There is something wonderfully appropriate that the winning touchdown in the Giants-Washington game was scored by Mr. Irrelevant. Such is life in the NFC Least.
The victory is the first for Giants coach and Philly native Joe Judge, and sets up quite a Thursday night matchup. It’s debatable whether the Giants (1-5) at the Eagles (1-4-1) to start Week 7 will rival Trump-Biden II as the biggest train wreck on TV that night, but it could be close.
New York’s win was helped by Washington’s inability to reward coach Ron Rivera’s gutsy decision to go for two with 36 seconds left trailing 20-19 rather than kick an extra point. Washington quarterback Kyle Allen’s pass fell harmlessly incomplete, and the Washingtons fell to an equally lame 1-5.
“I told them in the locker room I play to win,” Rivera said. "That’s part of my philosophy. The only way to learn to win is to play to win. That’s what I want those guys to understand.”
It was New York’s first victory in 301 days dating back to Week 16 last season.
“The emotional sideline was just joy for players,” said Judge, who played at Lansdale Catholic. “To see them smile and see them rewarded for hard work, that’s really why you play.”
Crowder became the first defensive player ever chosen with the final pick of a draft to score an NFL touchdown since “Mr. Irrelevant” became a thing in 1976. The linebacker out of Georgia picked up a fumble by Allen and coasted 43 yards to put the Giants up 20-13.
New York comes to Lincoln Financial Field on Thursday (8:20 p.m., Fox/NFLN/Amazon Prime). The Eagles have won 11 of 12 in the series, including six in a row in South Philly. The Eagles opened favored by 5.5 points. (Full Week 7 lines below.)
Stat of the day
Derrick Henry’s 94-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter came on his 19th rushing attempt. The 247-pound Titans running back reached a top speed of 21.6 miles per hour according to NextGen Stats as he ran away from defenders when he got into the open field.
Winners & losers
D’Andre Swift had his best day as a pro as the Lions got a win that probably saved their coach for the time being. Swift, another rookie from Georgia (via St. Joe’s Prep) ran for 116 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 14 carries. He came into Sunday with 12 carries total in the first four games. It’ll be interesting to see how the workload between Swift and 35-year-old Adrian Peterson is divvied up going forward. Peterson had 15 rushes for 40 yards on Sunday.
Jacksonville kicker Jon Brown had never attempted a field goal at any level until banging home an 31-yarder for the Jaguars' first points on Sunday. Brown, a former member of Team USA’s U-17 soccer team, is the fifth different kicker the Jags have used in the last five weeks. That’s comical. A couple minutes later, Brown missed from 32 yards out. Out of his range perhaps.
Hate how imbalanced the NFL schedule can be sometimes. On Sunday, there were nine 1 o’clock games and two in the 4 o’clock window. The Dolphins beat the Jets, 24-0, in one game; the Buccaneers overwhelmed the Packers, 38-10. Basically, the drama for the day ended when the Eagles failed on a decisive two-point conversion a little after 4 o’clock. Gotta be a way to put some more games in the late window.
Unlike with Nick Foles earlier this year, Tom Brady ran out to midfield and shook hands with Aaron Rodgers after the Buccaneers finished things off. Brady lost to Foles and Chicago. He beat Rodgers. Funny how that happens.
Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, the fifth overall pick, made his NFL debut in garbage time for Miami. The Jets got hammered, but check out this interception:
Romeo Crennel opted to go for two when the Texans took a 7-point lead with 1:50 left against Tennessee. The attempt failed and opened the door for the the Titans to win in overtime. It was an unconventional call, but not a bad one. Crennel’s defense was getting shredded by Tennessee all day. If he goes up by nine points there, they win the game.
Ben Roethlisberger is 24-2-1 in his career against the Browns.
Congrats to Raheem Morris, who coached the Falcons to their first win after Matt Ryan (371 yards, four TDs) and Julio Jones (8-137-2) blasted the Vikings.
Minnesota has lost five in a row at home. Skoal.
Vikes rookie Justin Jefferson (9-166-2) joined 1952 Green Bay Packer Billy Howton as the only rookies in NFL history to compile 500 receiving yards in his first five games. It should be noted that 150 of Jefferson’s yards came after Atlanta had taken a 23-0 lead.
Something to look out for Thursday: the Giants started third-round pick Matt Peart at left tackle rather than Andrew Thomas, the No. 6 overall pick.
Good to see old friend Trey Burton have a big day in Indianapolis. He scored the first rushing touchdown of his career on a direct snap, then added a TD reception as the Colts rallied for a 31-27 win over Cincinnati. Burton, of course, threw the most celebrated touchdown in Eagles history when he and Nick Foles executed the “Philly Special” in Super Bowl 52.
It was the largest regular-season comeback for the Colts, who trailed 21-0. Indy erased a 28-point deficit against the Chiefs in a 2013 wild-card game, which was Andy Reid’s first postseason game as K.C.’s coach.
“Looks like a Lucy and Charlie Brown thing going on with the Steelers and Browns.”
-- NFL Network Red Zone host Scott Hanson after Pittsburgh went up 24-0 in the first half, before winning 38-7.
“This has been a brutal day for [coordinator] Mike Pettine’s defense."
-- Fox announcer Joe Buck during the Buccaneers 38-10 romp over Green Bay.
“It’s hard to come up to Gillette and win -- better yet win without scoring a touchdown.”
-- Denver quarterback Drew Lock after the Broncos beat the Patriots, 18-12, on six field goals by temple alum Brandon McManus.
Week 7 lines
In Vegas rotational order
EAGLES -6.5 Giants, 8:20 p.m.
Browns -3.5 BENGALS, 1 p.m.
Cowboys -3 WASHINGTON, 1 p.m.
FALCONS -3 Lions, 1 p.m.
SAINTS -8 Panthers, 1 p.m.
Bills -10.5 JETS, 1 p.m.
Packers -3 TEXANS, 1 p.m.
Seahawks -3 CARDINALS, 4:05 p.m.
PATRIOTS -4 49ers, 4:25 p.m.
Chiefs -8.5 BRONCOS, 4:25 p.m.
Buccaneers -2.5 RAIDERS, 8:20 p.m.
Steelers -1 TITANS, 1 p.m.
CHARGERS -9.5 Jaguars, 4:25 p.m.
RAMS -6.5 Bears, 8:15 p.m.