Game Ball No. 1: Cam Sims
Sims has found his rhythm against the New York Giants this season. Three weeks ago, Sims caught his first-career touchdown in the final seconds of the teams' first matchup at MetLife Stadium. On Sunday, Sims was second on the team with three receptions for 110 yards on seven targets.
Sims' longest play of the day came early in third quarter during Washington's opening drive of the second half. With the team trailing, 20-3, quarterback Alex Smith launched a ball deep left to find Sims 45 yards down the left sideline. Four plays later, Antonio Gibson leaped into the end zone on a one-yard score.
After two-plus seasons of being on and off the active roster, Sims is starting to become a viable weapon on offense. Sim said after the game that the quarterbacks are starting to trust him, which has resulted in his improved performance.
"Cam's done an amazing job of just staying ready," Smith said. "He does it every day in practice. The guy just works incredibly hard. He's really talented. I think he's been getting more opportunities, and rightfully so."
Game Ball No. 2: Terry McLaurin
After being named a team captain, McLaurin's performance further cemented how deserving he was of that honor. McLaurin led the receiving corps with seven receptions for 115 yards and one touchdown. He now has 692 receiving yards this season and three 100-yard games.
McLaurin only had two touchdowns heading into Sunday's matchup, but he added to that total in the fourth quarter. With less than 11 minutes left and Washington trailing, 23-13, Smith threw a crisp pass to McLaurin, who was able to catch the ball under pressure and sprint past the Giants' defense for a 68-yard score.
"There aren't many guys that I have seen that can do that like he does," Smith said. "His willingness and...competitiveness, certainly combined with his talent, really makes him tough on Sundays. He's fun to watch. When he flips that switch on game day, you can see it. You can see it in his eyes. You can certainly see it in his play."
McLaurin's performance was ultimately not enough to help Washington pull out a win, but the second-year receiver was focused on the next game.
"We've just got to get to the fundamentals of football and not turn the ball over. Penalties, I felt like that hurt us a little bit today. We've just got to minimize the mistakes. We're not at the level where we can overcome too many mistakes. That's the biggest thing going into this week: we've just got to play cleaner."
Game Ball No. 3: Kamren Curl
Although there were some mistakes made from the seventh-round draft pick, the good outweighed the bad for Curl as he made some big plays against the Giants. Curl led the defense with 11 tackles and one sack for a loss of seven yards.
Curl's sack came at a crucial point of the game. With Washington trailing, 23-20, before the final two-minute warning, Curl brought down Giants quarterback Daniel Jones on a 3rd-and-6. This forced the Giants to punt, giving Washington one last opportunity to win the game.
Curl was expected to have a bigger role on defense once Landon Collins went to Injured Reserve, and the rookie made the most of his opportunity.
"I thought Kam played pretty well," head coach Ron Rivera said. "I know he got beat on the touchdown by [Giants TE Evan] Engram, but he was in pretty close proximity to the play. Again, it's just a young guy that's going to learn and grow and get better each time he's on the field."
Check out photos of the Washington Football Team during its Week 9 matchup against the New York Giants. (Photos courtesy of Amanda Bowen/NFL, Elijah Walter Griffin Sr/Washington Football Team and Emilee Fails/Washington Football Team)