The vibe surrounding the Washington Football Team has largely been positive after they picked up their first win of the season.
While a win is a win, Washington was dangerously close to being on the wrong side of the scoreline last Thursday. If Taylor Heinicke didn’t have nerves of steel or if the Giants were more aggressive with their play-calling late in the fourth quarter, we’re probably talking about an 0-2 start for Ron Rivera’s side.
While there were a number of turning points in the game, none was bigger than the offsides penalty on Dexter Lawrence that gave Football Team kicker Dustin Hopkins a shot at redemption, which he took full advantage of.
For a team coached by Joe Judge, a former special teams disciple of Bill Belichick, to commit such a boneheaded penalty in his supposed area of expertise, well, let’s just say he received a strong dose of backlash from fans.
However, upon further review, it appears Lawrence was penalized for actually having perfect timing. If you look at the slow-mo replay, the Giants defensive lineman began his motion literally as soon as the ball was snapped.
Washington was extremely lucky to beat the Giants in Week 2.
It’s easy to see why the refs threw a flag. Lawrence stuck out like a sore thumb and looked to get an early start in real time. However, the 2019 first-round pick was penalized for merely being hungrier than anyone else on the line.
"“I’m supposed to move when the ball moves,” Lawrence repeated to the media when he was asked about the play postgame. “Obviously I gave it to the ref to make that decision to think that I moved before the ball moved.”"
Credit to Lawrence for refraining from lambasting the refs. Nobody could’ve blamed him if he went scorched earth in his postgame presser. After all, he was ultimately the reason his team lost and became the punchline of every joke on NFL Twitter.
That couldn’t have been easy to swallow, so there’s something to be said that Lawrence kept his composure, because the league would’ve been more than happy to fine him if he came down on the refs for blowing the call.
If a flag wasn’t thrown and the play proceeded, Lawrence either blocks the field goal or prevents it from happening entirely by sacking Tress Way.
Whatever the case, it’s clear the Giants were cheated out of a win and Washington is lucky to be 1-1 heading into road date vs Buffalo in Week 3.
Imagine if the NFC East comes down to one game at the end of the year? The outrage will be deafening, and rightly so.