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Eli Manning shines: What you need to know from 'TNF'

The Eli Manning jokes are losing their zing.

The Giants quarterback put together his third straight positive outing in Thursday night's 45-14 frying of the Washington Redskins.

After looking lost all summer in Ben McAdoo's new offense, Manning has shrugged off New York's ugly season-opening loss to the Lions to complete 70.7 percent of passes in three games since.

Hitting 12 of his first 14 throws -- with both misfires coming off drops -- Manning made the most of his outstanding pass protection to pick through Washington's secondary for 300 yards and four touchdowns, his most since Week 1 of last season. After starting the year 0-for-7 on throws beyond 20 yards, the Giants signal-caller even found his groove deep with a pretty 27-yard dart to Rueben Randle and a 36-yarder to Victor Cruz. It was that kind of night.

Society laughed at the concept of Eli completing 70 percent of his passes -- a summertime goal of the new coaching staff -- but he's humming along at 66.9 percent after four games.

Shrugged off as a wasteland in early September, Big Blue's offense -- averaging 403 yards per outing over their past three tilts -- is in full bloom. Paired with a healthy pass rush and promising secondary, the Giants have the attention of the NFC East.

Here's what else we learned on Thursday night:

  1. At long last, the Giants have found a play-making tight end. Who would have thought Larry Donnell would lead the team in targets and receptions heading into Thursday? The undrafted pass-catcher found holes in coverage and picked up yardage on an array of stick throws, slants and seam routes. Accounting for New York's first three scores, Donnell became the first Giants tight end to accomplish that feat since Joe Walton -- the eventual Jets coach -- in 1962.
  1. The Redskins had little luck moving the ball early as New York stifled Washington's zone-based ground game and put heat on Kirk Cousins. The third-year quarterback made some strong throws in the first half, but Cousins utterly crumbled after the break. His five turnovers -- including four picks -- were two more than Robert Griffin III has given up in any of his 30 career starts.
  1. Cousins was never the same after losing pass-catching tight end Niles Paul to a concussion just before the half. After catching a 28-yarder from Cousins, Paul collided violently with Antrel Rolle and Quintin Demps, the latter who was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct. Paul's catch plus the penalty wound up as a 43-yard play for Washington, but the Redskins handed the ball away two plays later with Logan Paulsen's catch and fumble. Washington never got back into the game.
  1. Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell told NFL Media's Kimberly Jones last week that he needed to see his players generate turnovers. Mission accomplished: Since Fewell's request, the G-Men have nine takeaways in seven quarters.
  1. New York's first turnover came off Mathias Kiwanuka's strip-sack of Cousins. Kiwanuka put a clown suit on Washington's Tyler Polumbus before hammering the Redskins quarterback. Right tackle has emerged as an issue for Washington.
  1. Rashad Jennings had five carries on New York's first 10 plays, just four days after a career-high 34 carries against Houston -- the most by a Giants player under Tom Coughlin. After rumbling for 176 yards last week, Jennings was given a breather Thursday by rookie Andre Williams, who notched a career-high 15 carries and 66 yards on the ground.
  1. Even before his impressive pick of Cousins, Giants corner Prince Amukamara had our attention with another night of strong pass coverage. This secondary is fun to watch.

*We preview and pick every Week 4 game in the latest Around the NFL Podcast. *

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