While Argentina and France were battling to determine who would win the World Cup in Qatar, NFL teams were struggling to make a stand for the playoffs. The Washington Commanders fumbled in their attempt, while the Las Vegas Raiders received an oddly-satisfying Christmas present.
The Washington Commanders and New York Giants battle in their second NFL Sunday matchup of the season. The Giants won, giving them a boost in the NFC East.
The New York Giants beat the Commanders 20-12 on Sunday in Week 15 of the NFL season. With this, they maintain their chances of qualifying for the playoffs, but also ensured that the Dallas Cowboys advanced.
With the victory, New York is now 8-5-1 and in third place in the NFC East. The Commanders fell to 7-6-1 and fourth in the division.
Giants Stand Tall Against Commanders
The Commanders got the first three points of the game with a field goal in the first quarter as their defense kept the Giants at bay. However, New York took control early in the second quarter with a spectacular play by 22-year-old rookie linebacker Kayvon Thibodeaux, and the momentum permanently shifted.
Thibodeaux got into the Commanders’ pocket and smacked QB Taylor Heinicke, forcing one of the two fumbles he would have in the game. Thibodeaux recovered the ball to drive it into the end zone, a score that gave his team a 7-3 lead. The Giants then followed that with another TD to move ahead 14-3.
The Commanders finally turned on their attack in the third quarter. They set up a six-play, 91-yard drive that Heinicke capped off with a pass to rookie wide receiver Jahan Dotson in the end zone that put them up 14-9. The failed extra point was an example of the kind of day Washington was having.
The Giants continued their pressure and ended the third quarter with a field goal to extend the lead once again. Washington answered with its own field goal, but could never develop offensively.
Then, with about five minutes remaining, the Commanders had a chance to pull ahead. They marched down the field and were in the red zone, ready to strike. However, as Heinicke scrambled to avoid the Giants’ defense, he lost the ball. The referees decided he fumbled, and the Giants recovered.
Washington had another possibility after the defense held off the Giants. They got the ball back and ran it down the field, only to get stopped at the goal line with less than a minute to go. New York ran out the clock in a game that sportsbooks thought they would lose.
Raiders Give Thanks to the Pats
No game this week will top the contest between the Minnesota Vikings and the Indianapolis Colts. Still, the matchup between the Raiders and the New England Patriots will make history and the highlight reels for a different reason.
The Vikings achieved the biggest comeback in NFL history, recovering from a 0-33 loss at halftime to beat the Colts 39-36 in overtime. With that, they also clinched the NFC North Division title. While they were still celebrating the win on Sunday, the Raiders and Pats were giving one of the oddest closing acts of any game.
The game was tied 24-24, with time on the clock limited to one play. The Pats had the ball and had to score to avoid overtime, and looked toward running back Rhamondre Stevenson to put them within striking distance.
What just happened?? The @Raiders win on the final play!! #NEvsLV pic.twitter.com/cmKNUuab1k
— NFL (@NFL) December 19, 2022
He didn’t. Stevenson reached the Raiders’ 30 and saw a defense that was going to take him out, so he tossed the ball back to wide receiver Jakobi Meyers, who wasn’t expecting it.
Meyers begins running with the ball in the wrong direction before deciding to throw the ball to a phantom Pats player who was visible only to him. The Raiders picked him off and returned the ball for a TD.
With that, the Raiders picked up their win and stayed alive for the postseason. Next up, they face the Pittsburgh Steelers on Christmas Eve, looking for another Christmas present.
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