Commanders don’t know how to feel after the tie-vs. Giants originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
The New York Giants and Washington Commanders started sixth and seventh in the NFC on Sunday. For both teams, a win would significantly increase their playoff chances.
Instead, 70 minutes of football wasn’t enough to determine a winner as the Week 13 tilt ended in a 20-20 draw between the two teams on Sunday. And after the game, the Commanders players and coaches were unsure how to feel.
“It was very tough. I’m not sure what to say,” head coach Ron Rivera told reporters after the game. “In a way, a kind of disappointment.”
Quarterback Taylor Heinicke, who admitted after the game that he had never participated in a tie before, offered a perspective similar to that of his head coach.
“It’s a strange feeling. It feels quite like a loss,” said Heinicke. “But in the bigger picture, it obviously doesn’t count as one. So we will continue with that. … We need to prepare for them again.”
Defensive lineman Jonathan Allen and running back Brian Robinson Jr., both Alabama grads, said after the game they’ve never been part of a tie.
Like his teammates, Allen didn’t know how to feel after the game. But the 2021 Pro Bowler has offered a strong opinion on whether ties should exist in the NFL.
“I just don’t understand how five and a half hours can end in a tie,” Allen said. “Hopefully it’s something that moves the league forward. I don’t think an NFL game can end in a tie. It is strange. I don’t know how to feel because I don’t know how it affects us. Well, we’ll see.”
“It just feels like there’s more to play,” he later added.
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One of the reasons the Commanders didn’t know how to feel after the game was that the competition itself contained a lot of ups and downs, but there was no conclusive outcome one way or the other.
Washington started the game with excellent energy on both sides of the football. Allen forced a fumble on the Giants’ opening drive, which led to a field goal from Joey Slye. The Commanders forced a three-and-out on the Giants’ next offensive possession, followed by an eight-play 62-yard drive that was capped by a Terry McLaurin touchdown.
After the 10-0, however, Burgundy and Gold went downhill. The Giants scored on their next four offensive possessions, turning a 10-point deficit into a 20-13 lead. This result lasted for most of the fourth quarter before the commanders made the penultimate drive in regulation.
In less than two minutes of play, Heinicke led the Commanders to an eight-play 90-yard drive to level the game. The scoring drive was capped by a 28-yard touchdown by Heinicke on Jahan Dotson as the rookie scored his fifth touchdown on the team and earned the touchdown of the season.
The commanders had one last drive to win in regulation, but it ended in a tress way punt with just seconds to go. Both teams could not do much offensively in regulation; The 10-minute overtime ended with a 58-yard field goal attempt by Graham Gano that came up short.
“I feel like we had multiple ways to end it,” said Heinicke. “Unfinished is a great word for this game.”
Although Sunday’s result was not a loss, disappointment was a common theme among Commanders players watching the game.
“I feel like everyone’s kind of disappointed,” Robinson said. “We didn’t expect a draw. It’s kind of a soft vibe. We don’t feel like we won the game. … We had several choices. We have to clean it up and make it better.”
The good news for both teams is that they will be back at FedEx Field in two weeks. With Sunday’s game ending in a draw, the competition carries even more weight for both teams’ playoff chances in Week 15.
“This game that we’re going to play here in two weeks means double,” Allen said. “I need the Commanders fans to really perform. I will provide as many free tickets as possible. We need everyone there. This game could be the season. We need full support and the stadium is rocking.”