By TOM CANAVAN, Associated Press
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Joe Judge and the New York Giants have finally won, and they have rookie Tae Crowder and a risky gamble by Washington coach Ron Rivera for making them relevant again.
Crowder, the last player taken in the NFL draft — Mr. Irrelevant — scooped up a fumble and ran 43 yards for a touchdown with 3:28 to play. That gave the Giants a 20-19 victory over Washington on Sunday in a battle of the two of the NFL’s worst teams.
The game wasn’t decided until Rivera rolled the dice after a 22-yard touchdown pass from Kyle Allen to Cam Sims with :36 left in regulation to cap a 10-play, 75-yard march.
Instead of playing for overtime, Rivera had Washington (1-5) go for the win with a 2-point conversion in an attempt to get back in the mediocre NFC East race. Allen found no one open, scrambled to his left and had his pass under pressure fall incomplete.
It gave the 38-year-old Judge his first win as an NFL coach and allowed the Giants (1-5) to avoid a second 0-6 start since 2013.
Washington rallied from a 10-point deficit to tie the game midway before a rare Giants quarterback pressure turned the game around.
On a third-and-9 from the Giants 45, linebacker Kyler Fackrell strip-sacked Allen for an 8-yard loss. Crowder chased down the bouncing ball, gained possession and ran untouched to the end zone — to the applause of teammates. No fans were allowed at the game at MetLife Stadium.
Daniel Jones, who wasted a long third-quarter drive with an awful interception, threw a 23-yard touchdown pass to Darius Slayton and Graham Gano kicked two field goals.
Allen threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to Logan Thomas, and Dustin Hopkins, who missed from 47 yards on the opening drive, hit two shorter field goals.
Jones, who rushed for a team-high 74 yards, was 12 of 19 for 112 yards and an interception by Kendall Fuller in the back of the end zone that ended a nine-minute-plus drive.
Allen was 31 of 42 for 280 yards and an interception by James Bradberry, which set up the Slayton score.
Washington used a pair of time-consuming 70-yard drives to tie the game at 13-all with 8:56 left in the fourth quarter.
Trailing 13-3 late in the second quarter, Rivera made a gutsy call on fourth-and-4 from the New York 40. Allen hit Dontrelle Inman for 15 yards after scrambling away from pressure. He capped the 13-play drive with a 5-yard rainbow toss to Thomas.
Giants LT Andrew Thomas, the No. 6 overall pick in the draft, did not start for the first time this season. Fellow rookie Matt Peart, a third-round pick, started. Thomas replaced him in the second quarter but went back to the bench early in the third after missing a block on a third-and-1 at the Washington 37. He returned in the fourth quarter.
Both teams were on the field for the national anthem. Washington’s Tim Settle, Landon Collins and Montez Sweat raised fists. The Giants had roughly 15 players take a knee. They had a similar number the first two home games.
Washington: Starting LG Saahdiq Charles was hurt on the second play from scrimmage (left leg) and didn’t return. WR Antonio Gandy-Golden left with a hamstring injury.
Giants: The most serious injury was to WR C.J. Board. He was carted off the field early in the third quarter after taking a big hit from Washington safety Deshazor Everett trying to catch a low pass. He was diagnosed with a concussion and a neck injury and taken to a hospital for evaluation. Backup CB Darney Holmes (neck) left in the first half; LB Blake Martinez and DT Dexter Lawrence were evaluated for concussions and returned.
Both teams stay in NFC East. Washington hosts Dallas next Sunday. The Giants have a short week and play in Philadelphia on Thursday night.