NEW YORK GIANTS 14 – WASHINGTON COMMANDERS 7…
It wasn’t pretty, but the New York Giants won their second game of the season by defeating the Washington Commanders 14-7 at MetLife Stadium on Sunday. The Giants snapped a four-game losing streak and are now 2-5 (1-1 in the NFC East).
The Giants were without starting quarterback Daniel Jones (neck) for the second game in a row, as well as three starting offensive linemen, including both offensive tackles. Cornerback Adoree’ Jackson (neck) also missed the game.
The contest should not have been as close as it was. Two fumbles and a dropped interception turned what should have been a blowout by the Giants into a nail-biter that was decided by a goal line stand at the end of the games.
The Giants out-gained the Commanders in first downs (16 to 14), total net yards (356 to 273), net yards rushing (106 to 76), and net yards passing (250 to 176). New York also held Washington to 1-of-15 (6.7 percent) on 3rd down. Washington won the time-of-possession battle (31:14 to 28:46) and turnover battle (2 to 1).
The two teams combined for 17 first-half offensive possessions. Washington’s eight possessions resulted in 46 yards, two first downs, seven punts, and an interception by cornerback Deonte Banks. Quarterback Sam Howell was also sacked five times, doubling New York’s league-low sack total entering the game.
Meanwhile, the Giants started off slowly with a three-and-out on their initial possession. They followed that up with a 9-play, 66-yard drive that ended with a missed 42-yard field goal by place kicker Graham Gano. Their third possession resulted in another three-and-out.
The Giants scored an offensive touchdown for the first time in the first half of game this year on their fourth possession. New York drove 88 yards in eight plays, as the team overcame a red-zone holding penalty, and quarterback Tyrod Taylor threw a 15-yard strike to tight end on 3rd-and-goal. The Giants led 7-0 early in the 2nd quarter.
The Giants’ fifth offensive possession resulted in their third three-and-out. But after Banks picked off Howell, the offense responded with their second and last scoring drive of the game. It took two plays, the first a 16-yard throw to Waller and the second a 32-yard catch-and-run by running back Saquon Barkley for the touchdown. With just under nine minutes to play in the first half, the Giants led 14-0.
The Giants could have put the game away had outside linebacker Kayvon Thibodeaux held onto a pass thrown right to him. It should have been an easy defensive score, giving the Giants a 21-0 lead. Instead, both offenses sputtered for the remainder of the first half.
At the break, the Giants still led 14-0.
Washington received the ball to start the second half and promptly went three-and-out again. However, New York’s punt return woes now came to the forefront. Running back Eric Gray had muffed a punt (recovered by the Giants) early in the game and had left the contest with a calf injury. Wide receiver Sterling Shepard, who was now returning punts, muffed the Washington punt. It was recovered by the Commanders at the New York 21-yard line. Six plays later, including a 4th-and-1 conversion, running back Brian Robinson scored from four yards out to cut the score to 14-7 early in the 3rd quarter.
Neither team’s offense did much for the remainder of the quarter. Three New York possessions resulted in one first down and three punts. Two Washington possessions resulted in one first down and two punts.
However, the Commanders threatened to tie the game late in the 3rd quarter and early into the 4th quarter. They drove 81 yards in eight plays, reaching the red zone. There the Giants’ defense held and Washington’s 27-yard field goal attempt was blocked by defensive lineman Leonard Williams. The score remained 14-7 with 13:23 left to play.
The Giants’ offense responded with what looked like game-clinching drive. New York took 5:37 off of the clock and gained 72 yards in 10 plays. However, on 1st-and-goal from the 10-yard line, Barkley fumbled the ball away at the 8-yard line, giving Washington the chance they needed to tie or win the game with 7:46 left on the clock.
In a nearly 7-minute long possession, the Commanders gained 85 yards and six first downs in 17 plays, including another 4th-and-1 conversion. With a minute left in the game, Howell’s 4th-and-5 pass to wide receiver Jahan Dotson was dropped, sealing the victory for the Giants.
Taylor finished the game 18-of-29 for 279 yards, two touchdowns, and no interceptions. He was sacked four times and rushed for 25 yards on eight carries. His leading receiver was Waller, who caught seven passes for 98 yards and a touchdown. Wideout Jalin Hyatt caught two passes for 75 yards. Barkley carried the ball 21 times for 77 yards and caught three passes for 41 yards and a touchdown.
The Giants’ defense came into the game with five sacks, but got to Howell six times, including sacks by defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence (2), Thibodeaux (1.5), Williams (1), safety Jason Pinnock (1), and linebacker Micah McFadden (0.5).
GAME VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS are available on YouTube.
PRACTICE SQUAD ACTIVATIONS, INACTIVES, AND INJURY REPORT…
On Saturday, the Giants activated QB Tommy DeVito and OL Jalen Mayfield from the Practice Squad.
Inactive for the game were QB Daniel Jones (neck), LT Andrew Thomas (hamstring), RT Evan Neal (ankle), OC John Michael Schmitz (shoulder), OT Matt Peart (shoulder), CB Adoree’ Jackson (neck), and DL Jordon Riley.
Running backs Eric Gray (calf) and Gary Brightwell (hamstring) left the game in the first half. RB Saquon Barkley hyperextended his left elbow in the first half but remained in the game.
Transcripts and video clips of post-game media sessions with Head Coach Brian Daboll and the following players are available in The Corner Forum and at Giants.com:
- Head Coach Brian Daboll (Video)
- QB Tyrod Taylor (Video)
- RB Saquon Barkley (Video)
- WR Jalin Hyatt (Video)
- TE Darren Waller (Video)
- OL Justin Pugh (Video)
- OLB Kayvon Thibodeax (Video)
- S Xavier McKinney (Video)
- S Jason Pinnock (Video)
WHAT’S UP NEXT…
Head Coach Brian Daboll will address the media by conference call on Monday.