This was the first time in Giants’ history that they won a football game while suffering eight or more sacks. Tommy DeVito was sacked nine times against a Washington team who traded two first-round edge rushers a few weeks ago (Montez Sweat and Chase Young) and lost Efe Obada in the first quarter.
Still, DeVito threw for 246 yards with three touchdowns. It was DeVito’s first victory as a starting quarterback.
Wink Martindale’s defense bounced back from last week’s game by forcing six Washington turnovers. The defense sacked quarterback Sam Howell four times and created five turnovers, including a pick six to seal the victory in the final minute of the game. The sixth Washington turnover was forced by special teams.
Running back Saquon Barkley was also a critical catalyst to victory. The Giants had zero rushing yards until Barkley broke off a 36-yard scamper at the end of third quarter. Barkley proved his worth as a receiver by securing four of five targets for 57 yards with two receiving touchdowns. His usage wasn’t limited to typical “running back” routes, as he was targeted on the vertical plane from a split-out position.
It’s pleasant to experience a victory, albeit a statistically peculiar one. Similar to the Giants’ Week 7 victory against Washington, the Commanders had an opportunity to win or tie on the final drive. Both times, the Giants’ defense answered the call.
The victory certainly has draft ramifications. But, for now, we’ll enjoy the uncommon feeling of a 2023 New York Giants’ victory. Here are the plays, or sequence of plays, that led to the dub.
Play(s) 1: Pick city
The Giants were tied for last with the Raiders in interceptions last season. They only had six. That changed in 2023, as the Giants now have nine interceptions on the season; three of which were recorded in Week 9:
Nick McCloud's first career INT!— New York Giants (@Giants) November 19, 2023
: FOX pic.twitter.com/ATk4ogctR3
Nick McCloud (44) recorded his first career interception early in the affair to record one-sixth of the Giants’ turnovers forced. Washington ran a post-seam concept and the post-side safety reacted to a route underneath; that safety was Sam Howell’s (14) read, but McCloud stayed in the hip-pocket of Dyami Brown (2). Howell’s throw was perfectly placed toward the positioning/leverage of McCloud, who continues to impress with the snaps he receives.
Howell escaped and moved away from the blitz side where Jason Pinnock (27) was flying in pursuit. Dexter Lawrence (97) did an excellent job to cut off the angle of Howell as a rusher, while contacting Howell to alter his throw that landed comfortably in the arms of Darnay Holmes (30).
Isaiah Simmons seals the deal!— New York Giants (@Giants) November 19, 2023
: FOX pic.twitter.com/u69nooxYjK
Isaiah Simmons (19) sealed the victory with a pick-six. Kayvon Thibodueax (5) and Azeez Ojulari (51) rush wide to force Howell to step up into the pocket, where Lawrence was waiting; this made Howell throw off-balance to the flat.
Play(s) 2: Peanut punchin’ in DC
Halloween was a few weeks ago, but Bobby Okereke did his best Charles “Peanut” Tillman impression against Washington. Okereke forced two fumbles with two accurate, aggressive punches, one of which was recovered by New York:
Bobby Okereke punches it out!— New York Giants (@Giants) November 19, 2023
: FOX pic.twitter.com/dOh4QYsEIx
(this one was recovered by Washington)
Before his ejection for fighting with Curtis Samuel, Cor’Dale Flott (28) punched this football away from Logan Thomas (82).
Cor'Dale Flott was throwing punches before he was throwing punches pic.twitter.com/QFa9vKiCru— Nick Falato (@nickfalato) November 19, 2023
The other forced fumble was on the opening kickoff of the second half. McCloud was the primary defender to deliver the hit and safety Gervarrius Owens (39) fell on the football which set up the Giants at Washington’s 34-yard line. Unfortunately, the Giants went three-and-out while suffering two sacks.
Play(s) 3: Saquon Barkley the receiver
Tommy Devito to Saquon Barkley TD. pic.twitter.com/r6LpSLiKZb— Giants Today (@NYGToday) November 19, 2023
Tommy Devito & Saquon Barkley (24-yd TD)— Next Gen Stats (@NextGenStats) November 19, 2023
Air Distance: 42.6 yds
Sideline Distance: 1.3 yds
Completion Probability: 24.4%*
*Most improbable completion by the Giants this season#NYGvsWAS | #NYGiants pic.twitter.com/noMRritDd0
DeVito delivered a 24-yard dime to Saquon Barkley (26) for the Giants’ first points of the game. Barkley ran a beautiful wheel route with excellent tempo; as the Jamin Davis (52) assumed man coverage to the inside, Barkley slowed his momentum to sell a potential break, but exploded up the field with leverage to the sideline.
For the second game in a row, Barkley torched Davis for a touchdown in man coverage. DeVito’s pass was placed well away from the safety with perfect touch to allow Barkley to run underneath the pass.
Saquon Barkley cashes in his second TD of the day pic.twitter.com/wB0BUWjKti— The Daily Collegian (@DailyCollegian) November 19, 2023
Barkley quickly released through the line of scrimmage and away from Kamren Curl (31). This is a very low-key good throw from DeVito, who had to place the football outside of Barkley and away from Curl’s path, who wasn’t in poor coverage. Great job by both DeVito and Barkley to help the Giants go up multiple scores in the fourth quarter.
Heck of a catch by Saquon Barkley on the first drive for the Giants.pic.twitter.com/UjHOpO1e1g— Doug Rush (@TheDougRush) November 19, 2023
This catch by Saquon Barkley pic.twitter.com/9ctYMvn2RU— Nick Falato (@nickfalato) November 19, 2023
Barkley also had this impressive catch on the Giants’ first drive. DeVito did an excellent job escaping the pocket while keeping his eyes downfield before finding Barkley for this 21-yard catch.
Play(s) 4: Kayvon Thibodeaux
The Kayvon bust narrative isn’t aging well. Thibodeaux is actualizing his talent at the young age of 22. He harassed veteran tackle Charles Leno Jr., and also let him know about it:
#Giants Kayvon Thibodeaux told #Commanders OT Charles Leno "Thank you" prior to halftime— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) November 19, 2023
Leno said: "For what?"
Thibodeaux told him: "For giving me the 10 sacks later today."
Thibodeaux recorded two sacks in the game, bringing his season total to 10.5 sacks. Thibodeaux had several plays against the run, applied a lot of pressure off the edge, and was a nuisance for Howell all game. Here are some other highlights from Thibodeaux:
One undeniable positive of this lost season...Kayvon Thibodeaux is a BEAST. He's become more impactful rushing the passer and maintained this type of impact against the run. pic.twitter.com/Sjh7VUD3wI— Strickly NFL (@StricklyNFLPod) November 19, 2023
Kayvon Thibodeaux with another big time CLEAR pressure on Sam Howell, his second of the game, as Howell mobile enough to prevent getting sacked by him.— The Whole Delivery (@TWDTV1) November 19, 2023
What a force he is. I need to see more from Top 2 pick Aidan Hutchinson like this. #NFL pic.twitter.com/SbaVEfEOap
Play 5: DeVito’s patience
Great play by Tommy Devito on 3rd & 13— Nick Falato (@nickfalato) November 20, 2023
Had the checkdown (Bellinger) wide open but had the patience to wait for Darius Slayton to come open on the dig
Good pocket and a great throw in a tight window to set up Saquon Barkley's first touchdown reception of the game. pic.twitter.com/0IvmNp8L6i
DeVito and the Giants converted a third-and-13 right before Barkley’s first receiving touchdown. DeVito showed excellent understanding of the situation - with a good pocket - to deliver this strike to Darius Slayton on the dig route off Wan’Dale Robinson’s (17) clear-out. The window wasn’t wide, but DeVito delivered with ease.
On the next play, DeVito threw another gem, which, again, was Barkley’s first receiving touchdown. The drive that set up the 40 yard Darius Slayton touchdown is easily a sequence of plays that could earn a spot; not only was DeVito’s pass to Slayton off the play action important, but the rhythm of the offense on the quick pass to Jalin Hyatt, as well as the two plays to Robinson, were impressive.