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Giants likely get away with pass interference in key stop

Darnay Holmes eventually got up and celebrated. 

But not after he looked around and breathed a sigh of relief. 

The Giants cornerback likely got away with pass interference on the team’s decisive fourth-down stop to seal their 20-12 win over the Commanders at FedEx Field in Landover, Md. Sunday night. 

Trailing by the same score, the Commanders had the ball on the Giants’ 6-yard line as quarterback Taylor Heinicke threw a pass intended for Curtis Samuel in the end zone. Holmes was in coverage and broke up the pass to seal the turnover on downs and Giants’ win, but he appeared to drape his arms around Samuel as he made a play on the ball. As Heinicke sat in the pocket, Holmes could be seen tugging and pulling at Samuel as well.  

“It’s clearly a foul,” ex-referee and current NBC rules analyst Terry McCauley said on the postgame show. “He grabs his arm, he plays through the back, it’s clearly before the ball gets there. This is defensive pass interference and it really should be called whether it’s the end of the game, beginning of the game, it doesn’t matter. 

“It’s always a foul. He should’ve been called…. If it’s a foul in the first minute of the game, it’s a foul in the last minute of the game. When it’s that obvious it has to be called.”

Giants cornerback Darnay Holmes (30) defends against Commanders wide receiver Curtis Samuel (10) on fourth down.

Prior to the controversial no-call, the Commanders — after a 43-yard kickoff return — drove all the way down to the Giants’ 10-yard line with a chance to tie the game. On first-and-goal, Heinicke threw an incomplete pass. On second-and-goal, he scrambled for 9 yards to the Giants’ 1-yard line, where Kayvon Thibodeaux met him to make a game-saving tackle.

That’s when Brian Robinson appeared to score with a 1-yard rush on third down, but Washington was flagged for an illegal formation on the play. The referees ruled that receiver Terry McLaurin was not properly lined up on the line of scrimmage, nullifying the score.

Then Holmes was subsequently not flagged on the ensuing play. The Giants kneeled the ball to end the game after their stop.

Giants cornerback Darnay Holmes (30) defends against Commanders wide receiver Curtis Samuel (10) on fourth down.

“No, that’s just too technical,” McCauley responded when asked about the illegal formation flag. “We watched the wide receivers, they’re within the vicinity. Technically, he’s off the line, but it’s just too technical, really at any time of the game, especially without warning, he shouldn’t have been called.”

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