WASHINGTON - The Washington Redskins haven't won back-to-back games all season. Nor have they won away from FedEx Field. They have however climbed into a tie for first place.
Quarterback Kirk Cousins passed to wide receiver DeSean Jackson for one touchdown and snuck in for another and the Redskins held on to defeat the New York Giants 20-14 on Sunday to pull into a tie atop the NFC East with five games remaining.
A Redskins' defense ranked 28th in yards per game coming in blanked New York for three quarters, and Washington led 20-0 before Giants quarterback Eli Manning threw a pair of touchdown passes.
"Our defense was flying all over the place, which I love to see," head coach Jay Gruden said. "Cause I know, come late in the season, that's the meal ticket right there."
Cousins completed 20 of 29 passes for 302 yards for the Redskins (5-6), who avenged a Week 3 loss to the Giants (5-6). Cousins wasn't sacked and didn't throw an interception.
"It's great to be in December and playing for something," Cousins said. "We have a big one coming up (versus Dallas) and the nature of winning is that it just creates bigger games up ahead. ..."
The Redskins snapped a five-game losing streak to the Giants and won their fifth straight home game.
"I just didn't think we played well, or we slept-walked - whatever the word is - we just didn't function very well early on," Giants head coach Tom Coughlin said. "And then, finally we did. I commend our guys for battling and hanging in there and staying with it."
Manning connected with wide receiver Rueben Randle for a 40-yard touchdown pass with 10:10 left to play.
Following a Redskins punt, Manning marched New York 77 yards in 2:23 and wide receiver Odell Beckham finished it off with a diving one-handed catch for a 21-yard touchdown to make it 20-14 with 4:57 left. On third-and-five with just over three minutes left, Cousins found tight end Jordan Reed for a 20-yard completion. The Redskins then killed all but the final 19 seconds.
"Kirk played well," Gruden said. "The last third-down completion to Jordan Reed, patience in the pocket, was his best play of the day."
Manning finished 26-of-51 for 321 yards, two touchdowns and a season-high three interceptions.
Nine of his completions went to Beckham for 141 yards.
New York, coming off its bye week, had 169 total yards, including 33 rushing, through three quarters. The Giants have dropped two straight and lost a chance to put some space between itself and the rest of the division.
"We've still got a lot of football left and we're still in control of things, somewhat," Manning said. "It's going to come down to how we finish, and we have to play better football."
Trailing 17-0, the Giants drove inside the Washington 10 on their first possession of the second half, but on third-and-goal from the 4, Manning's throw to Randle in the end zone was picked off by rookie cornerback Quinton Dunbar.
"We knew early on we've got to knock the receivers off their rhythm. And I think our corners did the work today," Washington defensive end Jason Hatcher said. "They got up and they jammed them and they played one-on-one pretty much the whole game."
A Dustin Hopkins 33-yard field goal made it 20-0 with 11:36 left.
Already missing starting left guard Justin Pugh (concussion) and starting center Weston Richburg (high ankle sprain), the Giants' offense suffered another blow when it lost right guard Geoff Schwartz (fractured lower leg) in the second quarter.
Leading 3-0, the Redskins started on their own 37 following a punt. On first down Jackson got behind two defenders, Cousins hit him at the 15 and Jackson, after four or five strides across the field at the one, backed into the end zone for the touchdown with 10:18 left in the half.
Later, on first-and-10 at their own 20, Cousins threw a screen to running back Matt Jones who went 45 yards down the right sideline.
Eight plays later, on fourth-and-goal, Cousins managed to just break the plane on a keeper.
NOTES: WR Hakeem Nicks, resigned by the Giants during the bye week, caught one pass for 4 yards. ... Washington LB Ryan Kerrigan (two sacks) moved ahead of Monte Coleman for third place for most sacks in franchise history with 44.5. ... Washington QB Kirk Cousins became the first Redskins quarterback with four 300-yard passing games in a season since Brad Johnson had four in 1999. ... Giants CB Prince Amukamara (pectoral) returned after missing five games, and LB J.T. Thomas (ankle) was back after missing three.