Damon Washington, limited to one carry in two NFL seasons, stepped in for injured Ron Dayne on Sunday and helped the New York Giants escape with a 23-9 victory over the winless Washington Redskins.
Washington, who spent last season on special teams and gained 1 yard on his lone carry this season, ran for 90 yards on 25 carries. He saved a Giants offense that was stalled against the Redskins, who had the worst-ranked defense in the league.
He carried three times for 10 yards in the first half and then, with Dayne sidelined by a sprained neck, drove the Giants to the game's only offensive touchdown.
Until Washington got the Giants moving, New York's Morten Andersen and Washington's Brett Conway traded three field goals apiece for all the scoring.
After Conway's 41-yarder tied the game at 9 in the third quarter, the Giants started from their 29-yard line.
Washington ran for 15 yards on first down, and except for a 20-yard pass from Kerry Collins to Greg Camella, he carried on every play of the drive, including a 22-yard run on the first play of the fourth quarter.
He got the ball to the 1 and Collins hit tight end Dan Campbell for the deciding touchdown.
New York's Jason Sehorn sealed the victory with a 34-yard interception return against Tony Banks with 2:57 left. It was his second interception of the game.
Andersen's 50-yard field goal, helped by a wind that gusted up to 26 mph, gave the Giants an early 3-0 lead. But the Redskins came right back, capitalizing when Amani Toomer fumbled a punt and Antonio Pierce recovered at the Giants 20.
Washington's offense, also ranked last in the league, couldn't move the ball, but Conway's 35-yard field goal tied the score.
Michael Strahan's fourth sack of the season forced Banks to fumble and Kenny Holmes recovered for the Giants at Washington's 14. The Giants settled for a 26-yard field goal by Andersen for a 6-3 lead.
Conway, kicking with the wind, responded with a 55-yarder to tie the score at 6.
The Giants launched a long drive from their 20 and got to the Redskins 31 before Washington fumbled and Kenard Lang recovered for the Redskins. But again the Redskins got careless and Giants rookie Will Allen recovered a fumble at the Giants 31.
Collins' 22-yard pass to Toomer started a march that went to Washington's 3-yard line before stalling. Andersen's 22-yard field goal gave New York a 9-6 lead at the half.