Five Things: Week 17 – Indianapolis Colts at New York Giants

Embed from Getty Images

The New York Football Giants are in the playoffs! The G-Men dominated the Colts from the get-go and punched their ticket to the playoffs with a convincing 38-10 victory. Here are five things that stood out:

The Curse Has Been Broken

Prior to the Giants’ last playoff game in January 2017 against the Green Bay Packers, the now-infamous boat picture featuring the teams’ wide receivers was released. Since then, it’s felt like a curse has followed this team, but after five straight losing seasons, three head coaches, and some of the most downright uninspiring football many Giants fans have seen, the curse is over.

This wasn’t the only hoodoo to be broken on Sunday, however, as the Giants also put the nail in the coffin on two other scoring stats: the first is that the Giants finally scored over 30 points after failing to do so since an October 2020 loss against Dallas (that’s 43 games ago), and the second is that this is the first time we’ve scored more than 30 points at home since a 36-20 win over the Miami Dolphins in 2019.

So, with a raucous crowd behind them, the Brian Daboll-led Giants broke the curse and secured the sixth seed in the playoffs. They now have the option of resting their starters in the game next week against the current number-one seed Philadelphia Eagles, who ironically do not have the luxury as their defeat to the New Orleans Saints has opened the door for both San Francisco and Dallas to beat them to the punch.

Franchise Quarterback

At the beginning of the season, when it was revealed that the Giants wouldn’t be taking up the fifth-year option in Daniel Jones’s contract, many thought the writing was on the wall for the Duke product, and most of the chatter in the offseason focused on how many weeks Jones would get before Tyrod Taylor would lead the team for the rest of the year. How wrong we all were, and for that, Daniel, we are sorry.

Jones was already posting career numbers prior to the game against the Colts, but his performance in this game was a defining moment for him, with chants of “MVP” ringing around the stadium after he ran in for his second rushing touchdown and a fourth total touchdown. Finishing the game with 177 passing yards, two touchdowns (one to Richie James Jr. and one to Isaiah Hodgins), 91 rushing yards, two rushing touchdowns, and a passer rating of 125.2 Jones received a standing ovation from all four corners of the stadium when he was removed from the game on the Giants’ final drive.

The Defensive Front

Although the defence only had two sacks against the Colts, it was yet another stellar performance from the Giants’ defensive line as they finished the game with four quarterback hits, three tackles for loss, and one pass defended. This is despite the fact that for a majority of the game they only had two of their fearsome starting front four as Leonard Williams was limited to 29 of the snaps due to a stinger and Azeez Ojulari, who is recovering from last week’s ankle injury, only had six.

Both of the sacks were phenomenal plays, but they will be remembered for very different reasons. Kayvon Thibodeaux was unblocked as he ploughed through Nick Foles, unfortunately injuring the quarterback. A lot of ire has been cast at the young pass rusher as he started to do snow angels next to the injured Foles. It’s my belief that Kayvon had no idea that Foles was badly hurt, and this was backed up by his post-match comments. Dexter Lawrence’s sack, however, will be remembered for how he abused Quenton Nelson, the highest-paid guard in the league, and used him as a weapon to sack Sam Ehlinger in the third quarter.

Embed from Getty Images

Landon Turns Back Time

It’s been a tough few years for Landon Collins. After being drafted by the Giants in 2015, Collins would be named to the all-rookie team, a first-team all-pro in 2016, and a pro bowler for three straight years between 2016 and 2018. The Giants, however, would let him go as an unrestricted free agent after 2018, and after three injury-ridden years in Washington derailed his promising start, he started this season without a team. Collins rejoined the Giants in October, albeit on the practise squad, and was promoted to the active roster on December 22nd.

On Sunday, with the Giants up 14-3 late in the 2nd quarter and the Colts driving near midfield, Collins cut in front of a Nick Foles pass intended for Parris Campbell and returned it to the house for the Giants’ first pick-six of the season. Collins, whose last pick-six was back in 2016 against the then-St. Louis Rams in London, is still only 28 and could be a valuable veteran presence for the Giants for both the rest of the season and beyond.

Coaching Excellence

As mentioned earlier in this article, the Giants have fired three head coaches since their last appearance in the postseason, and during that time, we’ve also gone through four offensive coordinators, three defensive coordinators, and two general managers. The difference now, though, is that we finally have a complete coaching and back-office setup that seems set up for the future, and once we shake off the cap shackles brought on by the Dave Gettleman era, this Giants team could return to the days of competing for the NFC East division every year.

As far as the present goes, we can look forward to a playoff berth that we can be proud of regardless of the outcome, and despite us having a young roster, many of whom have never experienced the playoffs before, we have a coaching staff that has been moulded by them. Brian Daboll was the Patriots’ offensive coordinator for much of their AFC dominance, as well as the Bills’ offensive coordinator in recent years. Wink Martindale coached in four playoff games while in Baltimore, allowing only 20 points per game, and Mike Kafka was the QB coach at Kansas for the past few years, including their Super Bowl victory in 2020.

Read our Latest articles

A tribute to… the lateral pass

The lateral pass may sit in the shadow of the far-more-common forward pass in American football but it still plays a crucial role in the

Read >

A tribute to… the fake punt

In the grand theatre that is American football, few tactics exemplify the art of deception quite like the fake punt. The sneaky trick play dates

Read >