3 reasons Commanders weren’t able to beat the NY Giants in Week 13
3. Killer penalties
On the day, Washington totaled seven penalties for 56 yards. Many came at absolutely back-breaking moments. Whether it was the Logan Thomas block in the back, that stalled out Washington’s impressively bad 8-minute drive that ended up not reaching midfield.
Or the Cole Turner holds that put a promising Washington drive behind the chains before Heinicke surrendered a sack before Joey Slye ultimately missed a 52-yard field goal. The most excruciating of all though may have been Percy Butler’s unsportsmanlike penalty on Washington’s punt return late in the fourth quarter.
With the game tied 20-20, Washington had a chance to go win the game. Alex Erickson returned the kick to the 36-yard line. The penalty would push Washington back to the 9-yard line, though. Washington’s drive would ultimately stall out at the 46-yard line, totaling 37 yards. In the original scenario, Washington would have only needed around 30 yards to get into field goal range.
Furthermore, Washington’s offense cannot operate behind the chains. On 3rd & 8, Washington was 0-for-8 on third down. This is for a combination of reasons, Heinicke can’t threaten a defense consistently with his arm, and the offensive line isn’t consistent enough in pass protection.
Moving forward, the amount, and the timing of these penalties will need to be diminished. Washington’s “game plan to win” relies on that being the case. Today, they just had one too many penalties, and it made it so they left the Meadowlands winless.
Luckily though, they left without a loss too. It took some loss but a tie is ultimately a better result for the Commanders. They cannot lose their playoff spot this week, at the very least.
It does, however, make the game against the Giants in FedEx Field a mammoth one. The good news for Washington is they have 14 days to prepare, and they could be getting some reinforcements (Chase Young and Benjamin St-Juste) back then, too.