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Instant analysis | Commanders and Giants tie, 20-20


It started with a 10-0 lead, and for about a quarter, the Washington Commanders looked like the better football team.

In that span of time, the Commanders did exactly what led to them winning six of their last seven games. They ran the ball, controlled the clock and played a physical type of defense that offered little to no room for offenses to gain any traction.

Then, the 55-yard reception by Darius Slayton happened everything changed, but after another spurt of last-minute heroics by Taylor Heinicke and Jahan Dotson, the game ended in a 20-20 tie.

The grab by Slayton, which occurred with 11:27 in the second quarter, was the play that threw everything off balance for the Commanders' defense. It was a rare gaffe for a unit that has played completely different from the start of the season. And while it was not quite as bad as the first four games, there were enough flashes of it that allowed the Giants to pounce on their mistakes.

The catch was one thing; the lack of coverage was another. Washington routinely left open receivers behind its rush, leading to easy targets for Jones, who did not have a dropped pass in the first half and finished the game completing 25-of-31 passes for 200 yards.

Missed tackles were also a problem for the Commanders. They over-pursued Jones, who also rushed for 71 yards on 12 carries, while Saquon Barkley shrugged off arm tackles on his way to 63 yards on 18 carries and a touchdown.

Check out the top photos of the Washington Commanders taking on the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium in Week 13. (Photos by Emilee Fails and Kourtney Carroll/Washington Commanders)

The Commanders' offense did not defer much from their game plan that had been so successful in previous games. And for about 15 minutes, that plan worked. After a fumble recovery by the Commanders in Giants territory, Washington got to the Giants' 3-yard line before settling for a field goal.

On the ensuing Commanders drive, the offense did manage to get in the end zone. Terry McLaurin broke a tackle and jogged into the end zone for a 19-yard touchdown.

But after that, things began to fray for the Commanders. Taylor Heinicke and the offense could not respond to a 48-yard field goal by Graham Gano, and after the 55-yard reception by Slayton, Barkley capped off the 81-yard drive with a 13-yard touchdown run.

The two teams exchanged field goals in the closing minutes of the second quarter, making the score tied at 13 heading into halftime.

Things got worse for Washington from there. Azeez Ojulari knocked the ball out of Heinicke's hands on the opening drive of the third quarter and it was recovered by the Giants, who made short work of the favorable field position and took the lead with a six-yard touchdown by Isaiah Hodgins.

But with the game on the line and 3:43 left on the clock, Heinicke and Co. had one last clutch drive in them. A completion by Curtis Samuel for 20 yards on a fourth-and-4 kept things alive, and on first-and-10 from the Giants' 28-yard line, Dotson made a grab and spun past defenders on his way to a game-tying touchdown.

Washington actually had three opportunities to finish the game, two of which came in over time. The Commanders could not get back their own 38-yard line in the fourth quarter, and while the defense did a solid job of containing the Giants in overtime, they could not get close enough for Slye to try a field goal.

The game ended on a 58-yard attempt by Gano, which fell short of the crossbar as time expired.

Washington heads into the bye week 7-5-1, giving it nearly two weeks to prepare for a rematch with the Giants, who must prepare for the Eagles next week.

While a tie is not what either side wanted, it does make Washington's next game at FedExField even more important.

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