NFL News & Analysis

NFL Week 2 Game Recap: Washington Football Team 30, New York Giants 29

Landover, Maryland, USA; Washington Football Team quarterback Taylor Heinicke (4) is chased by New York Giants linebacker Azeez Ojulari (51) in the first quarter at FedExField. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

In classic NFC East fashion, the Washington Football Team and the New York Giants battled until Dustin Hopkins‘ game-winning field goal gave Washington the 30-29 victory.

It’s hard to argue that we learned anything valuable about the two teams long-term, but quarterbacks Daniel Jones and Taylor Heinicke combined for over 500 yards and three touchdowns.

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New York Giants


Jones had a strong performance against a defense that’s fresh off of a surprisingly impressive 2020 season. In spite of being sacked four times, Jones managed the pocket well enough to push the ball downfield, recording an adjusted completion rate well over 80% while posting an 11-yard average depth of target. In addition, 83% of his yardage came before the catch. Four drops — one on a wide-open touchdown pass — cost him an even better stat line.

Player Dropbacks Adjusted Completion % Average Depth of Target Air Yards %
Daniel Jones 38 81% 11 83%
Running backs

Saquon Barkley’s explosive run early in the game skewed the Giants run game's final numbers on the night. His 4.4 yards per carry masked the fact that his average yards before contact was 1.1, forcing him to create 74% of his production after shedding defenders. Only one of his 13 runs resulted in a first down, which is a more accurate representation of New York's ground game success Thursday night.

Wide Receiver/Tight End

Sterling Shepard was Jones' go-to man, catching nine of his 10 targets for 94 yards while converting four for a first down. Shepard battled through tight coverage to earn his receptions, finishing with four contested catches. Shepard accumulated over 27% of New York's targets and was more reliable than his peers, as Darius Slayton and Kenny Golladay dropped a couple of passes.

Offensive Line

The Giants offensive line continues to struggle in the Dave Gettleman era, but center Billy Price was particularly problematic versus Washington, losing matchups against Daron Payne and Jonathan Allen to the tune of a 14% pressure rate allowed. He also allowed a sack. The rest of the unit surrendered nine additional pressures and a second sack.

Defensive Line

Leonard Williams ended the night as the only defensive lineman who could produce at all as a pass rusher, notching two pressures in 37 opportunities. The group, as a whole, generated four more pressures, using slants and stunts within their blitz packages to get their big guys on tight ends and backs.


Blake Martinez logged the most snaps at linebacker (66), but his production was lacking, as he finished with just three tackles (and one missed) in 19 opportunities against the run, notching an average depth of tackle more than 7 yards down the field. Washington tried to pick on him underneath when it could, as he surrendered a 100% completion rate on seven targets and a 1-100 passer rating in spite of an average depth of target at around five and a half yards.

Defensive Backs

New York rotated in multiple DBs on passing downs to match up with Washington's receiving corps, but starting cornerbacks Adoree' Jackson and James Bradberry performed well, allowing just 83 yards (and two touchdowns) despite being targeted 15 times. Each's average depth of target was beyond eight yards (15 for Jackson), suggesting that they stood up in coverage on deeper and in-breaking routes.

Targets Yards Per Coverage Snap Passer Rating Allowed Completion % Allowed
Outside CB Targets 14 1.42 70.8 64%
Slot CB Targets 6 0.62 72.2 67%

Washington Football Team


Heinicke showed well for a backup quarterback who was making his first start of the season on a short week. His throws didn’t flash quite as bright as Jones', but he managed the game well enough to finish with a 99.5 passer rating. Sixty-seven percent of his throws were short of the sticks, forcing Washington's playmakers to create yardage after the catch. He finished with over 300 yards and converted 14 first downs.

Running Back

Antonio Gibson had a steady night, averaging an even five yards per carry over his 13 attempts. His yards before and after contact were almost evenly split, and 31% of his runs went for a first down. He also notched three explosive runs. In spite of his ability to move the ball, Washington just about abandoned the run game in the second half, relying on Heinicke to finish the game.

Wide Receivers/Tight End

Terry McLaurin continues to be one of the most underrated receivers in the NFL, as he was targeted 14 times, which he converted into 11 catches, 107 yards and a touchdown. Seven of his receptions resulted in a first down.

Offensive Line

Washington's offensive line only allowed two pressures and a hurry, as Heinicke finished the night without being hit. Outside of Williams, New York's pass rush just didn't have enough talent to consistently challenge Washington's offensive line. 

Defensive Line

Washington's young pass-rushing core flashed its potential once again, as the unit was able to affect Jones repeatedly without much action coming from Chase Young (who still had two tackles for loss on the night). Payne and Allen ate up the Giants' interior, combining for 10 pressures and two sacks between their 62 snaps. Montez Sweat is proving to be an ideal secondary rusher, using his combination of length and power to rack up five pressures and a sack against New York.

Pass Rush Opportunities Total Pressures Win Rate Sacks
Washington's Defensive Line 38 17 66% 3

Cole Holcomb — Washington’s every-down LB — had an average day, posting one defensive stop and a couple of tackles against the run. Jon Bostic, who is best utilized as a run-down LB, added a tackle for loss and defensive stop. Rookie Jamin Davis was only targeted once in coverage and forced a defensive stop on a third down in the red zone.

Defensive Backs

Washington's trio of Benjamin St-Juste, Kendall Fuller and William Jackson III had their hands full all night, giving up 155 yards and a touchdown. Jackson was asked to play more tight one-on-one coverage than his teammates, and though he forced two incompletions, the reps he lost cost the defense two explosive passing gains and a 115 passer rating. His night was spared by two drops while he was the primary coverage defender.

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