- The Washington Times - Friday, November 24, 2017

LANDOVER — Redskins cornerback Josh Norman wanted the interception. 

With 1:16 left, New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning threw a deep pass intended for wide receiver Travis Rudolph. Norman sprinted to the area, but it was Redskins cornerback Kendall Fuller who beat him to the play.

Fuller jumped up and hauled in the game-sealing pick for a 20-10 win. 

Fuller, according to Norman, started talking a little trash talk to his teammate afterward, too.

“He was like, ‘J-No just a little too slow,’” Norman said. “This guy.”

After the Redskins win over the Giants, Norman was in a cheerful mood for Thanksgiving, noting his grandma was in town for the game. He even rapped parts of “Green Beans, Potatoes, Tomatoes.”

It was a stark contrast to last Sunday, when he buried his head in a towel following the Redskins’ overtime loss in New Orleans.

Look at the boxscore, and it’s easy to see why Norman was in better spirits. The Redskins allowed just 170 yards, limiting the Giants to an average gain of 3.1 yards per play. Last week, the Redskins gave up a season-high 535 yards — with an average gain of 8 yards per play.

Norman said the difference was playing aggressive.

“Tonight, it was relentless all the way through four quarters and [we did] not let up,” Norman said. “We got the crowd and fans. We let them down last time we were here. It was something we needed to get fixed and corrected, and we did.”

A couple of caveats about the Redskins’ defensive turnaround. One: It was against the Giants, who are absolutely horrible on offense. Two: the Giants are missing all three of their top wide receivers, lost because of injury. New York didn’t have the playmakers to execute against the Redskins.

On the other hand, the Redskins were missing players, too. Lately, Washington has had a rotating door at inside linebacker, starting Zach Vigil next to Zach Brown. Vigil was signed Nov. 15, less than 10 days ago.

And Deshazor Everett stepped up with rookie safety Montae Nicholson out with a concussion. Redskins coach Jay Gruden benched DeAngelo Hall and went with Everett for the other safety spot next to D.J. Swearinger. Everett, who has been inconsistent at times, played well.

With the Redskins offense taking time to find a rhythm, Washington’s defense kept them in the game.

“If you had to punt in a game like this and play field position, it’s not the end of the world because our defense was playing so good,” Gruden said. “We’re not interested in stats here. We’re interested in wins. Thankfully, the defense played a great game and that was kind of the gauge if you could watch the game, you could see the offense wasn’t moving the ball very well for the Giants and field position was important.”

The Redskins defense also made plays. Besides the Fuller interception, Manning was sacked four times. Two of those went to linebacker Ryan Kerrigan, who now has eight sacks on the year.

Manning completed just 13 of his 27 passes, finishing with 113 yards. The Giants failed to score a touchdown offensively.

Kerrigan said the Redskins’ familiarity with the Giants being a divisional opponent helped them on a short week. But for the first time this season, the Redskins picked up a win in the NFC East.

“This is pretty darn sweet,” Kerrigan said. “Any time you come on a Thursday game, they’re pretty tough to get your body and your mind ready for a Thursday game, so when you can come out here and perform like we did on a Thursday, it’s Thanksgiving, a division opponent and all the hype around it, it’s pretty awesome.”

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