Kayvon Thibodeaux – © USA TODAY Sports
NEW YORK GIANTS 20 – WASHINGTON COMMANDERS 12…
The New York Giants won their biggest game in six years by defeating the Washington Commanders 20-12 on Sunday night at FedExField in Landover, Maryland. With the victory, the Giants improved their overall record to 8-5-1 while the Commanders fell to 7-6-1. The Giants also now own the head-to-head advantage over Washington in the race for a Wild Card playoff spot.
In terms of overall team statistics, Washington held advantages in first downs (20 to 19), total net yards (387 to 288), net yards rushing (159 to 128), and net yards passing (228 to 160). The Giants had a 1-minute advantage in time of possession. Both teams were terrible on 3rd-down conversions with New York being 2-of-10 (20 percent) and Washington 1-of-10 (10 percent). The big difference in the ball game was turnovers, with the Giants recovering two critical fumbles.
The Commanders received the ball to start the game, gained 41 yards and three first downs, but punted. In turn, the Giants went three-and-out on their first possession. Washington then drove 47 yards in nine plays to set up a 41-yard field goal that gave them a 3-0 advantage. New York only gained one first down before punting again on their second possession.
The first key moment in the game came early in the second quarter. The Commanders began their third possession from their own 18-yard line. After picking up two yards, a holding call pushed Washington back to their own 10-yard line. On 2nd-and-18, outside linebacker Kayvon Thibodeaux beat the left tackle, stripped the ball out of quarterback Taylor Heinicke’s hand, recovered the loose ball at the 2-yard line, and scored. The Giants were now up 7-3.
Washington’s offense did somewhat compose itself, picked up 28 yards and two first downs, but then punted with the punt being downed at the New York 3-yard line. The Giants’ offense did not do much on Sunday night against the NFL’s 4th-ranked defense, but they did on this drive, the best of the season for Big Blue. New York’s third possession lasted over eight and a half minutes, traveling 97 yards in 18 plays, and accruing eight first downs. Key moments included a 10-yard pass from quarterback Daniel Jones to wide receiver Richie James on 3rd-and-9 and an 11-yard pass from Jones to James again on 4th-and-9 from the Washington 35-yard line. Three plays later, running back Saquon Barkley took a direct snap and scored from three yards out on 2nd-and-goal. The Giants now led 14-3 with 1:43 left in the second quarter.
The Commanders picked up one first down, but were forced to punt again before halftime. At the break, the Giants still led 14-3.
The Giants received the ball to start the second half, gained one first down, but punted, with the punt being downed at the 9-yard line. However, it took Washington only six plays to travel 91 yards to cut the score to 14-9. The Commanders picked up chunk plays of 18, 13, 15, 20, and 11 yards before Heinicke threw a 19-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Jahan Dotson. An offensive pass interference penalty wiped out a successful 2-point conversion and then Washington missed the extra point.
The Giants responded with a 10-play, 43-yard drive that set up a successful 50-yard field goal by place kicker Graham Gano. New York was now up 17-9 with 3:11 left in the third quarter. After both teams went three-and-out, the Commanders chipped into the Giants’ lead again with a 7-play, 25-yard possession that ended with a 51-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter.
New York responded with a couple of first downs, crossing midfield, but punting again. On Washington’s first snap of following possession, Heinicke connected with Dotson on a 61-yard pass that moved the ball from their own 9-yard line to the New York 30-yard line. Four plays later came another monumental turnover. On 3rd-and-4 from the 5-yard line, Heinicke was sacked by defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence and outside linebacker Azeez Ojulari. An instant replay challenge by Head Coach Brian Daboll showed that the ball came loose before Heinicke was down. Since defensive lineman Leonard Williams had recovered the football, the fumble was awarded to the Giants at the 14-yard line with 6:06 left in the game.
Barkley and his blockers responded with four runs that gained 44 yards to the Washington 42-yard line. Jones picked up a first down with his feet and Gano kicked another 50-yard field goal right after the 2-minute warning. The Giants were now up 20-12.
However, the game was not over. The Commanders returned the ensuing kickoff 43 yards to their own 43-yard line. Heinicke then threw passes of 27, 6, and 14 yards to the New York 10-yard line and ran for nine yards to the 1-yard line. On 3rd-and-1, a touchdown run by the Commanders was wiped out by an illegal formation penalty, moving the ball back to the 6-yard line. After an incomplete pass with pressure from Ojulari, Heinicke’s last attempt, on 4th-and-goal, was broken up by cornerback Darnay Holmes on a play where defensive pass interference could have been called. The Giants took over with 48 seconds left and knelt on the ball to seal the victory.
Jones finished the game 21-of-32 for 160 yards, no touchdowns, and no interceptions. He was not sacked and only officially hit four times. Barkley and wide receiver Darius Slayton led the the team with five catches each, but only for a total of 56 yards. Barkley ran the ball 18 times for 87 yards and a touchdown.
Defensively, Thibodeaux had a monster game, being credited with 12 tackles, one sack, three tackles for losses, one forced fumble, and one fumble recovery that he scored on. Ojulari (2 quarterback hits) and Lawerence (3 quarterback hits) split the other huge sack that led to turnover. Defensive lineman Ryder Anderson was also credited with a sack.
Gano nailed both his 50-yard field goal attempts. Punter Jamie Gillan’s net punting average was 41.8 yards with three punts downed inside the 20-yard line. James returned two punts for 32 yards.
GAME VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS are available on YouTube.
ROSTER MOVES, PRACTICE SQUAD ACTIVATIONS, INACTIVES, AND INJURY REPORT…
On Saturday, the Giants activated (standard elevation) QB Davis Webb and LB/S Landon Collins from the Practice Squad to the 53-man roster.
The team also placed OG Joshua Ezeudu (neck) on Injured Reserve and activated OG Ben Bredeson (knee) from Injured Reserve.
Inactive for the game were CB Adoree’ Jackson (knee), OG Shane Lemieux (toe), QB Davis Webb, WR David Sills, OG Jack Anderson, ILB Tae Crowder, and CB Rodarius Williams.
OLB Kayvon Thibodeaux was poked in the eye on the defense’s last play of the night.
Video clips of post-game media sessions with Head Coach Brian Daboll and the following players are available at Giants.com:
- Head Coach Brian Daboll (Video)
- QB Daniel Jones (Video)
- RB Saquon Barkley (Video)
- DL Leonard Williams (Video)
- OLB Kayvon Thibodeaux (Video)
- ILB/S Landon Collins (Video)
WHAT’S UP NEXT…
Head Coach Brian Daboll will address the media by conference call on Monday.