The Giants’ season rolled on after they defeated the Vikings 31-24 in their first playoff game since 2016. Now they’ll have a date on Saturday with the Philadelphia Eagles in the divisional round, but first, let’s take a look back at the game that was on Sunday evening.
The Giants’ defense held strong as the game played out between two dueling offenses that were trying to find a way to break the others’ back. In the end, New York’s Saquon Barkley scored the winning TD and the defense stopped the high-powered Minnesota offense on their final drive of the game.
Some have suggested that the Giants have been playing their best football of the season of late. It was a notion that Brian Daboll has steered clear of.
“I’d say we don’t concern ourselves with that,” Daboll said on Monday. “We concern ourselves with our preparation and our process and our practice habits and doing everything we can do as a coaching staff and as players to get ready to play a game. We’re in a short week here. There’s a lot of work that needs to be done.”
Let’s get the bad news out of the way first.
The Giants wideout didn’t have a bad game, but in a moment where New York could have iced the game in the fourth quarter, Darius Slayton dropped a ball that hit him right in the hands. Quarterback Daniel Jones looked for Slayton on 3rd and 15 and had him open with less than three minutes to go and the drop gave the Vikings one more chance to make a play for the end zone. The Giants D managed to stave off the Vikings and saved Slayton from having the drop that fans would not have forgotten.
It was hard to ignore the roughing the passer call late in the game that could have nearly changed the course of the game. It quite literally could have cost the Giants a win. Even the staunchest Vikings fans was probably as perplexed as everyone else when the officials called a roughing the passer on Dexter Lawrence. It was the latest example of the officials being to overzealous in protecting the quarterbacks and as you might imagine Daboll went ballistic on the sideline.
The corner was tasked with trying to contain T.J. Hockenson on Sunday, which proved to be a tall order at times for Darnay Holmes. Hockenson had a game-high 10 receptions for 129 yards by the time all was said and done. Holmes did make a couple of plays as the game went on.
Now for the good news.
This was a signature win for the Giants QB and continues to solidify the fact that he won’t be going anywhere this offseason. In one of the biggest games in recent franchise history, Jones answered the call by completing 24 passes for 301 yards and two touchdowns. On the ground, Jones showed no fear rushing 78 yards. He took the Giants and put them on his back as he commanded his team down the field each drive.
His touchdown ended up being the game-winner, but Barkley’s effort extended beyond just that drive in the fourth quarter. Barkley ended the night with 109 yards on 15 total touches and he showed that brute force that he can play with that makes him one of the best backs in the game. Even when his carries were slim, Barkley remained a key factor in the win.
The impact of Lawrence was felt all game by the Giants. He finished the day with six tackles and four quarterback hits, including one for a loss. There was a reason why he was named an All-Pro and he showed it on Sunday against the Vikings.