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Giants' defense answers Joe Judge's challenge to finish the game in win over Washington

Watch the game-changing plays by the Giants' defense in Week 9

Watch some of the New York Giants best defensive plays from their Week 9 win over the Washington Football Team.

The Washington Football Team had just scored on a 68-yard touchdown pass from backup quarterback Alex Smith to Terry McLaurin to pull within three points of the Giants with 10:24 left in the fourth quarter on Sunday at FedEx Field.

The Giants once had led by 17 points.

Coach Joe Judge gathered his defense on the sideline and delivered a simple message: Finish.

For once this season, the defense got it done.

On Washington’s final two drives, Jabrill Peppers and Logan Ryan picked off passes. The first one kept Washington from attempting a potential tying field goal. The second sealed the Giants’ 23-20 victory.

So what did Judge say?

"Basically, he just challenged us," Peppers said. "We know what he expects from us and we know the standard. He challenged us and we stepped up to the challenge and closed the game for him. That’s the type of coach Joe is. He’s going to get the best out of you one way or another."

Peppers said Judge implored the players "to close out the game. Stop the bleeding . . . We have to stop going up big and then letting teams back in the game and fighting our way to close the game out again when we can just steady-keel, even-keel all the way through. Play fundamentally sound, be great tacklers and execute. So he just challenged us to get back to playing Giants defense. I think we did a good job answering the bell."

Said Judge: "For us, the whole message was ‘Finish.’ That’s the thing you constantly hear our players saying over and over and over. We talked about it before the game, at halftime, throughout the game on the sideline: ‘We have to finish the game.’ "

Judge said Ryan’s interception of a pass over the middle with 1:15 left was the result of a wrinkle defensive coordinator Patrick Graham installed Saturday. It was a zone coverage, and Ryan was able to fool Smith because he had not been near the play on previous assignments. Ryan showed up at the last instant and was able to step in front of McLaurin after Smith delivered the pass.

"We talked Saturday morning," Judge said. " thought of something that could help. Obviously, it was. Logan was a featured player on that defense and he’s going to come away with the play pretty much exactly how Pat designed it."

Said Ryan: "In two-minute defense], we’ve been struggling all year. It was just a play that we put in Saturday night, like hours before the game. We said we were going to try something new and tried it in the first half. I messed up. I wasn’t there. They ran a 32-yard in-cut and that was my fault. That was my job there. And I told Pat, ‘Hey, that’s on me. Call it again and I’ll be there. I’ll make it right.’ "

Graham did. And Ryan did make it right when it counted the most.

Said Peppers: "It’s always good when you close it out on defense. The game shouldn’t have been that close to begin with. We had a lot of bonehead plays that put us in that position. But at the end of the day, it was a ‘W.’ "

New York Sports