The New York Giants (0-2) fell short, 30-29, to the Washington Football Team (1-1) at FedExField on Thursday night in a game defined by lead changes and missed opportunities.
The Giants were leading 29-27 with two minutes left to play and the Football Team had the ball. Taylor Heinicke drove Washington down the field to set up a 48-yard field goal by Dustin Hopkins. But an offsides penalty on Dexter Lawrence made it 43 yards and Hopkins converted the kick to secure a 30-29 victory as time expired.
Despite starting on their own 21-yard line, the Giants were able to get off to a strong start on their opening drive. A strong block by Kaden Smith allowed Jones to run for 15 yards down the sideline to move up to the Washington 29-yard line. Jones finished what he started by running it up the middle for a six-yard touchdown to complete an 11-play, 79-yard scoring drive that put the Giants up 7-0 at 7:39 in the first quarter. Jones was 4-4 on the drive with 45 passing yards and 23 rushing yards.
The Giants defense got off to a strong start as it forced two straight three-and-outs. But Heinicke led the Football Team down the field in the second quarter. The signal caller, starting under center in place of the injured Ryan Fitzpatrick, completed an 11-yard touchdown pass to Terry McLaurin at 11:22 to tie the score at seven. McLaurin had four catches for 43 yards on the drive and the final two (including the TD) came against the Giants’ James Bradberry.
Jones’ rushing ability continued to be utilized throughout the first half when he ran for a 58-yard score at 6:19 in the second quarter. But a questionable holding penalty on CJ Board nullified the play and squelched the Giants’ momentum. The Giants settled for a 23-yard field goal by Graham Gano at 4:12 to take a 10-7 advantage.
Washington, however, was the team who ended the first half on a high note. J.D. McKissic rushed for a two-yard touchdown run with 23 seconds left in the half to complete a 12-play, 84-yard scoring drive. The Giants defense continued to allow chunk plays as Heinicke completed a 24-yard pass to Logan Thomas on the drive. Washington took a 14-10 lead into the locker room.
On the Giants’ opening drive of the second half, Jones led the team back down the field to set up a 47-yard field goal by Gano at 9:12 to make it 14-13.
After a quick three-and-out, the Giants offense was back on the field. A 19-yard pass from Jones to Shepard set New York up on the Washington 33-yard line. Then at 4:41 in the third quarter, Jones completed a 33-yard touchdown throw to Darius Slayton who just managed to haul in the ball down the sideline and tip-toe into the endzone for the score. The Giants took a 20-14 lead.
Both teams traded field goals back and forth throughout the third and forth quarters but the Giants maintained a 26-20 advantage with just under five minutes to play in the game.
A big drop by Slayton and back-to-back false starts forced the Giants to kick their second-straight field goal.
Washington re-took the lead when Heinicke completed a 19-yard touchdown pass to Ricky Seals-Jones with 4:33 left in the game, making the score 27-26.
With 2:22 left, Heinicke threw a pass intended for Terry McLaurin, but Giants CB James Bradberry intercepted the ball and ran it five yards to the Washington 20-yard line to give the New York offense another chance to score. Gano converted his fifth field goal when he kicked it 35 yards through the uprights to give the Giants a two-point advantage with two minutes left to play.
A 43-yard field goal by Hopkins with five seconds left in the game allowed Washington to clinch a 30-29 victory.
The Giants recorded 187 yards in the first half and the Football Team recorded 186. New York had 10 first downs and Washington had 12.
The Giants were far more successful in the run game in the first half, recording 137 yards to Washington’s 40. The Football Team meanwhile, had more success in the passing game with 146 yards to the Giants’ 50.
The Giants had the ball for 14:34 in the first half and Washington controlled the ball for 15:26.
Jones recorded more rushing yards (73) in the first half than passing yards (65). He was sacked three times.
Last time we saw Jones on Thursday Night Football against the Philadelphia Eagles, he tripped over nothing. Tonight, he led the team in rushing with 95 yards.
Jones entered the game 4-0 against Washington in his career. Tonight marked his first loss against the Football Team. Jones finished the game 22 of 32 with 249 yards and one touchdown.
Barkley had 13 rushing attempts for 57 yards.
Shepard led the team with nine receptions for 94 yards.
Blake Martinez led the team with 12 tackles.
The Giants kicked off the game in a big way with a six-yard touchdown run by Jones on the opening drive:
That’s how you finish a drive!— New York Giants (@Giants) September 17, 2021
: @nflnetwork & Giants App pic.twitter.com/PyxA06YUPo
Barkley put together a big run:
Things you love to see: pic.twitter.com/4QbTR3s1C0— New York Giants (@Giants) September 17, 2021
Jones completed a 33-yard touchdown to Slayton:
Money— New York Giants (@Giants) September 17, 2021
: @nflnetwork & Giants App pic.twitter.com/5OPiSM6on9
Bradberry’s interception in the fourth quarter:
OMG OMG OMG— New York Giants (@Giants) September 17, 2021
: @nflnetwork & Giants App pic.twitter.com/TVdNgYGJl4
Left guard Nick Gates was carted off the field in the first quarter with a lower leg fracture. Read more about Gates’ injury here.
The Giants will return home to MetLife Stadium to host the Atlanta Falcons on September 26 at 1 p.m. The game will be broadcast on FOX. Eli Manning will be inducted into the Giants’ Ring of Honor and will have his No. 10 jersey retired during a special halftime ceremony.