Good intentions, but poor execution. Dexter Lawrence and Blake Martinez pressured Allen into throwing an incomplete pass that landed in the end zone, nowhere near any of his teammates.
“I was actually expecting them to go for two,” Judge said. “They’ve been aggressive in a lot of situations this year, Ron’s always been aggressive as a head coach. You’re on the road, a lot of times that’s the decision you’re going to make right there. We knew they were going to treat those last couple series like they were their last series and they were going to try to get this thing all the way down and clock.
“I thought (defensive coordinator) Pat (Graham) made a great call on the two-point conversion. That’s actually a call we put in this week. I thought the guys matched it and played it very well. We got some pressure from the line. I saw the DB’s did a good job getting the initial coverage. They were trying to work (wide receiver Terry) McLaurin on kind of a hesitation and work out to the flat right there. I think it was (defensive back) Logan (Ryan) on him at that point right there and did a good job covering him. But it was a call Pat put in this week. The guys did a really good job working that on Friday, really improving on some things that we put on tape in practice that were mistakes, cleaned it up through Saturday, and, hey, practice execution becomes game reality.”
And that enabled the players to finally celebrate with Judge, who was doused in a postgame gathering.
“I gave him the game ball,” quarterback Daniel Jones said. “He was quickly dumped with Gatorade. A lot of people played a part in that celebration. It was a good, it was a fun moment there after the game.”
“It was definitely special to see him get his first win,” cornerback James Bradberry said. “It was also my first win as a Giant, so that felt special as well. Of course, we might have poured a little water on a little bit just to celebrate. We were just happy to get the win. There was a lot of celebration going on in there. It was a happy moment.”
Judge was typically reluctant to make the story about himself.
“The locker room obviously had a lot of energy afterwards,” Judge said. “The guys were very happy. There’s been a lot of pressure that they’ve put on themselves and that we put on them. They’ve been fighting hard for six weeks and working through training camp for us. You hit this point right here and you just want to get the results. And I’m happy the fans were able to have it and I’m happy the players were able to enjoy it today.”
Bradberry’s interception of an Allen pass and 19-yard return set up Jones’ 23-yard first-quarter scoring pass to Darius Slayton, the Giants’ only offensive touchdown. It was Jones’ and the team’s first touchdown pass since Slayton caught two on opening night against Pittsburgh. Graham Gano kicked field goals of 33 and 20 yards.
Jones completed 12 of 19 passes for 112 yards, all career lows for a game in which he started. But he also ran for a career-high 74 yards, including a 49-yarder that was the longest run by a Giants quarterback in the Super Bowl era.
Washington scored on Allen passes of five yards to Logan Thomas and the 22-yarder to Sims, plus Dustin Hopkins field goals of 35 and 28 yards. The 70-yard drive that ended with Thomas’ touchdown was kept alive by Austin Johnson’s running into the kicker penalty on a Washington punt. That advanced the ball five yards and on fourth-and-four, Rivera characteristically chose to go for it. Washington picked up the first down on Dontrelle Inman’s 15-yard reception and scored four plays later.
But the game was decided by a two-point conversion try on which the Giants’ defense executed perfectly and flummoxed Washington’s offense.
“We finally got our win,” said defensive lineman Leonard Williams, who had one of the Giants’ three sacks. “We’ve been working hard and finally got to see some of the fruits of our labor. It was obviously an ugly win, though. We obviously wanted to do a lot better. There’s still some football out there that we have to clean up.”
This week, they can do that with smiles on their faces.