The Giants found just about every way to lose a game on Sunday but won anyway.
Joe Judge earned his first victory as an NFL head coach, 20-19, over Washington, thanks to a late defensive touchdown and a two-point conversion stand with 36 seconds remaining.
Rookie linebacker Tae Crowder broke a 13-13 tie with 3:29 remaining by returning a fumble by Washington QB Kyle Allen 43 yards for a touchdown. Allen coughed the ball up while in the grasp of a Kyler Fackrell sack.
Then after the Giants defense surrendered a 75-yard touchdown drive, Washington coach Ron Rivera went for two points and the win rather than kicking the extra point. And Dexter Lawrence and Blake Martinez hit a scrambling Allen and forced an incomplete pass.
Logan Ryan, who’d been beaten by Washington tight end Cam Sims on Allen’s 22-yard game-tying TD pass, recovered the onsides kick to seal it.
The Giants (1-5) narrowly avoided falling to 0-6 for the third time in the last eight years and now hold a head-to-head win in division against Washington (1-5). They could end up being just one win out of first place in the NFC East by the end of the weekend depending on how the Cowboys (2-3) fare against the Cardinals on Monday night.
Daniel Jones threw his first touchdown pass since Week 1: a 23-yarder to Darius Slayton in the first quarter. And he rushed seven times for 74 yards, including a 49-yard run in the first half that marked the Giants’ longest offensive play all season.
But Jones finished with a career-low 112 yards passing and threw a horrendous third quarter interception in the end zone to Washington corner Kendall Fuller that negated a nine-minute, 14-second drive.
The Giants also looked like they were finding new ways to lose a game.
In the second quarter, with the Giants up 13-3, defensive tackle Austin Johnson roughed Washington punter Tress Way on 4th and 9. Way had pinned the Giants inside their own 1-yard line on his punt, but Rivera went for it on 4th and 4 from the 40-yard line and the call paid off.
Washington converted, and Allen hit Logan Thomas on a 5-yard fade TD pass with 17 seconds left to narrow the halftime deficit to 13-10.
It marked the fifth time in six games that the Giants defense allowed a touchdown drive of 70 yards or longer in the final two minutes of a first half.
Judge coached ultra-conservatively, meanwhile, in comparison to Rivera.
In the third quarter, the Giants had the ball 4th and 2 at the Washington 38-yard line and opted to take a delay of game penalty and punt.
It didn’t end up backfiring. In fact, Washington’s punt led to the Giants’ long drive. But Jones’ interception under pressure from Chase Young washed away the run-heavy drive.
Several Giants gutted out injuries during the game, including Martinez, Lawrence and strong safety Jabrill Peppers. Martinez and Lawrence both were tested for concussions mid-game but cleared the protocol and returned.
Wide receiver C.J. Board was carted off and taken to a local hospital with a concussion and a sprained neck.
Rookie first-round pick Andrew Thomas was benched for the first couple series at left tackle in favor of rookie third-round tackle Matt Peart, and they rotated playing time in the second half, as well.
The Giants have a quick turnaround to travel to Philadelphia to take on the Eagles on Thursday night in front of 7,500 fans at Lincoln Financial Field.
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