EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Kirk Cousins threw two long touchdown passes, kicker Dustin Hopkins converted five field goals and the Washington Redskins sealed a come-from-behind 29-27 win over the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium.
The Giants (2-1) built a 21-9 lead on touchdown runs by Shane Vereen and Orleans Darkwa sandwiched around a 23-yard touchdown pass from Eli Manning to rookie receiver Sterling Shepard. Manning threw two fourth-quarter interceptions to help the Redskins (1-2).
Washington scored 14 unanswered points on the two big-play passes from Cousins, the first a 44-yarder to DeSean Jackson to make it 21-16 at the half and a 55-yarder to Jamison Crowder to give the Redskins the lead.
Redskins punter Tress Way completed a 31-yard pass to Quinton Dunbar on a fourth-and-12 to extend a scoring drive into the fourth quarter. Hopkins, who earlier converted on field goals of 49, 33 and 45 yards, gave his team a 26-24 lead.
Washington head coach Jay Gruden credited special teams coordinator Ben Kotwica for spotting something on tape that gave him the idea to try the fake punt.
"We worked on that in practice and Tress Way actually has a pretty good arm - he threw a nice tight spiral. Coach Kotwica saw something on tape so we thought we'd give it a shot. It was a big play."
Way's pass was one of six big-play passes of 20 or more yards allowed by the Giants. New York had allowed just four big pass-plays over their first two games.
The Giants threatened to take the lead back in the fourth quarter, driving all the way to the Redskins' 15-yard line. But Manning's pass, intended for tight end Will Tye, was picked off by Dunbar, who made a one-handed grab.
The Giants reclaimed a 27-26 lead on Josh Brown's 30-yard field goal. However, Hopkins' final field goal of the day, a 37-yarder with 1:55 left in regulation, gave Washington the 29-27 lead.
After completions for Shepard and Victor Cruz, Manning was picked off by rookie reserve safety Su'a Cravens, who made a diving catch after reading the quarterback's intention to check down to Vereen. Playing in place of Rashad Jennings, Vereen had 11 carries for 67 yards and a touchdown.
A game of momentum shifts also had its share of memorable moments. Giants center Weston Richburg was ejected in the fourth quarter after drawing his second unsportsmanlike conduct penalties. He was replaced by Brett Jones to finish out the game.
Richburg's ejection was the first under the new rule in which if a player draws two personal fouls of a similar nature, he is automatically kicked out of the game. The Giants center said he immediately apologized to his teammates after the game for letting them down.
"I gotta be a presence in there and be a leader, and sadly I let my team down," Richburg said.
Richburg also said that given the histrionics between Odell Beckham Jr., and Josh Norman last year, the officials were extra strict when it came to flagging even the slightest thing out of the ordinary.
"I think this matchup last year with the two individuals was kind of a problem so I think they were trying to cut down on that," he said. "From my perspective, I need to settle down and be that leading presence for my team. Today I made a mistake and I let it pull me out of the game."
Left guard Justin Pugh, who insisted his team gave one away, said the Giants knew that the officials were going to be on the lookout for anything out of the ordinary, no matter how minute.
"I think the refs came into this game and everyone was on a tight leash," he said. "We knew there was a little bit of a heightened awareness and the refs were like, 'Hey, this is how we're calling this game,' so we had to respect that.
Later in that quarter, the Giants saw a blocked punt by Romeo Okwara wiped off the board when the officials called offsetting penalties.
With the win, Washington (1-2) avoided an 0-3 start in its defense of the NFC East title while the Giants fell to 2-1.
"It was a big team win," Cousins said. "It took all phases of the game, offense, defense, special teams and so many players to contribute making plays for us. I'm just really proud of the way our team kept playing, and it just goes to show that in this league, all you can do is keep on playing no matter what's happened in the past. When you do that, good things will eventually happen."
The Giants will go on the road for the first of two primetime games against the NFC North. They'll visit the Minnesota Vikings Monday night and then travel to Green Bay the following weekend for a Sunday night game.
NOTES: Giants WR Odell Beckham Jr.'s first of seven receptions Sunday gave him 200 for his career through 30 games. Beckham, who also crossed the 3,000-yard mark in this game, becomes the first receiver in NFL history to accomplish both milestones in 30 games. ... With a win, the Redskins posted consecutive victories against the Giants for the first time since the 2011 season. ... Redskins saw several players exit due to injury. C Kory Lichtensteiger, who was poked in the eye on his team's first offensive series, had to leave the game in the second half when he suffered a calf injury. LG Shawn Lauvao suffered an ankle injury. CB Bashaud Breeland suffered an ankle injury on the Giants' second offensive series and was ruled out. S DeAngelo Hall sprained right knee while making a tackle 13-yard tackle of Beckham just before halftime. ... The Giants lost a cornerbacks Eli Apple (hamstring) and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (groin) in this game.