EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – With every game having playoff implications for the Redskins these days, Clinton Portis and the new proud pop, Todd Collins, made sure Washington had something to play for next week.
Portis ran for 126 yards and a touchdown, and Collins led the Redskins on five scoring drives in his first start in 10 years, outplaying Eli Manning in a 22-10 victory that put a little doubt into the New York Giants’ once seemingly certain road to the postseason.
“It was another game we had to get, and we just have to keep it going,” Portis said after Washington (7-7) won its second straight game and moved within a half-game of Minnesota for a wild-card berth. “We have a lot of strong will in this room.”
After losing four straight, Washington is back in the hunt after enduring the tragic shooting death of Pro Bowl safety Sean Taylor in late November.
The Vikings (7-6) play the Chicago Bears on Monday night before meeting the Redskins in Minnesota next week. New Orleans also is 7-7 with two games to play.
“We’re thrilled,” Redskins coach Joe Gibbs said. “I told our players that they were taking me for a ride.”
No one had a wilder ride this week than Collins, the journeyman who took over as the starting quarterback after Jason Campbell was hurt against the Bears 10 days ago.
Not only did he lead them to victory again, but he also did it two days after his wife, Andrea, gave birth to their second child, Jack. Collins was in Boston for the birth Friday and flew to the game Sunday morning in owner Daniel Snyder’s private jet.
“I definitely felt an electricity in the locker room before the game, like there was something special going on,” said Collins, who completed 8 of 25 passes for 166 yards.
“The guys were really pumped up. I don’t know if it was Sean or what, but it was not a surprise that we came out and played the way we did.”
The loss was the third straight at home for the Giants (9-5), and this one was costly as Pro Bowl tight end Jeremy Shockey was lost for the season with a broken left leg early in the second half.
New York still can clinch a playoff berth with a win at Buffalo next weekend. It had better win, because the final regular-season game is at home against New England, which will probably be looking to put the finishing touches on a perfect regular season.
“It’s just disappointing with everything on the line and everything that we had, win the game and we’re in the playoffs, and in that situation to come out and play as poorly as we did,” Manning said.