The Giants.com team reacts to the Thursday Night Football thriller and what it means for the Giants going forward.
John Schmeelk: Let's focus on a theme that carried over from Week 1 to 2. The Giants defense ranked between 10th and 12th in most major categories last season, and have yielded an additional 60 yards per game after two weeks. They are allowing 28.5 points per game. Last season, the Giants allowed more than six fewer points per game (22.3).
Melvin's Gordon 70-yard touchdown run is skewing the overall rushing numbers, so let's focus on the pass defense. In two games, the Giants have allowed six passes of 20+ yards and another for 40 yards. The Giants have only three sacks, which puts them on pace for only 26 this season after finishing with 40 last year.
Coming into the start of this season with some offensive players returning from injury, a recently banged up offensive line, and early opponents with tough defenses, the defense was going to have to play well and do the heavy lifting for the team to log some early wins. After struggling against Teddy Bridgewater and Taylor Heinicke, games are coming against Matt Ryan, Jameis Winston, Dak Prescott, Matthew Stafford, Sam Darnold, Patrick Mahomes, Derek Carr and Tom Brady.
Dan Salomone: The Giants had no time to dwell on their Week 1 loss. After Thursday night, they have nothing but an all-too-familiar 0-2 hole. They can't start digging out of it again until the following Sunday, when they return to action at home against the Atlanta Falcons. In between, they will swallow the bitter pill that was Thursday Night Football and move on – because that's all they can do. Joe Judge talks frequently about the "emotional roller coaster" throughout the course of the NFL season. Millions of viewers rode it on Thursday night, but his team can't.
"You come to my meeting on Monday when these guys get back, regardless of what the result was tonight, the meeting is the same meeting," Judge said. "This is what we did positive, this is what we have to correct, this is what we are going to be going forward, this is the focus of the team. You got to keep it here. I understand, on the outside world, it's that greatest of all time, worst of all time, that emotional roller coaster. Everyone wants to go ahead, it's doomsday or we are the greatest team in the world. That's just the nature of it. We got a week in between games. This isn't Major League Baseball, this isn't the NBA, this isn't where you turn around the next day and just play. So, we've got to go and understand that the truth is on the table. Things we have to correct, they're right there in front of us."
They just need to show they can grab it.
Lance Medow: The ending of Thursday's game between the Giants and Washington was a microcosm of the entire contest. Dexter Lawrence's offside penalty on a 48-yard missed field goal by Dustin Hopkins provided Washington with a redo and Hopkins took advantage by drilling a 43-yarder as time expired. That was one of New York's 11 penalties for 81 yards and each of them proved to be costly. Six came on offense, including four false starts, three on defense and two on special teams. The big theme throughout the game was the Giants consistently committing mishaps or negative plays following flashes of momentum.
Daniel Jones' 58-yard rushing touchdown in the second quarter was negated by C.J. Board's holding penalty and New York settled for a field goal - that's four points. In the fourth quarter, with the Giants up, 23-20, and in Washington territory, Darius Slayton was unable to haul in what would have been a wide-open touchdown. After a Saquon Barkley 5-yard run, Nate Solder and Andrew Thomas were called for false starts on consecutive plays and the Giants went from a 1st-and-10 at the Washington 43 to a 3rd-and-15 at the 48. Graham Gano, ultimately, delivered a 55-yard field goal but that's another four points left off the board.
In addition to penalties helping to define the game, you can't overlook the defensive struggles. Washington orchestrated three touchdown drives for at least 75 yards, including two of at least 12 plays. One of them came right at the end of the first half, which is also what happened in Week 1, and another was a product of just two explosive plays. Much like in last Sunday's loss to the Broncos, the Giants struggled to get off the field and Denver and Washington combined to go 5-5 on fourth down in the first two games combined. There's also been a noticeable disparity in red zone efficiency. Washington scored three touchdowns in four opportunities compared to the Giants, who hit the pay dirt just once in three chances. While it's easy to point to the final penalty as the reason why New York lost, there clearly were several other issues earlier in the game that came back to bite the team.
Check out the best photos from the New York Giants' primetime game against the Washington Football Team.