What an entertaining football game to watch... and WHAT AN ENDING!
In yet another penalty-filled affair, things seemed to be trending in the wrong direction again most of the game for Washington, who was facing an opponent in the Giants that has owned them as of late. Just when we thought things might turn around, and with an opportunity to put together a nice drive and use the clock, Taylor Heinicke threw a costly interception. However, a key defensive stop on third down forced a field goal by Graham Gano and gave the confident quarterback another chance to atone for his pervious mistake - and atone he did.
It did take a bit of luck and good fortune in terms of a costly penalty on the field goal try, but Dustin Hopkins, on his second attempt from 43 yards out (his previous miss was from 48), nailed the kick to give Washington a potentially season-saving win at home, while sending the Giants to 0-2.
Below are my Studs and Duds of the game, followed by some notes.
Taylor Heinicke - I already talked about the costly interception late in the game - and frankly, I don’t put that all on him, as the route was interrupted by a cross-defender trying to get to his man - and to his defense, there is no way Taylor can anticipate that happening.
All the veteran, making just his third NFL start did, was go an efficient 34-46 for a career high 336 passing yards and two touchdowns versus just one interception (that was not all his fault). His execution and poise on the game winning drive was what impressed me the most. He wasn’t perfect on the evening, but he was damn good, and seemed unflappable after mistakes (which is vital for a QB). And most importantly, he got his first NFL victory!
Terry McLaurin - F1 was his quarterback’s best friend on the evening, basically catching everything thrown his way. Even when coverage was tight, or the ball was not perfectly placed, Terry came away with the catch. He finished the evening with 11 receptions for 107 yards and his first score of the season.
J.D. McKissic - After a quiet showing against the Chargers, McKissic was very active against the Giants, hauling in five catches for 83 yards - none bigger than his 56 yard catch-and-run to put Washington in position to win the game. He rushed four times for 10 yards, but one of those was a touchdown. He was a key blocker as well when he was held in to help in pass protection.
Ricky Seals-Jones - Seals-Jones makes this list because of his outstanding effort on the touchdown catch, and some good blocks I saw him make on the evening. He didn’t stuff the stat sheet by any means (his 19 yard touchdown was his only reception of the game), but he made things matter when he had the chance.
Sam Cosmi - Yes, he had a costly holding call where he was beaten badly, and a personal foul on a screen pass (didn’t like that call), but considering how poor a showing he had in his first professional game last week, he looked OUTSTANDING most of the evening against a solid Giants front.
Jonathan Allen - Allen was a man-child against New York’s offensive line, collecting six total tackles, two sacks and three tackles for a loss. Despite facing frequent double teams, he was essentially unblockable.
Dustin Hopkins - Technically, the missed field goal at the end of regulation that went wide right never counted (in our minds we know it happened, but the stat sheet tells a different story). So “technically”, he was a perfect three for three on the evening with the game winner from 43 yards out and a long of 49. He was no Graham Gano, but he was..., ... well, Dustin Hopkins.
Kendall Fuller - Yet again, Fuller struggled against the Giants receivers in man coverage. He gave up multiple big first down conversions, including a costly pass interference on third and 13 that gave the Giants another set of downs. He did have a sack in the game, but that far from relieves him of Dud status. So far, it’s been a VERY rough start to the season for the veteran.
William Jackson III - I debated putting Jackson on this list, but in my opinion, the bad outweighed the good. He had some costly penalties called against him, and gave up some easy completions - none more costly than the pass down the left sideline to Slaton for the touchdown. His miscommunication on the deep drop by Slaton later in the game (although I’ll have to re-watch to see whose fault that really was), could have been the back-breaker.
- Chase Roullier had a heck of a showing. I wasn’t focusing on him all game, but it’s possible when I go back and re-watch this game, that he should have been on the Studs list.
- Speaking of the offensive line (I already mentioned two players) - Ereck Flowers, Brandon Scherff and Charles Leno Jr. all played well!
- Both Dyami Brown and Adam Humphries showed well to help Heinicke on the evening. The rookie went high and hauled in pass over the middle early in the game. The vet provided a nice security blanket underneath and came up with some key receptions.
- Chase Young and Montez Sweat didn’t have the impact that I expected. Both were sucked in on read options that gave up chunk gains. They each made a few plays (Sweat had a sack, Young had a TFL and a few stops), but they did garner extra attention that allowed Allen to dominate inside.
- Jamin Davis finally showed up and made some plays! He had four combined tackles, and made two plays I saw in coverage (one on Shepard), that were outstanding. BIG steps for the rookie!
- Even Jon Bostic chipped in with some very solid plays. Still, hate to see him matched up on any tight end!
- Benjamin St-Juste played much better in both coverage and with sure tackling. The rookie took some steps forward, and I expect more to come.
- Jack Del Rio ran a TON of 5-man fronts this game. It did slow down Saquon Barkley, but couldn’t stop Daniel Jones’ legs.