EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The New York Giants put one on the board. Barely.
Coach Joe Judge and the Giants got their first win of the season, a wild, sloppy 20-19 victory over the Washington Football Team on Sunday that was sealed with a two-point conversion stop with 36 seconds remaining.
It was Judge's first career victory as a head coach. The Giants celebrated by throwing water on him in the locker room, and quarterback Daniel Jones said he presented Judge with a game ball.
Judge was hired earlier this year after spending the previous eight seasons in New England working mostly with special teams. He dropped his first five games as a head coach.
Washington coach Ron Rivera gave Judge and the Giants their opportunity late in regulation. Known as "Riverboat Ron" for his sometimes risky gambles, Rivera went for the win instead of an extra point to tie it after Cam Sims scored on a 22-yard TD catch from Kyle Allen. But on the ensuing conversion attempt, Allen's pass fluttered harmlessly to the ground after he scrambled out of the pocket and was hit as he threw.
"I want to win. I'm playing to win. I'm trying to get our players to understand this is how we do things. We do things to the max. We play to win games," Rivera said. "It bugs me because we lost. It pisses me off; I want to win games. I don't care that it's my first year [here]. I don't care that we have a group of young guys that have to learn. They will learn how to win."
Rivera's decision didn't surprise the Giants, who used a defensive call on the game-deciding play that was put into the game plan on Friday and ironed out Saturday. It worked as Allen couldn't find his initial target and was forced to unsuccessfully freelance.
"I was actually expecting them to go for two," Judge said. "They've been aggressive in a lot of situations this year, and Ron has always been aggressive as a head coach. You know, a lot of times when you're on the road, that is a decision you're going to make right there."
At this point, the Giants (1-5) and Judge will take a win any way they can get one. It doesn't matter that Allen seemingly fumbled them the game with 3:29 remaining, but then drove Washington down the field for what seemed to be the tying score. That's when Rivera got frisky.
Maybe this should've been expected. With these teams and this year's NFC East, nothing is conventional.
The win wasn't pretty for the Giants. They squandered an early 13-3 lead and made some head-scratching plays throughout, including a costly interception thrown in the end zone late in the third quarter by Jones.
Jones now has committed at least one turnover in 17 of 18 career starts. He did throw his first touchdown pass -- 23 yards to Darius Slayton in the first quarter -- since Week 1.
But it was the Giants' defense that made the key play late in this one. Kyler Fackrell sacked Allen and rookie Tae Crowder returned it 43 yards for a score to give the Giants the lead for good with 3:29 remaining. On this day, Mr. Irrelevant was relevant. Crowder was the final pick in this year's draft.
With the Giants' win, only the New York Jets remained winless entering Sunday's late afternoon games.
It took six weeks, but this was exactly what Judge needed to give his program some validation. Judge said he was proud of his team and happy they got to see tangible results from their hard work.
"We finally got our win," Giants defensive lineman Leonard Williams said. "We've been working hard and finally got to see some of the fruits to our labor. It was obviously an ugly win though."
The two teams combined for just 577 yards and three turnovers. Washington dropped its fifth straight.