EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) – The New York Giants found their defense during the bye week. They rediscovered a lot of other things Sunday that made them a division winner a year ago.

Michael Strahan and the much-maligned defense limited Washington to 164 total yards, and Eli Manning threw a touchdown pass and set up three of Jay Feely’s four field goals with long passes to lead the Giants to a 19-3 victory over the Redskins.

The victory was only the Giants’ fourth in 18 post-bye week games. It snapped a five-game skid in the week after the bye and was only their second in the last 11 post bye games.

The Giants (2-2) got contributions from every phase of their team against Washington (2-3), with $49 million linebacker LaVar Arrington even making a rare big play by knocking down and almost intercepting a screen pass by Mark Brunell.

It was Arrington’s first game against his former Redskins teammates. There was some trash talking exchanged during the week, but Arrington wasn’t much of a factor.

The big surprise of the day was the play of Tim Lewis’ defense, which was allowing an average of almost 31 points. The revamped secondary, which left four receivers wide open for touchdowns in a 42-30 loss to Seattle on Sept. 24, limited Brunell to 109 yards on 12-of-22 passing. Strahan got his first sack of the season and Fred Robbins and Osi Umenyiora added sacks against a Redskins offense that averaged nearly 500 yards in winning its last two games.

New York had two sacks in its first three games.

Manning, who was 23-of-33 for 256 yards, drove the New York into Washington territory on each of its first six possessions in the first three quarters using a balanced attack that got 123 yards rushing from Tiki Barber.

Feely missed a 47-yard field goal on New York’s opening drive, but Manning and the Giants scored on their next four times they got the ball.

Manning’s 44-yard pass to Amani Toomer set up a game-tying 24-yard field goal by Feely early in the second quarter.

A 46-yard pass to Plaxico Burress set up a 34-yarder, and then a 27-yard pass to Tim Carter late in a 14-play, 84-yard march just before halftime set up a 32-yarder that gave New York a 9-3 halftime lead.

The Giants, who beat Washington 36-0 in their game at Giants Stadium last year, took the air out of the Redskins at the start of the third quarter with a 15-play, 69-yard, eight-minute drive that Manning capped with a 2-yard TD toss to Burress, who finished with seven catches for 69 yards.

Burress was benched in the Giants’ loss to Seattle two weeks ago after a back injury led to a lost fumble and an interception.

John Hall, who had made a 39-yard field goal in the first quarter, had a chance to get Washington back into the game on the next series, but he missed a 42-yard attempt in the closing minute of the third quarter.

Washington’s three points were actually a gift from the Giants defense. A helmet to helmet third-down hit on Brunell by Umenyiora kept the drive alive.

Santana Moss, who caught three touchdown passes in an overtime win over Jacksonville last week and was named the NFC offensive player of the week, was limited to three meaningless catches for 39 yards. Clinton Portis had 76 yards on 19 carries.

AP-ES-10-08-06 1612EDT


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