EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — The New York Giants walked out of a relatively somber locker room Sunday night not really knowing what to feel about their 20-20 tie against the Washington Commanders.
The stakes were higher than they have been for a regular season game around here in six years.
The Giants (7-4-1) and Commanders (7-5-1) are both smack dab in the middle of the NFC wild-card picture, and the expectation was that the team that won would take a step forward in that pursuit, driving a stake through the heart of the team that lost.
The fact that neither side won nor lost sets up a continuation of sorts for the rematch in two weeks at Washington, a game that looms even larger now.
“For me, a tie feels worse than a loss right now,” Giants rookie tight end Daniel Bellinger said. “We fought really hard. They’re a good team, they fought, too. I mean, it just sucks. The empty feeling sits in your stomach. One more play could’ve helped us win that game. One more inch could’ve helped us win. Yeah, we didn’t lose, but we didn’t win this game, either, and that’s what we all are upset about.”
Giants linebacker Jihad Ward took things one step further as he turned the page on Washington, for a week, and set his sights on the NFC leading Eagles. “Personally, I’m treating this like an L.”
The Giants-Washington rematch at FedEx Field in Landover, Md. in two weeks could be played on Saturday or Sunday in what will most likely be in a marquee spot, depending on how the NFL and the networks shuffle the schedule. The game is among a group of five being considered for Saturday’s tripleheader (1 p.m., 4:15 p.m., 8:30 p.m.), and sounds like it could go in the late afternoon spot, if that’s the way things work out.
However, there is a chance that the Giants-Commanders could also wind up in prime time on Sunday night if the league puts Bills-Dolphins on Saturday night.
While lamenting the tie, Giants star running back Saquon Barkley was aleady looking forward to the next meet: “You’ve got a sour taste in your mouth after a tie. That’s really what it is. That’s why it feels like a loss. Like I said, go back, watch film, improve and get back on it.”
Feliciano’s taunting fallout
Giants center Jon Feliciano was not happy with the taunting penalty that was called against him in the fourth quarter that cost the Giants a chance at points.
He danced around criticism of officials for a few questions post-game, trying to avoid a fine, and admitted that Giants coach Brian Daboll was upset with his decision to flex at teammate Darius Slayton after walking through a crowd of Commanders players. That drew a 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalty that ultimately knocked the Giants out of field goal range.
Later, though, Feliciano couldn’t resist when asked about the emotions stemming from a tie: “It sucks, especially when you’re playing two teams. I know that will probably get me fined. I’m pretty sure you are not allowed to hit Richie [James] when he is trying to bring the ball to the ref in the two-minute drill. That’s a flag.”
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