AT A GLANCE: With both sides looking to avoid a 0-2 hole to start the season, the New York Giants and Washington Football Team put on a show for the country on Thursday Night Football. In a back-and-forth battle between NFC East rivals that saw five lead changes – three in the fourth quarter alone – Washington ultimately came out on top. Dustin Hopkins, who got a second chance due to an offsides penalty by the Giants, made a 43-yard field goal with no time remaining for a 30-29 victory.
UP NEXT: After playing two games in a five-day span, the Giants (0-2) won't hit the field again for 10 days. They take on the Atlanta Falcons at home in Week 3, a game in which two-time Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning will be inducted into the Giants Ring of Honor and have his No. 10 jersey retired. Atlanta lost to Philadelphia 32-6 in Week 1 and plays Tampa Bay on Sunday.
Check out the best photos from the New York Giants' primetime game against the Washington Football Team.
WHAT WE LEARNED ABOUT THE OFFENSE
*Hours before kickoff, guard Shane Lemieux was placed on injured reserve. Matt Skura, who has started 52 of the 57 regular-season and postseason games in which he's played, was signed off the practice squad to replace him. In addition, the Giants elevated wide receiver/kickoff returner C.J. Board and tight end Chris Myarick from the practice squad to their game roster.
*With Lemieux out, the Giants shuffled their interior offensive line. Center Nick Gates, one of seven team captains for 2021, moved to left guard. Billy Price moved to center and made his first start for the Giants after being acquired in a trade with the Bengals less than three weeks ago. That left them with the following starting lineup: LT Andrew Thomas, LG Nick Gates, C Billy Price, RG Will Hernandez, RT Nate Solder.
*The Giants couldn't have drawn it up any better on their first drive. Daniel Jones marched the team 79 yards on 11 plays, capped by a six-yard touchdown run by the quarterback. On the next drive, however, a gruesome injury brought the game to a halt. Gates suffered a lower leg fracture that required an air cast. The entire team surrounded Gates, who was seen smiling, before he was carted off the field. Ben Bredeson replaced him.
*Saquon Barkley, who set a franchise record with 279 yards from scrimmage in his last trip to FedExField in 2019, broke a 41-yard run in the first half. Earlier in the week, Barkley said "explosiveness" was not a problem coming off his much-anticipated return from injury in Week 1, when he had 10 carries for 26 yards. Thursday was his second game in five days after not playing in nearly a year.
*Jones was dangerous with his legs, rushing nine times for 95 yards with a long of 46 yards. Jones had 65 rushing attempts for 423 yards (6.5-yard average) last season, a franchise record for a Giants quarterback in the Super Bowl era. Pro Football Hall of Famer Fran Tarkenton previously held the record with 306 yards in 1967. Jones completed 22 of 32 passes for 249 yards and a touchdown to Darius Slayton.
*TE Evan Engram missed his second consecutive game with a calf injury.
WHAT WE LEARNED ABOUT THE DEFENSE
*With a sack to end Washington's opening drive, second-round pick Azeez Ojulari became the first rookie in franchise history with sacks in each of his first two NFL games. He took down backup quarterback Taylor Heinicke, who started in place of Ryan Fitzpatrick (placed on injured reserve with a hip injury). Note: Sacks became an official stat in 1982. The Giants didn't have another sack or tackle for loss for the rest of the game.
*After the Giants retook a six-point lead with under five minutes left in the game, the defense allowed a 56-yard catch-and-run to RB J.D. McKissic. On the very next play, Heinicke hit TE Ricky Seals-Jones for a touchdown and a one-point Washington lead.
*Just when things looked bleak, Pro Bowl CB James Bradberry redeemed the group and intercepted Heinicke in Washington territory. It led to a go-ahead field goal for the Giants with two minutes remaining. However, it would not be enough.
WHAT WE LEARNED ABOUT SPECIAL TEAMS
*It's only Thursday night, but Graham Gano set the bar high for Special Teams Player of the Week honors. He made all five of his field goal attempts from 23, 47, 52, 55, and 35 yards, extending his streak to 35 in a row. But it was Washington's kicker who left the field victorious. After missing a 48-yard attempt as time expired, Dustin Hopkins got another chance to win the game due to an offside penalty on DT Dexter Lawrence. With the ball five yards closer now, Hopkins made the game-winner.
NYG: OL Nick Gates (lower leg fracture)
WFT: DT Matt Ioannidis (knee)
NYG: TE Evan Engram (calf), WR Collin Johnson, CB Josh Jackson, CB Sam Beal, LB Justin Hilliard, LB Cam Brown, LB Quincy Roche
WFT: CB Darryl Roberts, DE Shake Toney, OT Saahdiq Charles, TE Sammis Reyes
NYG: Nick Gates to LG; Billy Price to C