Week 16 marked the first of what could be many meetings between Daniel Jones and Dwayne Haskins and on Sunday, it was the Giants' rookie quarterback who came out on top.
The New York Giants (4-11) traveled to FedExField and beat the Washington Redskins (3-12) in overtime, 41-35. The Redskins defense had no answer for Jones and Saquon Barkley, as the Giants' two young offensive playmakers both had their best performances of the season. With Sunday's win, the Giants swept the season series over Washington, as they also beat the Redskins in Week 4 by a score of 24-3 in what was Daniel Jones' debut at MetLife Stadium.
"I told the team, this is the time of year when teams can quit fighting," coach Pat Shurmur. "It's pretty obvious to me that our guys didn't. They fought hard. We made enough plays to win, certainly, having to do it in overtime. But we fought hard, made enough plays and I think there were some standout performances that say what I've been trying to say all along, that the future is bright with some of these young players. When they're involved with games like this, just like when you're in close games where there's not a lot of scoring, there's something to be learned from it. The young players that were out there today will learn from what happened and we'll be able to enjoy the outcome."
Saquon explodes, has career day
It didn't take long for Saquon Barkley to become one of the top running backs in the NFL, and on Sunday, the second-year back put up the performance of his career. Barkley ran the ball 22 times for 189 yards (8.6 yards per carry) and a touchdown, adding four receptions for 90 yards and a second touchdown. It was Barkley's second consecutive game topping the 100-yard rushing mark and he has four touchdowns over the last two games. The 189 rushing yards and 279 total yards from scrimmage are career-highs.
"I felt good today," Barkley said Sunday. "I had a great game, great game plan. The coaches called it up great. DJ put us in the right positions. The o-line blocked perfectly. Tight ends and wide receivers blocked perfectly, too. Besides having a good game statistically wise, the only thing that matters is a win, and we found a way to do that."
Jones shines after two-game absence
After missing the last two games with a high ankle sprain, Daniel Jones returned to the field and had another strong outing. The rookie first-round pick completed 28 of 42 passes for 352 yards and five touchdowns, earning a passer rating of 132.1. Jones' performance allowed him to join Fran Tarkenton and Deshaun Watson as the only first-year players in NFL history with three games of four or more touchdown passes. He is the first rookie in NFL history to throw for 350+ yards, five touchdowns and zero interceptions in a game. Jones' five touchdowns and 352 passing yards were both career highs. Jones now holds the franchise record for most touchdown passes by a rookie with 23.
"You see it as a huge opportunity for the team," Jones said of getting the ball first in overtime. "For everyone on the team, you see it as a huge opportunity and you're excited for that. That's kind of what you look forward to, what you play for, is an opportunity to do that. To go down and win the game. That's how we all felt. The second half was kind of up and down. We didn't make enough plays ultimately to hang on to our lead. Just the opportunity to get the ball first, to go down and score was exciting for us. We were ready for it."
Carter has his best game of season
Lorenzo Carter enjoyed a promising rookie campaign last year, but through the first 14 games of this season, the outside linebacker hadn't made a ton of noise on the stat sheet. That changed against the Redskins, as the 24-year-old edge rusher had his best game of the season. Carter finished with four tackles (one solo), 1.5 sacks, one tackle for loss, one pass defensed and four quarterback hits. Carter has 5.0 sacks on the season.
Smith enjoys big day
The Giants placed Evan Engram on injured reserve this week, and Kaden Smith started for the fifth consecutive time as a result. Against Washington, the rookie tight caught six passes for 35 yards and two touchdowns, including the game-winner in overtime. Smith has 22 receptions for 169 yards and three touchdowns in the last five weeks. The Giants claimed Smith, a sixth round pick of the 49ers, off waivers in September, and he has become another offensive weapon.
"Yeah, it was pretty cool," Smith said of catching the game-winning pass. "It was nice to get another win, kind of get onto a little roll here towards the end of the season and just kind of grow personally each game. Do the right technique, just do my job. That's pretty much all I focus on."
Run defense slows AP down
As has been the case over the last month and a half, the Giants run defense did a great job limiting the Redskins' run game Sunday. Adrian Peterson, who entered this matchup averaging nearly 5.0 yards per carry over his last three contests, gained only 36 yards on 15 carries (2.4 yards per carry). Overall, Washington ran the ball 26 times for 80 yards, good for a 3.1 yards per carry average. The Giants' defense recorded 10 tackles for loss, including five from the defensive tackle trio of Dalvin Tomlinson, B.J. Hill and Dexter Lawrence.
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