September 5, 2008 / 2:56 AM / 9 years ago

Giants pound Redskins 16-7 in season opener

<p>Washington Redskins Clinton Portis (front) is tackled by New York Giants R.W. McQuarters in the fourth quarter during their season opening NFL football game in East Rutherford, September 4, 2008. REUTERS/Ray Stubblebine</p>

EAST RUTHERFORD, New Jersey (Reuters) - The New York Giants opened the NFL season with a 16-7 victory over the Washington Redskins on Thursday.

Quarterback Eli Manning, the Super Bowl MVP after leading the Giants to a shock 17-14 win over the New England Patriots in February, scored on a one-yard touchdown run on the game’s opening drive.

The Giants never looked back, always moving downfield but having to settle for three field goals to take a 16-0 first half advantage.

Washington struggled in the first two quarters, but a 12-yard scoring strike from Jason Campbell to Santana Moss just before halftime kept them within striking distance at 16-7.

Both teams showed some early season rust as the penalties mounted in the scoreless second half.

Despite his team’s poor second-half offense, Giants head coach Tom Coughlin was happy with the win.

“We definitely have a lot of work to do. The key thing is we opened at home, we won at home and that’s a nice way to start,” he told reporters.

<p>New York Giants Plaxico Burress (L) is tackled by Washington Redskins Fred Smoot in the second quarter of their season opening NFL football game in East Rutherford September 4, 2008. REUTERS/Ray Stubblebine</p>

“I‘m disappointed with the penalties but we knew that this was a work in progress.”

Manning, whose older brother Peyton led the Indianapolis Colts to a Super Bowl victory in 2007, was not resting on his laurels.

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“It’s a win, that’s a start and that was our goal,” Manning said. “When you get inside (the 20-yard line) everything’s got to be precise, got to be perfect so we don’t settle for field goals.”

Plaxico Burress was a key target for Manning, with 10 catches for 133 yards. Giants running back Brandon Jacobs also barreled his way to 116 yards on the ground.

“(Burress) played really well tonight, he had some big catches,” Manning added. “I could tell before the game he had a lot of energy and it showed.”

The Giants have lost several key players since winning the Super Bowl, including tight end Jeremy Shockey, who was traded to the New Orleans Saints, and seven-times All-Pro defensive tackle Michael Strahan, who retired.

A season-ending injury to All-Pro defensive end Osi Umenyiora had some wondering about the defense but ends Mathias Kiwanuka and Justin Tuck had Campbell on the run all evening.

Editing by Martin Petty

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