end zone today."
Crowder's touchdown reception capped off a six-play, 50-yard drive after six of Washington's first seven possessions ended with either a Tress Way punt or turnover on downs.
"It's very important," Crowder said of the extended drive. "You look at a lot of games in this league, in the red zone, a lot of plays aren't made on script. A lot of guys, they get outside the pocket, they score on scramble plays. It feels good to be able to get in the end zone on a scramble play, because that's how a lot of plays kind of shake out in this league."
4. Needing a strong running presence, Samaje Perine was "outstanding."
For the second week in a row, the Redskins got a 100-yard rushing performance out of the rookie back.
Check out these photos of the Redskins' postgame celebration after beating the New York Giants.
Against a Giants defense that allows more than 120 rushing yards per contest, Perine paced a Redskins ground game that collected 122 yards total.
The Oklahoma product finished the game with 100 yards on the dot on 24 carries. Ninety-seven of his yards came in the second half, though, as Gruden didn't lose faith in Perine's ability to get the job done.
"We needed to stick with it," Gruden said of the running game. "We couldn't throw the ball every down against these guys. They gave you multiple fronts. They've got [Jason] Pierre-Paul, Olivier Vernon, they've got a good pass rush, a good blitz scheme. We had to get the running game going today."
Thursday's outing also marked the first time a Redskins running back recorded back-to-back 100-yard games since Alfred Morris did so in Weeks 9-10 during the 2013 season. Additionally, Perine was the first Redskins rookie with back-to-back 100-yard games since Morris during the 2012 season.
"His vision was really good today," Gruden said. "He had some outside zone hits. He stuck his foot in the ground. He was very decisive with his cuts today. They're not all going to be there. Not all pretty. I tell you what, he ran hard today and had great vision, exception of a couple loss-of-yardage plays and a holding call. He had a great game. Great game."
5. Despite having another new starting offensive line, the group held strong against the Giants.
While it was already known that Washington was going to be without two starters and rookie center Chase Roullier along the offensive line for the NFC East tilt, Pro Bowl tackle Trent Williams was also among the seven inactives as he continues to deal with a knee injury.
On Thursday night, the Redskins had Ty Nsekhe and Tony Bergstrom making their first starts of the season while Arie Kouandjio went from a healthy inactive to starter in a five-day span.
"I think he did good," Gruden said of Bergstrom. "He's been here a bit longer now. We kind of knew it was going to happen. He was going to start. He did good. Arie battled at left guard and did some good things."
While it was the first time Kouandjio and Bergstrom started alongside each other in a game, they've shared similar paths on similar fields in recent months.
In October, the Redskins signed both players within a matter of days. First Bergstrom was brought in after being released by the Ravens and then Kouandjio was signed off Baltimore's practice squad.
"He was one of my best friends over there," Kouandjio said of Bergstrom. "It's just really funny how it's worked out for us."