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Recap: Giants force 5 turnovers in 23-20 victory

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LB Blake Martinez finished with a team-high 10 tackles (three solo), two passes defended and an interception.

AT A GLANCE

If only the Giants could play the Washington Football Team every week. On a sunny Sunday afternoon outside the nation's capital, the Giants today improved their 2020 record to 2-7 with a 23-20 victory against the Washington Football Team. Both victories are against Washington, a division opponent they have now defeated four consecutive times. In typical Giants fashion, this one was a close game; the triumph was secured only when safeties Jabrill Peppers and Logan Ryan intercepted Alex Smith passes in the final 2:18. They were the last of the Giants' five takeaways, their highest total since 2014. They did not have a turnover.

UP NEXT

The Giants will again attempt to end their losing streak to Philadelphia when they host the Eagles on Sunday, Nov. 15, in MetLife Stadium. On Oct. 22, the Giants built an 11-point fourth-quarter lead but lost their eighth consecutive game in the series when Philadelphia scored 12 late points to pull out a 22-21 victory in Lincoln Financial Field. The Giants will try to avoid getting sept by their division rivals in a fourth consecutive season. The Giants are 2-8 against the Eagles in MetLife (plus 0-1 in the postseason). The game vs Philadelphia will be the Giants' last prior to their bye. They are 20-11 (.645) prior to a regular-season bye, but have lost their last three such games.

WHAT WE LEARNED ABOUT THE OFFENSE

The Giants gained a season-best 402 yards, their highest total since they gained 552 yards – in their previous game in Washington last Dec. 22.

It was a big day for the Giants' 2017 draft class. Wayne Gallman, chosen in the fourth round, scored the Giants' first touchdown on a two-yard run in the first quarter. It was Gallman's third rushing touchdown in as many games, a feat last accomplished by a Giants player when Saquon Barkley ran for touchdowns in the final three games of the 2019 season.

Tight end Evan Engram, the 23rd overall selection in that draft, caught his first touchdown pass of the season on a 16-yard throw from Daniel Jones with 2:05 left in the second quarter. Engram scored on a reception since Oct. 27, 2019 in Detroit (a two-yarder). The touchdown, however, was his second of the season; Engram scored on a three-yard run in Dallas on Oct. 11.

The Giants rushed for 109 yards in the first half. Since the start of the 2019 season, the Giants have twice run for more than 100 yards in a first half – in both of their games in Washington, where they rushed for 135 yards in the first two quarters last year.

The Giants rushed for a season-high 166 yards, their fourth consecutive 100-yard game.

Jones did not commit a turnover for the second time in his 21 career starts- the first came in last year's win in Washington. His 50-yard completion to rookie Alex Mack was the Giants' longest pass play of the season. The previous long was a 41-yarder to Darius Slayton in the season opener vs. Pittsburgh. The Giants' longest play of the season was Jones' 80-yard run in Philadelphia.

WHAT WE LEARNED ABOUT THE DEFENSE

The Giants' defense was opportunistic in the first half, when it forced two of Washington's three turnovers. It began on Washington's first offensive play, when Jabrill Peppers recovered the ball after a fumble by rookie running back Antonio Gibson that was forced by fellow defensive back Logan Ryan. Gibson gain 20 yards after a pass from Kyle Allen before Ryan forced out the ball, prompting a wild scramble during which several players had a chance to secure the ball before Peppers final did.

The forced fumble was the second of the season for Ryan (also one at Chicago on Sept. 20) and the 10th of his career. Peppers' recovery was the fifth of his career and first since Dec. 30, 2018, when he played for Cleveland at Baltimore.

Washington's turnover was the first forced by the Giants on their opponent's first offensive play since Nov. 4, 2019, when safety Antoine Bethea intercepted a pass thrown by Dallas' Dak Prescott.

With 49 seconds remaining in the second quarter, linebacker Blake Martinez intercepted a pass thrown by Alex Smith, who replaced starter Kyle Allen (ankle injury). Running back J.D. McKissic slipped and fell on the play and Martinez opportunistically took advantage. It was Martinez's first pick with the Giants, the fourth of his career and first since he intercepted Detroit's David Blough while playing for Green Bay on Dec. 29, 2019.

The defense came up with two key takeaways with Washington hoping to take the lead or tie the score late in the game. With 2:18 remaining in the fourth quarter, Peppers intercepted an overthrown Smith pass for J.D. McKissic. Peppers had a fumble recovery and interception in the game. He was the first Giants defender with that triple play since Kerry Wynn at St. Lois on Dec. 21, 2014.

Peppers' pick was his first of the season and first since Sept. 29, 2019, when he intercepted a Dwayne Haskins' pass and returned it 32 yards for a touchdown – against Washington.

After the Giants punted, Washington still had a chance to pull out the win. But Ryan intercepted Smith's final pass with 1:15 left to seal the Giants' victory. It was his first interception with the Giants and first since Dec. 1, 2019, for Tennessee at Indianapolis.

Terry McLaurin's 64-yard touchdown reception was the longest play allowed by the Giants in 2020. The previous long was a 59-yard Carson Wentz pass to John Hightower in Philadelphia on Oct. 22.

WHAT WE LEARNED ABOUT SPECIAL TEAMS

The Giants' punt team kept pace with the defense when it recovered a first-quarter fumble by a Washington rookie. Isaiah Wright mishandled a Riley Dixon punt and the ball was recovered by Giants defensive back Madre Harper – also a rookie – the first recovery of his career, in his sixth game.

Graham Gano kicked field goals of 38, 48 and 42 yards and has succeeded on 18 consecutive attempts.

INJURY REPORT

NYG: Tight end Kaden Smith left the game in the second half with a concussion.

WAS: Quarterback Kyle Allen was carted off with an apparently serious ankle injury suffered on a Peppers sack in the first quarter.

INACTIVES

NYG: The Giants' inactive players were running back Devonta Freeman (ankle), wide receiver Golden Tate, cornerback Brandon Williams, guard Kenny Wiggins, right end Eric Tomlinson, defensive lineman RJ McIntosh and tackle Jackson Barton.

WAS: Washington's inactive players were quarterback Dwayne Haskins, Jr., wide receivers Dontrelle Inman, Tony Brown and Robert Foster, linebacker Thomas Davis, Sr., tackle Geron Christian, Sr. and defensive end Casey Toohill.

LINEUP CHANGES

NYG: The Giants opened the game with two tight ends but neither of them was Evan Engram. The starters were Kaden Smith and Levine Toilolo. Smith made his eighth start in nine games and Toilolo is second of the season.

Running back Wayne Gallman started his second consecutive game and third of the season. Rookie fifth-round Shane Lemiuex started his second straight game at left guard in place of Will Hernandez, who is still on the Reserve/Covid-19 list.

On defense, linebacker David Mayo, who missed the season's first five games after undergoing knee surgery, made his first start. He started the final 13 games of the 2019 season.

Outside linebacker Trent Harris made his first start for the Giants, in his third game with the team, and first since the 2019 season finale for Miami, at New England.

WAS: Steven Sims, Jr. and Cam Sims started at wide receiver for Isaiah Wright and Dontrelle Inman (inactive), respectively. Cornelius Lucas started at left tackle in place of Geron Christian, Sr., who was inactive.

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