Do you remember the New York Giants? The team that stopped the Patriots having a perfect season in the Super Bowl?
Well, that team has long gone and in its place is a young team, desperately trying to learn the ropes but enduring some harsh lessons along the way. Such as last night’s bitter 29-30 loss to divisional rivals the Washington Football Team.
Any divisional loss smarts more than against another opponent, but it was the manner of this Giants defeat which will give head coach Joe Judge a few sleepless nights.
Evenly Matched Contest
The Giants started well enough, forcing Washington, who had Taylor Heinicke in as quarterback for the injured Ryan Fitzpatrick, to go three-and-out on their first possession.
An 11-play, 71-yard drive followed leading to quarterback Daniel Jones scoring a 6-yard rushing TD to put the Giants ahead.
Heinicke hit Terry McLaurin for an 11-yard TD mid-way through the opening quarter to level things up before Graham Gano’s field goal put the Giants back in front in the second quarter.
However a J.D.McKissic touchdown before the half saw Washington take a 14-10 lead into the break.
McKissic gives Washington the lead before half 👏
— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) September 17, 2021
Cut The Deficit
The Giants cut the deficit to one with a field goal on their opening possession in the third quarter and then after forcing Washington to go three-and-out again, they took the lead when Daniel Jones hit Darius Slayton for a 33-yard TD.
The teams then shared four field goals as we headed into the fourth quarter, with the Giants leading 26-20, which is when things started to turn sour.
Just two plays after extending the lead to six points, the Giants were behind when Heinicke hit Ricky Seals-Jones on a 19-yard touchdown pass to hand Washington a slender one point lead.
The Giants then landed what appeared to be a key interception when James Bradbury picked off Heinickie deep in Washington territory. That led to a field goal to put the Giants two points up with just a couple of minutes on the clock.
However, the drama was just beginning. Washington moved the ball downfield and into Field Goal range as time was expiring. Hopkins attempted his shot from 48 yards, but missed. However, Giants Dexter Lawrence was ruled offside on the play and gave Hopkins a second chance, this time from 43 yards.
With the clock expired, Hopkins took this reprieve and hit the field goal to hand Washington a dramatic win.
DUSTIN HOPKINS FOR THE WIN BABY pic.twitter.com/OOSMMnuiHr
— Washington Football Team (@WashingtonNFL) September 17, 2021
Not The Whole Story
The bare bones of the defeat make depressing enough reading for Giants fans, but it is not the whole story of the game. New York left plenty of points out on the field,
Daniel Jones had a rushing touchdown scrubbed off due to a holding call against C.J. Board, while the quarterback, who impressed on the night, saw a fine deep pass dropped by a wide open Darius Slayton for what would have been another touchdown.
Positives for the Giants include the play of Jones, Graham Gano, who hit five out of five field goals, who set a new franchise record for consecutive field goals with 35, as well as a greater contribution from Saquon Barkley as he makes his way back from a torn ACL.
For Washington, it was very much Taylor Heinickie and Terry McLaurin’s night, with the two being Washington’s most productive players on offense, which they needed considering their much vaunted defense and pash rush was kept at bay well by the Giants offensive line.
However in a division that features the surprisingly sparky Eagles and what look like being a very strong Dallas Cowboys team, you can’t help but feeling that Thursday Night’s encounter was a battle between two teams hoping to avoid finishing bottom of the division.
And if the Giants keep on snatching losses from the jaws of victory like this, then they are not going to have much chance of avoiding this unwanted stat.