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Giants hold off Commanders with key stop to boost playoff hopes

LANDOVER, Md. — Sick of losing and tired of tying, the Giants tried something different Sunday night in their quest to rejuvenate their playoff drive.

They tried winning.

Locked into a tight, low-scoring and taut affair — what else is new with this team? — the Giants built a 14-3 halftime lead and then held on for dear life.  Their offense did just enough — and we mean just enough — to reward a defense that got after it all night, even producing a touchdown from rookie Kayvon Thibodeaux.  

In the end, the Giants survived as much as they triumphed but that does not make any difference in the standings. They outlasted the Commanders — the team they tied 20-20 two weeks ago — in an inelegant and wholly needed 20-12 victory at FedEx Field.

Kayvon Thibodeaux (5) celebrates with teammates after his strip-sack and touchdown.
Kayvon Thibodeaux (5) celebrates with teammates after his strip-sack and touchdown.
Saquon Barkley scores in the second quarter.
Saquon Barkley scores in the second quarter.
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Daniel Jones runs during the Giants' win over the Commanders.
Daniel Jones runs during the Giants’ win over the Commanders.

The game ended in a frenzied and frantic final rush.  

Of course, nothing is ever easy with the Giants. They allowed a 43-yard kickoff return to Antonio Gibson and then a 27-yard pass from Taylor Heinicke to Curtis Samuel to the Giants’ 27-yard line.  Nick McCloud dropped what would have been a game-sealing interception in the end zone. The Commanders then reached the 1-yard line and appeared to score on Brian Robinson’s run but receiver Terry McLaurin was called for an illegal formation penalty.  On third down, Azeez Ojulari pressured Heinicke into an incomplete pass and on fourth down, with 48 seconds remaining, Heinicke threw into the end zone for Samuel and cornerback Darnay Holmes broke up the pass — and might have interfered with Samuel, as well.

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