While the devastating Washington offense has continued to chug along at an impressive rate, it's the much-maligned Redskins defense that's stepped up its game and contributed mightily to this three-game winning streak.
It's not a case where the numbers are lying, either. 31 of the 53 points the Redskins have allowed over their past three games came in the Thanksgiving Day win over the Cowboys, a game where the defense forced three turnovers in staking Washington to a 28-6 third quarter lead before giving up garbage-time points and creating a final score that was far closer than the game played. Before that, the Redskins allowed six points to Nick Foles in his first career start with the Eagles. While they were perhaps lucky to get Foles in his debut, it's also worth noting that the Philadelphia offense has produced a total of 48 points in Foles's two subsequent starts. Washington clearly did at least some impressive work on defense to make Foles look worse than he has in the ensuing games.
But the most impressive feat was how the Redskins were able to slow the Giants' offense down on Monday night and hold Eli Manning to just 16 points on eight drives. Crucially, while the Giants were able to pick up 21 first downs and 390 yards of offense, the Redskins were able to hold on their own side of the field and force the Giants to settle for four field goal attempts. Lawrence Tynes was only able to make three of those kicks, and the points that the Washington defense produced with the stops in those key situations were enough to manufacture a win, despite a 17-point day from the offense.
Washington also created a subtle advantage throughout the game by dominating the field position battle. While both teams were able to move the ball on each drive and combined for just one three-and-out (by the Giants in the fourth quarter), the Redskins consistently had an easier time of it than their opposition did, especially in the second half. Three of New York's four second-half possessions started inside of their own nine-yard line, helping produce a rather pronounced difference in average starting field position: While the average Washington drive began on its own 26-yard line, the Giants took over, on average, from their own 14-yard line. That's like getting a free first down to start every drive for the Redskins, a luxury they were also afforded against the Eagles in that first Foles start. Part of that is the defense, but credit should also go to a Redskins offense that's gone three-and-out on only six of their 30 possessions since the bye week.