EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Not even the Washington Redskins could blow this one.
The Redskins, the league's punch line last week for their late-game collapse, never had a chance to melt down yesterday as the New York Giants handed the Redskins a 50-21 victory.
The 73,170 fans at Giants Stadium booed loudly at New York's 12 missed tackles in the first half. They booed the seven first-half penalties, the clueless play of the New York secondary and the futile blocking by its line.
And they would have booed just as loudly at quarterback Kent Graham getting sacked on fourth down with six minutes left in the third quarter, but over half of the stadium had emptied by then with the Redskins ahead, 43-14.
The Redskins (1-1) eclipsed the 50-point mark for the first time since 1991, coincidentally the last time the team won the Super Bowl. The 29-point margin of victory was the widest spread for the Redskins in seven years.
More significantly, the rout wiped away the bitter memories from last week, when the Redskins failed to hold a 21-point, fourth-quarter lead against Dallas.
"This is a great way to show how we can bounce back," said Brad Johnson, who completed 20 of 28 passes for 231 yards. "I don't know how many people gave us credit coming in here."
The Redskins scored on their first three series and had a 21-0 lead before the Giants (1-1) had converted a first down.
Johnson had little trouble finding open receivers, connecting on his first eight attempts. And running back Stephen Davis didn't benefit from gaping running lanes, but he gained a career-best 126 yards as a result of sloppy tackling by the Giants.
When asked about the poor tackling, Giants coach Jim Fassel said: "I don't know. We did not play well in any facet of the game. We all share this loss, and I am embarrassed about the way we played."
The Giants moved the ball in the second quarter after totaling just 11 yards of offense in the first. Driving 87 yards in 5 1/2 minutes, New York inched to 21-7 just four minutes into the second when Charles Way scored on a 7-yard run.
On their next possessions, the Redskins netted minus-1 yard. New York appeared set to rally, moving to the Redskins' 25-yard line when Graham made a mistake.
Receiving pressure from the right, Graham hastily threw toward Way on a screen play. However, Redskins linebacker Shawn Barber was in front of Way and didn't have to move to intercept, running it back 70 yards for a touchdown and a 27-7 advantage.
"All I had to do was catch the ball," said Barber, who became the first player to pick off Graham in 131 attempts.
The Giants answered with a 45-yard kickoff return by David Patten and closed to 27-14 two plays later as LeShon Johnson scored on an 11-yard run.
Still, the Redskins pushed right back by intentionally picking on New York backup cornerback Jeremy Lincoln, the replacement for injured Jason Sehorn, three times during that possession.
After quickly maneuvering 64 yards down to the Giants' 16-yard line, Johnson threw for the end zone to Albert Connell. But Lincoln never looked back at the ball and interfered with Connell, giving the Redskins first-and-goal on the 1-yard line. Johnson then hit tight end Stephen Alexander to expand the advantage to 33-14.
"They never really got a bead on us," Johnson said. "Norv has a knack when things are flowing, he pounds it. Today I thought offensively we were almost flawless."
The Redskins received some help with four New York turnovers and eight penalties for 106 yards.
"I wouldn't say I came in the game with any doubts," right tackle Andy Heck said. "But I thought the game would be the indicator as to whether or not we put last week behind us."