NY Giants: Interceptions by Logan Ryan and Jabrill Peppers help Big Blue escape Washington
There is no denying that this was one of those plays where, had Daniel Jones lost the football yet again, the Giants more than likely would have gone and lost the game.
That's the Big Blue version of Murphy's Law - call it Jones' law, if you must - and in just about every game this season, a turnover by the Giants' quarterback has swung the momentum against his team, putting the opposition in position for victory.
So when Washington safety Kamren Curl came racing into the backfield from the blind side for a sack, the fact that Jones held onto the football turned out to be a game-changing moment just before the two-minute warning.
No turnover, and ultimately no last-minute meltdown.
Interceptions by Jabrill Peppers and Logan Ryan in the game's final 2:18, including the one for Ryan that followed that sack of Jones sealed the Giants' 23-20 triumph over Washington at FedEx Field.
For just the second time in his career, Jones did not commit a turnover.
Jones is now 4-0 in his career against Washington (2-6), and for the first time since their last meeting at FedExField, he closed out the game without an interception or a lost fumble. That marks just his second game of doing that for the Giants (2-7), who could really complicate the muddied NFC East picture by beating the first-place Eagles at MetLife Stadium next Sunday.
Jones finished 23-of-34 for 212 yards, a touchdown and a quarterback rating of 94.2.
The Giants were on their heels in the second half thanks to the remarkable comeback of Washington quarterback Alex Smith, who finished 24-of-32 for 325 yards and a touchdown after Kyle Allen suffered a serious ankle injury in the first half.
But Smith threw three touchdowns, including those to Peppers and Ryan, and the Giants secured the second win of Joe Judge's coaching tenure.
Giants 23, Washington 20
The Giants led by 17 points and now yet another game might be slipping away.
Washington has scored 10 points in a little more than four minutes early in the fourth quarter, and the biggest play was a 68-yard touchdown from Alex Smith to Terry McLaurin on which Isaac Yiadom completely whiffed on a tackle. Logan Ryan also overran the play, allowing McLaurin a clear lane to the end zone.
Giants 23, Washington 13
The Giants came ready to play at the start of the game.
The defense let that focus lapse to begin the second half and Washington is right back in the game. Antonio Gibson's touchdown run capped a quick response by Washington, including a 45-yard catch-and-run by wide receiver Cam Sims. Washington got Jabrill Peppers to completely bite on a fake bubble screen, letting Sims to streak into the open field for an easy completion.
Four plays later, Gibson scored from one yard out and Washington found some momentum after a listless first half.
Halftime: Giants 20, Washington 3
Things are clicking right now for the Giants, and Evan Engram has joined the first-half party. He responded after juggling and dropping a Daniel Jones pass in the first quarter, almost turning that into an interception, making an incredibly difficult catch look easy for a touchdown that extended the Giants' lead to 20-3 at halftime.
Jones threw a perfect ball, putting where only Engram could get it, and the Giants' tight end fully extended in the air before pulling the football in for a 16-yard TD reception.
The Giants' offensive line is dominating in the second quarter with Wayne Gallman, Alfred Morris and Dion Lewis combining to put the ground game over 100 yards for the fourth consecutive game.
Washington has three turnovers, including a Blake Martinez interception of Alex Smith late in the first half that cost the Football Team points.
The Giants are doing to Washington what Washington did to the Giants three weeks ago. In the first half of their Oct. 18 meeting: Washington 36-19 in offensive plays.
Today: Giants 44-21 in offensive plays.
Giants 10, Washington 3
Wayne Gallman has his third rushing touchdown in as many games and the Giants have turned two turnovers into 10 points, taking advantage of sloppy play by Washington.
A pivotal turning point may end up being Washington losing starting quarterback Kyle Allen to a serious left ankle injury. Alex Smith replaced Allen, who was hurt when Giants safety Jabrill Peppers was blocked into the backfield and his legs caught Allen's legs awkwardly.
Allen's left leg was immediately placed in an air cast and he was carted off the field. Peppers was whistled for a personal foul for unnecessary roughness.
The personal foul call on Peppers comes down to intent, and I didn't see intent. End result of the play with Allen getting seriously hurt certainly adds to how the play will be judged. But again, looked to me like Peppers' momentum from being blocked led to the leg whip.
The Giants' defense held Washington to a field goal.
Daniel Jones has started one game in his NFL career (21 starts) in which he has not thrown an interception and did not lose a fumble:
That was the last time he was at FedEx Field against Washington: 28-of-42, 352 yards and five touchdown passes in the Giants' 41-35 overtime victory for the Giants on Dec. 22, 2019.
Just win a football game.
Doesn't matter about the division.
Don't be ridiculous and pull playoff talk into the conversation at this point.
The Giants (1-7) need to win a football game, and they'll beat Washington if they play their best game of the season. No reason to hype up anything else.
You want to have a different conversation about the Giants in a week if they go out and beat Washington, and then beat the Eagles for the first time since what seems like 1968? Feel free. There will be time for that.
Until then, just win today. Nothing else matters.
The Giants will play without wide receiver Golden Tate, who was left home by coach Joe Judge.
One key absence for Washington is wide receiver Dontrelle Inman, who crushed the Giants in the first meeting with five catches for 45 yards, including four receptions in the second half when James Bradberry shifted to traveling with Terry McLaurin.
Three of Inman's catches in the second half went for first downs.
Giants inactives: Golden Tate, RB Devonta Freeman, OT Jackson Barton, G Kenny Wiggins, TE Eric Tomlinson, DL RJ McIntosh, CB Brandon Williams
Washington inactives: Inman, QB Dwayne Haskins, WR Tony Brown, WR Robert Foster, LB Thomas Davis, OL Geron Christian, DE Casey Toohill
Art Stapleton is the Giants beat writer for NorthJersey.com. For unlimited access to all Giants analysis, news, trades and more, please subscribe today and sign up for our NFC East newsletter.