It appeared the New York Giants had won their NFC East showdown with the Washington Football Team on Thursday night after Dustin Hopkins' 48-yard field goal attempt as time expired veered wide right. The only problem?
Dexter Lawrence was offside, Hopkins got another attempt at 43 yards he made, and Washington escaped with a 30-29 win.
"Obviously it's something we don't want to have," head coach Joe Judge told reporters after the game regarding the penalty. "It's something that's not acceptable. But, look, we're not going to turn around and put this game on one player or one play. There's enough things we can clean up together as a team. We can play better."
"I'm not gonna put this on Dex," he added.
The loss dropped the Giants to 0-2, though they have more than one play to blame for the tough start.
For one, the Giants intercepted Heinicke at Washington's 20-yard line with 2:20 remaining, trailing 27-26. A touchdown and two-point conversion would have made Washington's comeback attempts much more difficult. At the very least the Giants could have gotten a first down and forced Washington to use up its timeouts while bleeding clock before kicking the field goal.
Instead, the Giants ran twice for just three yards and Daniel Jones threw an incomplete pass on third down, stopping the clock. When Washington got the ball back, it had a timeout and two minutes to go from its own 25-yard-line to get into field-goal range.
It was poor game management from Judge, offensive coordinator Jason Garrett and the team's offense in general. And it wasn't an isolated incident.
Despite the missed opportunity, however, Judge believes the Giants will bounce back.
The question becomes what happens if they don't. The Giants are now 6-12 under Judge. Since 2017 they are just 18-48. In Dave Gettleman's tenure as general manager they are 15-35.
If the Giants post their fifth straight losing season—and their ninth season in the past 10 years without a playoff berth—will changes soon follow? Who will take the fall?
Judge wasn't pointing fingers on Thursday night. But the Giants may be a few more losses away from the fingers pointing at him.