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How Washington allowed a 97-yard touchdown drive to New York

Giants quarterback Daniel Jones made some big time throws on the Giants 97-yard touchdown drive. But Washington had several opportunities to get off the field. Here are the key moments of the drive.

New York Giants v Washington Commanders Photo by Todd Olszewski/Getty Images

The New York Giants offense scored 13 points against the Washington Commanders on Sunday night. New York’s biggest, most impactful drive of the night came in the second quarter, with ten minutes on the clock.

Here are some critical moments throughout the drive that led to a 97-yard touchdown drive.

Context: 2nd quarter, 2nd and eight at New York’s five-yard line.

After a Saquon Barkley three-yard run, New York is faced with a 2nd and eight situation. The Giants employ 13 personnel, and Washington matches the Giants package with their 5-2-4 defense with LBs Jamin Davis and David Mayo in on the second level. The Giants execute a timely boot-action from this alignment, selling a run look that sucks up the second-level defenders and leaves holes in their Cover 4 zone. The zone run fake to the right side of the offense successfully gets Davis and Mayo out of position and unable to defend the tight end Nick Vannett in the flat once DE Casey Toohill releases to pursue QB Daniel Jones.

Context: 2nd quarter, 1st and ten at New York’s 30-yard line.

Context: 2nd quarter, 3rd and nine at New York’s 31-yard line.

Shortly after Vannett’s completion, the Giants extended their drive after a Barkley six-yard reception for a first down. However, following that conversion, Commanders DT Jon Allen blew up the Giants zone run when the Giants Center Jon Feliciano failed to reach block Allen (and his LG gave him no help).

The Giants ultimately faced a 3rd and 9, another opportunity for Washington to get off the field. The Giants run a curls concept from 11 personnel, in a 3x1 formation, with three receivers to the field side. This alignment and the Commanders coverage call (Cover 3) put slot cornerback Bobby McCain in conflict as both the Giants slot receiver and tight end run a vertical stem. McCain comes down to the flat from a late rotation into their coverage and is trying to protect against the receiver and tight end. Daniel Jones does a good job exploiting McCain’s positioning with an excellent throw to receiver Richie James under pressure, converting on a ten-yard pickup.

Context: 2nd quarter, 4th and nine at Washington’s 35-yard line.

Nine (!) plays later, Washington’s defense is afforded another opportunity to get off the field, as the Giants chose against punting or kicking the field goal in this spot. Defensive Coordinator Jack Del Rio adjusts his plan of attack by switching to a Cover 2-man, requiring his cornerbacks to play man against the receivers and the safeties to stay overtop of them in zone coverage. Slot receiver James takes advantage of McCain’s leverage by attacking with an inside release before pressing vertically in his stem. His release created instant separation in his route and at the breakpoint as Jones made a tight-window throw for a first down.

Context: 2nd quarter, 1st and ten at Washington’s 24-yard line.

Following the fourth-down conversion, Del Rio reverts to zone coverage, implementing a cover-2 zone on this play. The Giants essentially run a slant-flat combination between receivers Darius Slayton and Isaiah Hodgins on the boundary side of the formation. Jones manipulates the 2nd-level throw window by showing his eyes to the flat receiver, which gets McCain to vacate his zone responsibility and chase Slayton. Jones fires the pass where McCain left for the longest play of the drive, setting the Giants up with a goal-to-go situation that they score on.

The Giants offense had a hell of a drive, with big-time throws on quick decisions by their quarterback Daniel Jones. While the depth of each target was not beyond the second level, he was accurate and performed under duress at times on that drive and exploiting Washington defenders in critical situations.

Watch the full Giants vs. Commanders film session here

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