Grading the Giants’ 20-20 tie against the Commanders on Sunday:
After a touchdown early in the third quarter, there were six punts and no more points scored. A total meltdown. Daniel Jones (25 of 31, 200 yards) was extremely accurate and often on the run. He also was the leading rusher (12-71). His one blemish was a lost fumble in the first quarter. Then there is Saquon Barkley (18-63). He ran it seven times after halftime and gained only 3 yards. That cannot happen. RG Mark Glowinski was beaten badly by Daron Payne for a first-quarter sack, the first of four sacks of Jones. C Jon Feliciano had a costly taunting penalty in the fourth quarter for giving the “gun-show’’ flex to teammate Darius Slayton, a gesture made too close to Commanders players. Slayton (6-90) continued to enjoy a resurgence but needed to make the leaping grab late in regulation. Going 4-for-13 on third-down conversions isn’t getting it done.
Considering all the injuries on the back end and the loss of DT Leonard Williams (neck) in the second half, this group competed. Inability to stop the run (36-165) remains an issue. Taylor Heinicke (27 of 41, 275 yards, 2 TDs) was under some pressure. Welcome back, Azeez Ojulari. His strip-sack in the third quarter — he also recovered the fumble — was the turnover his team needed. Kayvon Thibodeaux had a blindside sack in OT. Jihad Ward had a third-quarter sack and forced fumble. CB Fabian Moreau completely whiffed on a tackle that allowed Terry McLauren (8-105) to coast in on a 19-yard TD in the first quarter. Practice squad call-up Zyon Gilbert dove and missed Jahan Dotson on a 28-yard TD to tie the game late in the fourth quarter.
Graham Gano hit field goals of 48 and 27 yards and the desperation 58-yarder he missed short was not in his range, considering it was cold and the ball was not carrying in the direction of the kick. Gano had a wonderful 63-yard kickoff to the 2-yard line and the Giants stopped returner Antonio Gibson at the 5-yard line. No news was good news with Richie James on punt returns and he did run north-south on a 12-yard return in the fourth quarter. Jamie Gillan’s brutal 31-yard punt in overtime sailed out of bounds on the Washington 33-yard line — very bad. Gillan had a booming 56-yard punt in the third quarter and later added a 59-yarder. His 39-yard kick was a good one, as it forced a fair catch on the Washington 10-yard line.
Punting on fourth-and-3 in overtime went against Brian Daboll’s early-season aggressiveness and shows how little faith he has in his offense to execute and pick up the first down there. Strangely conservative play-calling to end the first half. Was Daboll afraid to allow Jones to try a pass into the end zone? Mike Kafka is running out of ways to jump-start Barkley and the ground game. Wink Martindale made sure to get heat on Heinicke but he has been unable to fortify the run defense and it continues to cost the team.