LANDOVER, Md. -- Six games into the season, the New York Giants were winless.
Six games later, New York remains in the NFC East race.
The surging Giants earned their fifth win in six tries and eliminated the defending NFC East champion Washington Redskins from playoff contention with a 24-17, come-from-behind victory Sunday night at FedEx Field.
The Giants (5-7) are just two games behind the co-division leaders, the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles.
"At 0-6, it would've been easy for us to point fingers and say this ain't happening," said ninth-year defensive end Justin Tuck, one of six active Giants who played on Super Bowl championship teams following the 2007 and 2011 seasons. "That (we didn't) talks about the leadership (of) coach (Tom) Coughlin, the captains and all the veteran guys understanding that the tide was going to turn. We're almost accustomed to putting ourselves in bad situations and coming out of it."
On Sunday, the bad situation was a 14-0 deficit just 3:15 into the second quarter. Tuck, who had a career-high four sacks, and quarterback Eli Manning, who completed 22 of 28 passes for 235 yards with one touchdown pass and an interception, led the comeback.
"What I was most proud of was the way we hung in there," Coughlin said. "They had two scores right away. We knew they would play the no-huddle offense, it (was) just when, and they started the game in it. They had us running around a little bit. We did settle down and played much better after."
In contrast, the Redskins just keep fading. After completing 16 of 17 passes for 149 yards and a touchdown in the first half, Washington quarterback Robert Griffin III was just 8-for-15 for 58 yards in the second half while being sacked five times.
"That's a tough one to lose," said Redskins coach Mike Shanahan, whose team suffered its fourth consecutive defeat and dropped to 3-9, tied for the worst record in the NFC. "You can't stop yourselves. We had some penalties (eight for 55 yards). We had some drooped balls. We had some missed assignments. You combine all those things and that's how you lose."
Trailing 17-14 late in the third quarter, the Giants got good field position after a botched Washington punt. Kyle Nelson bounced the punt snap to Sav Rocca, whose low kick was deflected, and New York took over at the Washington 46-yard line.
Manning passed to wide receiver Victor Cruz for 8 yards, to tight end Brandon Myers for 18 and to Cruz for 19. Running back Andre Brown scored on a 1-yard run, his second touchdown of the night, to put the visitors ahead 21-17 with 14:26 left.
Tuck, who came in with 2.5 sacks on the season, sacked Griffin twice more on the next series and added his fourth of the night on the series after that.
"Our secondary did a great job of mixing up coverages and getting (Griffin) some different looks where he had to hold the ball, and I was able to capitalize," Tuck said.
Josh Brown's 39-yard field goal with 2:32 to go rounded out the scoring.
Giants safety Will Hill wrestled the ball from Redskins receiver Pierre Garcon to end Washington's last chance.
"So frustrating to the point that I can't tell you," Redskins wide receiver Santana Moss said of his team's ugly season.
Griffin finished 24 of 32 for 207 yards and a touchdown. He also had 12 carries for 88 yards, team highs in both categories.
Cruz made six catches for 80 yards.
After Washington's promising opening series of the second half was undone by penalties on center Will Montgomery and Moss, Redskins safety Brandon Meriweather ended New York's ensuing possession by intercepting Manning's pass for wide receiver Rueben Randle and racing 32 yards to the Giants 12-yard line. However, Washington settled for a 33-yard Kai Forbath field goal to take a 17-14 lead with 4:25 remaining in the third quarter.
The Redskins went no-huddle on the opening drive of the game and wound up scoring a touchdown on the first possession for the first time this season. Griffin completed a pass to five different targets on his first five throws -- including reserve tight end Fred Davis' first catch since Week 2 -- accounting for 57 of the 73 yards on the march that running back Alfred Morris finished with a 1-yard scoring run 7:06 into the game.
After the Giants went three-and-out for a second time, Washington drove 59 yards in eight plays, with Griffin finding tight end Logan Paulsen for a 19-yard touchdown pass 3:15 into the second quarter. That raised the quarterback to 12-for-12 accuracy for 111 yards.
New York finally got going on the ensuing series. Manning passed to Myers for 9 yards before reserve running back Peyton Hills bulled for 8 and then 27. Andre Brown then caught a 7-yard pass before storming 23 yards into the end zone to cut the deficit to 14-7 with 8:46 left in the half.
Manning finished the half by completing his last nine passes for 93 yards, including six for 74 yards on the nine-play, 81-yard possession that ended with the game-tying, 22-yard touchdown pass to the wide-open Myers with 35 seconds left.
NOTES: Redskins TE Jordan Reed (concussion) and FB Darrel Young (knee) were inactive for the second straight game. TE Niles Paul (illness) also was sidelined. Evan Royster took Young's place in the lineup that Paul filled Monday against the San Francisco 49ers. ... CBs Trumaine McBride (groin) and Corey Webster (ankle) were inactive for the Giants. Jayron Housley started opposite Prince Amukamara. With C Jim Cordle (knee) having landed on injured reserve, Kevin Boothe slid over from left guard and James Brewer started in Boothe's usual spot. With DE Jason Pierre-Paul (shoulder) sidelined, Mathias Kiwanuka started in his place. ... Redskins ILB London Fletcher (ankle), CB DeAngelo Hall (hip) and S Reed Doughty (concussion) were injured during the game. ... Alfred Morris gained just 26 yards on 11 carries, leaving him 4 yards shy of becoming become the first Redskins running back to gain 1,000 yards in each of his first two seasons.