Giants hold on to defeat Commanders: How Kayvon Thibodeaux dominated Washington


The New York Giants defeated the Washington Commanders 20-12 on Sunday night. Here’s what you need to know:

  • With the Giants leading 20-12, the Commanders had a chance to tie the game with 1:03 remaining when Brian Robinson ran into the endzone for the touchdown. But the potential tying touchdown was negated due to an illegal formation penalty on Washington. Two incomplete passes later, the Giants turned the ball over on downs, sealing the victory.
  • The Giants’ No. 5 pick in the 2022 NFL Draft Kayvon Thibodeaux led the New York defense with 12 total tackles against the Commanders. At 13:18 in the second quarter, Thibodeux recorded a sack, forced fumble, fumble recovery and a touchdown all on the same play.
  • The Giants improve to 8-5-1 while the Commanders fall to 7-6-1.

The Athletic’s instant analysis:

Thibodeaux’s dominant performance

Thibodeaux told reporters earlier this week, “Prime time likes me.” Well, Thibodeaux is nothing if not a man of his word.

The rookie dominated on the big stage with a momentum-shifting play early in the second quarter. Thibodeaux sacked Washington quarterback Taylor Heinicke, forced the fumble and capped that off with a scoop and score. Thibodeaux finished with nine solo tackles, three tackles for loss, one sack and one quarterback hit. Thibodeaux didn’t keep his play in the pocket either: he chased down Terry McLaurin 20 yards on a touchdown-saving tackle. So yeah, prime time likes Thibodeaux back. — Carroll

Coming into Sunday 0-9 in primetime contests, Daniel Jones finally got the best of the evening hour. That wasn’t better evidenced than a second-quarter drive capped off by a Saquon Barkley wildcat touchdown.

Jones was in total command as he led an 18-play, 97-yard, nearly nine-minute march downfield. He threaded perfect passes to give the Giants a little scoring breathing room.

While a near-fumble was averted due to him being down, he did give a performance to add to the debate when it comes to his future as a Giant. — Carroll

Commanders lose turnover battle

Washington’s defense became the team’s lynchpin over the past ten games thanks to a defensive front that is both stingy against the run and a pass-rushing force. That’s needed considering the offense only scored more than 23 points once since Week 3.

While Sunday night’s showing was reasonable, the difference-making plays weren’t there. The Commanders lost the turnover battle for the first time since Week 5; matched a season-low with one sack; surrendered a 97-yard touchdown drive, and allowed Barkley to run for 12, 15, and 14 yards on consecutive plays after Heinicke’s fourth-quarter fumble to set up Gano’s second 5-yard field goal. The defense wasn’t horrid, but paired with a limited offense, not horrid wasn’t good enough. — Standig

Highlights of the game

Key Stats

With their win over the Commanders, the Giants snap their 11-game losing streak in primetime games, according to ESPN Stats and Info. It’s the Giants’ first primetime win since 2018 Week 10 at the 49ers.

Thibodeaux is the first Giants rookie with a fumble recovery touchdown and one or more sacks in a game since sacks became an official stat in 1982. The last rookie to do so was Washington’s Chase Young in Week 14 of his 2020 Defensive Rookie of the Year season.

Required reading

(Photo: Brad Mills / USA Today)


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