By Ken O’Connor
Rookie linebacker Tae Crowder’s 43-yard return of a fumble for a tie-breaking touchdown and Dexter Lawrence sniffing out a two-point conversion attempt in the fourth quarter were the key plays in a 20-19 win Giants win over WFT that put to bed fears of the Giants finishing with just the NFL’s third-ever 0-16 record.
The victory was Joe Judge’s first as head coach of the Giants.
Beating Washington has been the one constant during a four-year malaise inflicting the Giants, who have earned five of their NFL-low 13 wins since 2017 at the expense of their fellow NFC East bottom-feeder.
Playing as a favorite for the first and maybe only time this season, the Giants (1-5) jumped out to a 10-point lead but were precariously positioned with less than four minutes to go. But Washington quarterback Kyle Allen was strip-sacked by Kyler Fackrell, and Crowder — the last pick of the 2020 NFL Draft — scooped and scored.
Allen responded by leading a 75-yard touchdown drive, but Washington (1-5) attempted to win the game outright by going for two. Allen rolled to his left but, under pressure by Lawrence, found no targets, and the Giants sealed the win with an onside kick recovery.
The fumble recovery and conversion stop were the second and third huge plays of the game by the Giants defense, which helped increase a 3-0 first-quarter lead. James Bradberry continued his Pro Bowl-caliber season and set up great field position by intercepting Allen, his former Carolina Panthers teammate.
Daniel Jones snapped a four-game streak without a touchdown pass — the longest for the Giants since 1981 — with a 23-yard teardrop to his favorite target on third-and-6. All three of Jones’ touchdown passes this season have gone to Darius Slayton, who couldn’t slow his head of steam before banging his already injured foot against the sideline padding.