Head coach Ron Rivera's gambles this season have typically paid off. The Washington Football Team converted five of their eight fourth-down tries through five weeks, and it added two more conversions Sunday in New York.
But after quarterback Kyle Allen connected on a 22-yard touchdown to Cam Sims with less than a minute to play, Rivera went for it all. Trailing, 20-19, he did not want to go into overtime against the winless Giants; he wanted to win the game with a two-point conversation.
As Allen dropped back and rolled out left, he could not find anyone open. Eventually, his time to throw ran out, and his game-winning pass attempt fell incomplete, sealing Washington's fifth straight defeat.
"I went for two because I believe that the only way you learn to win is play to win," Rivera said.
Check out photos of the Washington Football Team during its Week 6 matchup against the New York Giants. (Photos courtesy of Josh Lobel/NFL, Courtney Rivera/Washington Football Team and John Minchillo/AP)
Rivera said the game came down to Washington's two turnovers, both of which Allen committed. The second one was much more costly, as the Giants (1-5) scooped up Allen's fumble late in the fourth quarter and returned it 43 yards for a touchdown. Instead of Washington marching down the field for the game-winning drive, it received the ensuing kickoff facing a 20-13 deficit.
As Allen did throughout the game, he responded well to his mistakes by leading Washington (1-5) on a 10-play, 75-yard drive. The possession mostly consisted of short passes, but on 1st-and-10 from the Giants' 22-yard line, offensive coordinator Scott Turner called a deep shot. Allen threw a perfectly placed ball down the left side to Sims, who was only in the lineup because of injuries to Isaiah Wright and Antonio Gandy-Golden.
However, Sims' first-career touchdown catch was overshadowed by the failed two-point conversion moments later.
Aside from the giveaways, Allen was effective in his first full game as Washington's starter. The third-year signal caller spread the ball around en route to completing 31 of his 42 passes for 280 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. Terry McLaurin led all pass-catchers with 74 yards on seven catches, but he was one of four players who racked up at least 40 receiving yards. Tight end Logan Thomas (three receptions, 42 yards) caught Allen's first touchdown pass late in the first half.
The Giants pulled out their first victory by establishing the running game and capitalizing on their opportunities. Second-year quarterback Daniel Jones finished 12-of-19 passing for 112 yards, a touchdown and an interception. He was also the team's leading rusher with 74 yards on seven carries.
Washington will return to FedExField next Sunday to play the Dallas Cowboys in another NFC East showdown.