Lawrence’s mistake gave Hopkins a second chance, and this time, from five yards closer, he didn’t miss. It was quite the redemption story for Hopkins, whose job appeared to be in jeopardy after a dreadful preseason. After making three of four field goals in the season opener, he was officially 3 for 3 against the Giants.
Hopkins’s game-winner wouldn’t have been possible if Taylor Heinicke hadn’t capitalized on his own second chance, leading a two-minute drive with one timeout after throwing an interception that led to Gano’s fifth field goal on Washington’s previous possession.
Fail: The Giants on ‘Thursday Night Football’
New York fell to 0-2 for the fifth consecutive season with its sixth straight loss on “Thursday Night Football" dating back to 2016. (And you thought Washington wilted in prime time.) Last year, Daniel Jones memorably tripped and fell on his way to the end zone in a 22-21 loss to the Eagles, denying him an 87-yard touchdown run. On Thursday, the Giants’ quarterback had a 58-yard touchdown run nullified by a questionable holding penalty and watched a wide open Darius Slayton drop a potential game-sealing touchdown in the fourth quarter.
Hail: Hei-ni-cke! Hei-ni-cke!
As a group of fans from the energetic and rain-soaked crowd at FedEx Field chanted his name, Heinicke joined the “Thursday Night Football” postgame show on NFL Network. Michael Irvin asked the QB, who passed for 336 yards and was 15 for 15 on Washington’s three touchdown drives, if he feels he’s earned the right to start for the rest of the year.
“I do,” he said, “and I have confidence that I can do it. If those guys in that locker room and the facility believe in me, that’s all that matters, but I think they do, so I just gotta try to keep this ball rolling.”
Ryan Fitzpatrick is expected to miss six to eight weeks with his hip injury, and unless Heinicke gets injured over the next couple months, Fitzpatrick won’t have a starting job waiting for him when he returns.
“Dude’s a baller, man,” Terry McLaurin, who had a career-high 11 catches for 107 yards and a touchdown, said of Heinicke after the game. “He comes prepared every time his moment is there.”
Lawrence’s penalty was the most crucial, but it was one of many infractions by both teams in the game. The Giants committed 11 penalties for 81 yards, while Washington was flagged nine times for 80 yards. The teams’ 20 combined penalties resulted in eight first downs.
Hail: White on white uniforms
Washington wore all-white Thursday night, a look that worked for the team in 2020. Last season, Washington broke out all-white for the first time since 2009 for a game against the Steelers in December — and handed Pittsburgh its first loss. Washington wore the combo two more times during the 2020 regular season, winning both games, and then again in a first-round playoff loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Fail: Elite defense
Washington allowed 391 yards and 29 points to a Giants team that ranked 31st in scoring last season. It failed to produce a turnover, allowed Jones to rush for 95 yards and left receivers wide open all night. None of that bodes well for Washington’s chances against the Buffalo Bills, who boast a much better offense led by an even more mobile quarterback in Josh Allen. Washington plays Buffalo on Sept. 26.
“Defensively, I would say we played very similar to last week,” defensive tackle Jonathan Allen said. “We did enough to get the win, but moving forward, we have to be better.”
Hail: Bobby Mitchell
Two months after Mitchell died at 84 in April 2020, the team announced that it would retire his No. 49 and rename the lower level at FedEx Field, formerly called the George Preston Marshall Level, in his honor. Mitchell spent 41 years with the team as a player, scout and front office executive and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1983. He broke the franchise’s color barrier in 1962 after being acquired by Marshall, the team’s founder and the last NFL owner to integrate his roster. With several of Mitchell’s family members in attendance, Washington celebrated the halfback’s legacy before the game, while players wore No. 49 decals on their helmets.
Fail: Covering Ricky Seals-Jones
New York’s 5-foot-11 cornerback Adoree’ Jackson didn’t have a chance on Heinicke’s fourth-quarter touchdown pass to the 6-foot-5 Seals-Jones, Washington’s backup tight end, who appeared in two games with the Chiefs last season. The 19-yard toss was perfectly placed in the back corner of the end zone, where only Seals-Jones could leap to get it, and he managed to get two feet down for a catch that Next Gen Stats gave a 13.7 percent chance of being completed.