This year’s “Mr. Irrelevant” came away with a shining moment in his young NFL career against the Washington Football Team on Sunday when he scored the game-winning touchdown on a fumble recovery late in the fourth quarter in the Giants’ 20-19 victory.
“I took it as motivation,” Crowder said of being labelled this year’s Mr Irrelevant. “I love the name, I just wanted to get here and get to work with my team and one of my goals this year was to just help the team in any way I can and I just thank God for being able to come to work every day and go to work with my team.”
Even before the touchdown, Crowder proved to be an impact player on defence for the Giants, making the most of his playing time in his second career start. The rookie out of Georgia recorded six solo tackles, including a pair of third-down stops, finishing second on the Giants with ten total tackles (behind team leader Blake Martinez).
Crowder’s score came in a crucial time for the Giants in their quest for the team’s first win of the season. With the score tied 13-13, and 3:29 left, Washington was at the Giants’ 45-yard line.
Giants edge rusher Kyler Fackrell broke through the line and strip-sacked Washington quarterback Kyle Allen, jarring the ball loose for Crowder to pick up and take the 43-yard distance to put his team ahead 20-13.
“I have to say big ups to my teammate Kyler Fackrell for making a great play,” Crowder said. “I was in the right place at the right time and just trying to make a play for my team.
“I wanted to dive on it. I knew that if I could scoop it up and get it in the end zone it would help the team and it was something we needed at the moment.”
Fellow rookie linebacker Cam Brown, who earned some defensive snaps, did his part to help Crowder make it to the end zone by throwing a key block against Washington wide receiver Terry McLaurin.
The defensive score, the second one by the Giants defence, proved to be a devastating one for Washington, particularly for Allen, who made his second start of the season and was looking for his first win.
“I’m just trying to step up in the pocket, I was going to tuck the ball as I stepped up and he got it out, it’s a nice play by him, I can’t make that mistake there,” Allen said of the play. “It’s too late in the game to be doing that.”
Crowder’s 43-yard touchdown was the Giants’ first fumble returned for a touchdown since Markus Golden’s 42-yard score on October 10, 2019, at New England, and the team’s longest fumble return touchdown since Jason Pierre-Paul 43-yarder at Cleveland on November 27, 2016.
Additionally, it was the first go-ahead defensive score in the last four minutes of a fourth-quarter or overtime since October 31, 1999, when Hall-of-Fame defensive end Michael Strahan scored on a 44-yard interception return in overtime to beat the Eagles in Philadelphia 23-17.
Crowder and the Giants hope the touchdown can prove to be a turning point in their season, as they look to make up some ground in the NFC East divisional race after an 0-5 start.
The Giants, who have a short week ahead of them thanks to a nationally televised date Thursday night date in Philadelphia, hopes to build some momentum off their first win of the Joe Judge era.