It was hard to gauge exactly how everyone was feeling after the Giants tied the Washington Commanders at MetLife Stadium. It was better than a loss, but a win would have been better seemed to be the mentality that permitted the locker room and head coach Brian Daboll’s postgame press conference.
The Giants’ defense stepped up in a big way in Sunday’s tie, but the offense went for most of the second half. There will be plenty to work on before the Giants’ meeting with the Philadelphia Eagles, however, let’s take a look back at the good and bad from Sunday.
Let’s get the bad news out of the way first.
The Giants had some explosive moments offensively, but for the better part of the second half, they were nowhere to be found. They had to punt four consecutive times before the end of regulation and two more offensive drives in overtime ended with New York having to punt as well. The inability to get keep the momentum going forced the defense to have to step up in a big way to try and hold off the Commanders, who eventually did score in the final two minutes.
This just wasn’t Fabian Moreau’s game considering two mistakes led directly to points for Washington on Sunday. The corner got called for a holding that negated a 3rd and 7 stop and eventually led to the Commanders putting up a field goal in the second quarter. Earlier in the game, Moreau failed to wrap up Terry McLaurin which allowed the Commanders receiver to easily walk into the end zone for a touchdown an to give Washington a 10-0 lead over the Giants at the time. While New York’s defense was a difference maker, the mistakes by Moreau couldn’t be overlooked.
Brian Daboll and Mike Kafka’s play-calling decisions are going to be directed for the next week and likely after that before the Commanders and Giants meet again in Week 15. The one that had been on everyone’s mind after the game had ended was Daboll’s decision to punt the ball on 4th and 3 on Washington’s 45-yard line in overtime. It was a conservative play call with a big win on the line against a divisional opponent. It was far from the gutsy Daboll that weeks earlier opted o go for the win against the Tennessee Titans.
You never want to harp on officiating, but it was hard to ignore the ridiculous call on Jon Feliciano for unsportsmanlike conduct that changed the entire course of the game. Feliciano was not happy after the game with the call, nor should he be, after it erased what would have been a crucial second-half stop and breathed new life into the Washington drive.
Now for the good news.
There was no denying the impact Azeez Ojulari had on the game in his return from injury. Ojulari hounded Commanders QB Taylor Heinicke’s face all afternoon and he ended the game with one quarterback hit and a sack. In fact, he looked as though hee was going to have the play of the game when he strip-sacked Heinicke and then recovered the fumble to put the Giants deep in Washington territory. The Giants quickly took advantage of it and scored on the ensuing drive. It was easy to see what New York was missing with Ojularii out and the ability he had to create opportunities for others on the defensive side of the ball.
The wideout has seen his role increase with the Giants since he arrived in New Jersey as a free agent. He had five catches for 44 yards and a touchdown in Week 13 against the Commanders. He’s been averaging 11.2 yards per reception with the Giants and he’s quickly become a solid target for Daniel Jones.