After last week’s roller coaster ride of a game against the Falcons; where it took a late game interception from Kendall Fuller to seal the much-needed victory. The Washington Commanders traveled to New York for a head to head battle against their division rival; New York Giants. As they looked to improve their winning streak to four games and continue their push for a spot in the playoffs.
However, for the second week in a row the Commanders’ found themselves once again in a seesaw type of game; where things were up and down for them. Although, Washington was able to get off a blazing start on both sides of the ball; with an early 10-0 lead. Subsequently, after that point the Commanders’ offense would be held in check. Which allowed the New York Giants to go on and outscore Washington 20-3 over the course of the second and third quarters.
Despite that, the Commanders were still able to keep the game within one possession. Which was a result of their defense being able to subsequently shut out the New York Giants for the remainder of the game; after an early touchdown in the third quarter. As the Commanders’ defense was able to force them to punt on their final six possessions; including overtime.
Ultimately, this would not be enough as both teams would reach a stalemate after a couple of punts and a missed field goal in overtime. Resulting in the game ending in tie; which was the first time that there has been a tie between the two teams since 1997.
Commanders Get off to a Hot Start
Coming into this week this was a game that was crucial for both teams at this point in the season. As this was a game that had high stakes; being that they both are jostling for one of the final spots in the NFC Wild Card. Nevertheless, there was lofty playoff implications for the Commanders if they won the game. Being that, with a win the Commanders chances of making the playoffs would be bolstered to 87%.
With that being said, the Commanders came out and set the tone immediately for the game. For the second time in three weeks Washington’s defense was able to force an early turnover on the opening possession of the game. As their All-Pro defensive lineman hawked down New York Giants quarterback, Daniel Jones, after he had broken loose for a 9-yard gain. Allen was then able to force a fumble as he stripped the ball away from Jones after tackling him from behind.
This gave the Commanders entire team an automatic boost of energy; as they continued their streak of forcing a turnover in each of their last eight games. With the Commanders taking over from inside Giants territory they were able to put together a nice 10-play drive that went for 45-yards. However, they would be held to a field goal after Taylor Heinicke threw the ball away on 3rd & Goal; giving them an early lead.
On the ensuing possession the Commanders’ defense was able to give the ball right back to the offense after forcing a quick three and out. Washington’s offense would come out guns blazing the next possession. Kicking the drive off with a nice 16-yard completion to Jahan Dotson on a dig route to the left side of the field; putting them in Giants’ territory.
After a few nice runs from both Brian Robinson and Antonio Gibson the Commanders were once again in scoring position. However, they would find themselves in another third down situation while in Giants territory. Although, this time they were able to convert the third down; as Heincike connected with Terry McLaurin on a drag route on the right side of the field.
Once he brought the ball in McLaurin was able to break through a tackle and waltz in for the Commanders first touchdown of the game. Thus, giving them an early 10-0 lead; as the game seemed to be in their complete control.
Commanders Young Receivers Ignite Come Back
With just under four minutes left to go in regulation the Commanders were still trailing the New York Giants 20-13. As their offense seemingly was nonexistent for the majority of the second half of the game. Therefore, they were in dire need to get things back going if they were going to have a shot at coming back.
Though things weren’t looking promising to start the drive; as they were faced with an early fourth down from their own 27-yard line. With that, the Commanders’ fate was going to be determined on whether or not they could convert on fourth down. As they put the ball into the hands of Taylor Heinicke, who was met with immediate pressure from the Giants’ defense as he dropped back.
However, Heinicke was able to keep composure and scramble out to his left to buy some time. As the New York Giants defenders were nearing him he was able to look down the field and find Curtis Samuel up the right sideline for a 20-yard gain to put them into Giants territory.
After that play the Commanders found new life; and also found them a weak link in the Giants’ defense. With the Giants now having practice squad player, Zyon Gilbert, out on the field trying to guard Curtis Samuel one on one.
For the rest of the drive the game plan seemed to be to throw to whoever Gilbert was covering. Which is exactly what the Commanders did; as a few plays later Heinicke was able to connect with Samuel once again for a 25-yard gain. As he sprung himself open on an exceptional corner route that left Gilbert in his rearview.
Ensuing that big play, the Commanders were licking their chops as they now had Gilbert matched up on Jahan Dotson in the slot. Sure enough that’s right where Heinicke went with the ball. As he was able to hit Dotson on a drag route towards the left side of the field. Who then broke free from Gilbert and delivered a perfect spin move on a Giants’ defender. As he then ran untouched up the right sideline into the end zone to tie the game up at 20.
Mishaps Hurt Commanders’ Against New York Giants
Statistically this was a game where the Commanders’ offense was able to control the game. As they possessed the ball for 13 minutes longer than the New York Giants, and also put up better numbers in each offensive statistical category. Which has been their winning formula for their success over the past eight weeks.
Unfortunately for the Commanders, their offense was not able to take advantage of the many opportunities that they had to put them ahead. Due to them shooting themselves in the foot multiple times down the stretch of the game.
As they would start off the second half with a costly turnover. Just three plays into the third quarter Giants’ defensive lineman, Azeez Ojulari, was able to get pressure on Taylor Heinicke and knock the ball free just as he was about to throw the ball. The New York Giants would then go on to cash in a touchdown on 2nd & Goal; which put them ahead 20-13.
The ensuing possession Washington looked to even things up as they were beginning to put together a nice drive. Which featured a heavy dose of feeding the ball to Brian Robinson who was gaining some tough yards. However, a questionable blocking in the back penalty on tight end, Logan Thomas, would negate a positive run from Curtis Samuel. Essentially that was the demise of the drive; as they were not able to regain their traction and were forced to punt.
Seemingly this was the story for the Commanders’ offense for the third quarter and majority of the fourth. As all four of their offensive penalties came during this period in the game. The penalties seemingly halted any momentum that the offense was building and forced them to stall as they were trying to come back in the game late.
Their biggest penalty would come early in the fourth quarter as they were driving deep into Giants territory to potentially tie the game up. While at the New York Giants 25-yard line Brian Robinson was able to break it loose for a 10-yard run. However, at the end of the play there was some laundry on the ground as a result of a hold from tight end, Cole Turner. Which turned a first down run now into a 1st & 20 for the offense.
Ultimately, that play set the Commanders’ offense back and they were unable to regain the loss yardage and extend the drive. Thus, forcing them to have to settle for a field goal attempt from 52-yards to cut into the New York Giants seven-point lead. However, Joey Slye was unsuccessful in his attempt as he hooked it right of the uprights.
Leaving the Commanders empty handed after putting together a nice drive. While they were able to come back in the end to tie the game. Those three points that were missed from that kick were the same three points that would have given them the victory.
Now the Commanders head back home as they go into a much-needed bye week. Which will allow for them to rest and also get some key players back. As they look to tweak a few things ahead of their Week 15 rematch against the New York Giants after the bye week.