Sunday was a playoff gig for the New York Giants as they qualified for the postseason for the first time since 2016 with their 38-10 win over the Indianapolis Colts. Let’s get to our “Kudos & Wet Willies” review, where there is a lot of praise and grudgingly little criticism.
Daniel Jones – What Jones did on Sunday is what good midfielders need to do – lead their team to win the games they have to win. Yes, ponies are terrible. Despite this, the Giants still had to take advantage of them. Jones made sure they did.
I wrote most of Sunday night The “Things I Believe” column About Jones, so I won’t go into great detail here. This, however, was Jones at his best. Four touchdowns – two passes, two runs. using his legs. Show toughness.
Jones has earned the respect of his teammates and coaches. He earned respect from the MetLife Stadium crowd chanting his name on Sunday afternoon. No matter where you’ve stood on Jones in the past, or where you’ve stood on what his future should be, I hope he at least earned your respect for what he’s done for the Giants this year.
Richie James – Another big game for James with seven receptions on seven goals for 76 yards and a touchdown. James is somewhat of a symbol for this Giants team. Nobody expected much from him, but he’s been really good at the start of the season, hit a rough patch in the middle, and rebounded with fury in recent weeks.
James is now tied with Saquon Barkley for leading the team in receptions with 57, and has a career-high 569 yards. He also has four touchdowns, tying with Isaiah Hodgins for the team lead.
Also show a nice background look:
Landon Collins – The only player on the roster who was with the Giants when they last fought a playoff game in 2016, Collins’ 52-yard pick six was the play that pretty much sealed the deal on Sunday, making it 21-3 in the second quarter.
Collins is one of the Giants’ many redemption stories in 2022-23. He didn’t have a job earlier this year, joined the Giants’ practice squad and dipped there while learning a new position, and has now emerged as a contributing player.
Kayvon Thibodeaux – Thibodeaux set the defensive tone on the Colts’ first play, pinning Zack Moss for a 3-yard loss. He finished the day with a sack, a pass defensed, a quarterback hit and five tackles, two for loss.
Thibodeaux caused a stir by making a snow angel next to a downed Nick Foles after a second quarter sack that drove the veteran quarterback from the game. I wouldn’t kill Thibodeaux for it – watching the replay it’s clear to me that Thibodeaux was unaware that Foles was injured.
Isaiah Hodgins – Four receptions, including a touchdown, for Hodgins. Hodgins has been a revelation ever since the Giants called him on waivers.
Saquon Barkley – This wasn’t a huge game for Barkley (12 carries for 58 yards; two receptions for -5 yards). However, he had a few big runs while the game was still in doubt and finished with 1,312 rushing yards for the year, his career best in a season.
Dexter Lawrence – I wonder if anyone has ever done this to three-time All-Pro guard Quenton Nelson before:
Lawrence was his usual game-ruining self. He finished with a sack, three quarterback hits and five tackles (two for loss).
Giants pass protection – The Giants got a break when the Colts put defensive end Yannick Ngakoye (9.5 sacks) on IR, but Sunday had one of his best passes coming from Daniel Jones. He was never sent off and only injured twice
Brian Double – The first-year coach is the single biggest reason the Giants, a team that very few think have a chance to be good this season, are in the playoffs. That’s really “kudos” to Daboll’s work all season. He may not win Coach of the Year, but he definitely should get some votes.
MetLife Stadium crowd The Giants fans in attendance brought energy from the start. The stadium “jumps all four quarters,” offensive lineman Nick Gates said. Giants Sunday fans have waited a long time, and they certainly let it go.
Wet Willis To …
Giants kickoff coverage Giants continued to struggle in this area. They gave up three returns for 100 yards (33.3 yards per return) to the Dallas Flowers, and veteran playmaker Graham Gano had to tackle one of them.
Darius Slayton – After catching a Jones pass in the first half of the second half, Slayton fumbled. With the Giants leading 24-6 and fans at MetLife ready to celebrate, Slayton’s misstep temporarily halted the festivities. A better team than Indianapolis might have used that as a springboard for a second half comeback. Of course, the abyssal Colts were unable to score and the Giants resumed their offense after that.
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