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Sunday Night Football: Calls go against Commanders in 20-12 loss to Giants

Maria Taylor, Tony Dungy, Jason Garrett, Mike Florio and Steve Kornacki dive into Week 15, where last-minute wins tilted the Wild Card races, and offer their hottest takes entering the final stretch.

The Giants won for the first time in five weeks, moving into the sixth spot in the NFC playoff picture. Their 20-12 victory over the Commanders clinched a playoff berth for the Cowboys, who lost to the Jaguars earlier in the day.

The Giants are 8-5-1, while the Commanders fell to 7-6-1 but remain in the seventh spot in the playoff chase.

The Commanders scored a touchdown with 1:01 remaining on Brian Robinson’s 1-yard run, but Terry McLaurin was cited for an illegal formation. Washington got two more chances, and both were incompletions.

Taylor Heinicke’s fourth-down pass into the end zone was intended for Curtis Samuel, who had Darnay Holmes wrapped all over him with no chance to catch the ball. Holmes got away with pass interference with 48 seconds left, and the Giants escaped with a win two weeks after the teams tied 20-20.

NBC rules analyst Terry McAulay said he wouldn’t have called the illegal formation, referring to it as “too technical,” and he disagreed with the non-call for pass interference.

The Commanders still would have had to convert a 2-point conversion to tie it.

On a 2-point conversion in the third quarter, Heinicke hit Samuel in the end zone, but Jahan Dotson was cited for offensive pass interference for blocking Holmes. (McAulay agreed with that call.)

It was that kind of night for Washington.

Washington led 3-0 after its first drive of the night, but it’s the only time the Commanders led. They trailed by 11 at halftime.

Rookie edge rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux starred for the Giants, with 12 tackles, three tackles for loss, a sack, a forced fumble and a fumble he recovered for a 1-yard touchdown.

Saquon Barkley had 87 yards on 18 carries, and Daniel Jones went 21-of-32 for 160 yards.

The Commanders had 99 more yards than the Giants, gaining 387. Heinicke was 17-of-29 for 249 yards and a touchdown. He also lost two fumbles, the one that Thibodeaux returned for a touchdown and another in the red zone.

Robinson ran for 89 yards on 12 carries, and Dotson caught four passes for 105 yards and a touchdown.