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The Giants and Commanders had unfinished business to tend to Sunday night after a Week 13 tie between the NFC East rivals.
Though the rematch’s outcome will be marred by a controversial no-call on the Commanders’ final offensive drive, New York’s win seemingly sealed the fate of their postseason hunt while sinking Washington’s hopes to reach the playoffs.
Whether it was the Illegal Formation call on Terry McLaurin that wiped a game-tying TD off the board or the lack of a Defensive Pass Interference call on a very handsy Darnay Holmes in the final play, referees had their fingerprints all over the Giants’ 20-12 win against the Commanders.
McLaurin’s penalty put Washington and the broadcast team in a riot after the wideout seemingly checked with the line ref twice before getting called for the formation offense.
As for the non-DPI call, Holmes was all over Samuel to prevent the game-tying score as time expired. Holmes was physically pressing the wideout the moment he stepped into the endzone.
It was a no-call the Giants simply had to stomach and thank their lucky stars for the lack of laundry on the field.
New Year, New Giants
Daniel Jones and the Giants offense stepped up when needed, both through the air and on the ground — though not at the level that a playoff-bound team ought to play.
Jones totaled 195 total yards of offense (completing 21 of 32 pass attempts) while Saquon Barkley gained chunk yardage in the second half to set up kicker Graham Gano for two made field goals, keeping the G-Men at arm’s length from Washington.
However, the crux of New York’s success was bent on the defense, which totaled three sacks, two recovered fumbles on Commanders QB Taylor Heinicke and a hyped-up defensive touchdown in the second quarter by fifth-overall pick Kayvon Thibodeaux.
With Sunday’s win, the Giants are facing their first return to the playoffs since 2016: the infamous “boat picture” team that was knocked out in the Wild Card round by the Green Bay Packers.
Despite a tough slate remaining on the Giants’ schedule (with upcoming games against Minnesota and Philadelphia), New York (8-5-1) holds an 88 percent chance of making the postseason.
Whether by luck or skill, the Giants pulled off the gutsy road win and expect to finish the year strong under rookie head coach Brian Daboll, who’s got himself a culture change on his hands in East Rutherford.