LANDOVER HILLS, Md. — Well after completing his longest pass of the season and avoiding the mistakes that have cost the New York Giants games, Daniel Jones faced one final challenge to preserve his first game of 2020 without a turnover.
Giants hold off Washington
Jones absorbed contact on a blindside sack, held on to the ball, and Logan Ryan intercepted Alex Smith not long after to seal a 23-20 victory against Washington. After coach Joe Judge stressed to his players to “finish” following several blown leads, the Giants finally did so Sunday and pick up their second win, Jones didn’t throw an interception or lose a fumble and the defense forced five turnovers.
“That’s been a focus of mine: I obviously know the importance of holding on to the ball,” Jones said. “We were able to protect it today, and that was a big advantage for us.”
Jones was 23 of 34 for 212 yards, including a 50-yard connection with Austin Mack and a touchdown pass to Evan Engram to build a 17-point halftime lead. The Giants (2-7) attempted to run to run things out in the second half and survived a couple of touchdown drives led by Alex Smith, who replaced injured Washington quarterback Kyle Allen.
Smith connected with Terry McLaurin on a 68-yard score, his first TD pass in 728 days, to cut New York’s lead to 23-20 in the fourth quarter. But Smith threw two interceptions in the final 2:18 to end the threat for Washington (2-6). Both Giants wins are against Washington.
“It just happened that we’ve come ready to play against Washington these four times and been able to get wins,” said Jones, who’s 4-0 against Washington and 1-16 against the rest of the NFL as a starter. “We’ll look to build off it.”
Before things got hairy for the Giants, Wayne Gallman rushed for a touchdown, and Graham Gano made three field goals to extend his streak to 18 in a row.
Allen injured his left ankle late in the first quarter, forcing Smith into just his second NFL game since gruesomely breaking his right leg in November 2018. Allen’s left leg bent the wrong way on a sack by Jabrill Peppers, who was flagged for unnecessary roughness, and there was an air cast on it as he was carted off.
Smith was 24 of 32 for 325 yards, the TD and three interceptions.
“We had a chance without those (last) two,” said Smith, whom Rivera named the starter for Washington’s next game with Allen out. “The second one is the one that really hurts. I felt like we were rolling, really had them on the heels.”