NFC East Reporter
LANDOVER, Md. — Dexter Lawrence was on the sideline so he did not have a superb view of the play that set the tone for the Giants on Sunday evening. He knew the Commanders had been backed up towards their very own finish zone. He heard the roar, after which he noticed the celebration.
Then he noticed who had scored the landing for the Giants, and all he may do was shake his head.
“After I noticed who scored, I used to be like ‘That is going to be a protracted prepare trip residence,'” Lawrence stated. “We aren’t going to listen to the top of it.”
He should not fear, although, as a result of it was going to be a contented recap after the Giants’ 20-12 win over the Commanders on Sunday evening — a win that each one however assured they are going to be within the playoffs for the primary time since 2016. It was a win powered by a protection that was ignited by rookie edge rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux, who had 12 tackles, three for losses, and one sack.
On that sack he compelled a fumble by Washington quarterback Taylor Heinicke, then scooped up the ball on the 1 and scored to offer the Giants a 7-3 lead — and simply the increase they wanted to shake off an unpleasant first quarter. However that wasn’t all. He gave a dominant defensive efficiency, that included operating down Heinicke and hammering him out of bounds simply 1 yard wanting a doable game-tying landing with 1:03 remaining.
Not dangerous for a man who teased his personal efficiency simply 5 days earlier when he advised reporters “Prime time likes me.”
“Man, I do not mislead you all,” Thibodeaux stated after the sport.
No, he doesn’t.
“He exudes confidence and that is going to spice up that much more,” stated veteran security Julian Love. “His ardour was displaying as we speak. And that zeal he was displaying as we speak was what we wanted, to be trustworthy with you. We would have liked that increase.”
They actually did, as a result of heading into this sport the Giants (8-5-1) had been sagging, with only one win of their final six video games. They knew they had been barely clinging to a spot within the playoffs, and that with a loss they’d begin to really feel their possibilities slipping away.
Thibodeaux, the primary draft decide of the brand new Giants regime who was chosen fifth total again in April, felt the second and appeared to sense that it could be his second too. Even earlier than the sport, he did one thing rookies hardly ever do — he known as his teammates collectively on the sphere after warmups and gave them a pep speak.
He could not keep in mind what he stated — “One thing simply got here out of me.” However no matter it was left his teammates impressed.
“Not solely did he step up and discuss it,” operating again Saquon Barkley stated. “He let his play do the speaking too.”
Virtually each play he made appeared to be larger than the following. He was flying everywhere in the discipline nearly to the purpose of exhaustion. And that sort out of Heinicke on the Giants’ 1 actually saved the sport.
But it surely was the landing that his teammates could not cease speaking about. That is partially as a result of they recalled an an identical play from two weeks in the past when Thibodeaux sacked Heinicke on the 2-yard line on the finish of additional time. He knew he may’ve gotten the ball out then and given the Giants the win, as a substitute of getting to accept a 20-20 tie.
This time he wasn’t about to let his second within the highlight go to waste.
“I seen him and I used to be like, ‘S—t, he is nonetheless obtained the ball,'” Thibodeaux stated. “Then after I hit him, I simply saved going.”
Was it only a coincidence that he made the play he could not make two weeks in the past in an even bigger sport on an even bigger stage?
“Nothing is a coincidence,” he stated. “It isn’t a coincidence.”
“He had that look in his eyes like ‘I do know who my matchup is, and I will win it,'” Love stated. “He was an ideal catalyst on our protection as we speak.”
They wanted each little bit of it in a sport that got here all the way down to the final play. Two performs after Thibodeaux stopped Heinicke on the 1, cornerback Darnay Holmes actually ended the sport by by some means deflecting a fourth-down move away from Curtis Samuel in the long run zone (and by some means with out drawing a flag).
There was extra to the sport than simply that, in fact. Quarterback Daniel Jones put collectively a superb, 18-play, 97-yard landing drive late within the first half. Saquon Barkley lastly rediscovered his energy with 52 dashing yards within the fourth quarter, too.
Thibodeaux stood out as a result of it has been years because the Giants have had the sort of defensive participant who may disrupt a sport like he did. They actually have not had one because the days of Michael Strahan, Osi Umenyiora and Justin Tuck. They’ve some good gamers on the line of defense, notably defensive tackles Dexter Lawrence and Leonard Williams.
However Thibodeaux is totally different. That is the way in which he was billed. That is why the Giants drafted him so excessive. They believed he may very well be an actual difference-maker. They at all times believed his time would come.
Giants coach Brian Daboll stated he had been constructing in direction of this. Thibodeaux known as it a “manifestation” after a pre-game speak together with his mom, who advised him he may do something he believed. No matter it was, this was the second everybody had been ready for, and the truth that it got here in prime time with the Giants needing a push in direction of the playoffs caught no person without warning.
“I believe it is simply the beginning,” Barkley stated. “He confirmed what he is able to doing.”
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Ralph Vacchiano is the NFC East reporter for FOX Sports activities, overlaying the Washington Commanders, Philadelphia Eagles and New York Giants. He spent the earlier six years overlaying the Giants and Jets for SNY TV in New York, and earlier than that, 16 years overlaying the Giants and the NFL for the New York Every day Information. Observe him Twitter at @RalphVacchiano.
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Publish date: 2022-12-19 11:50:28
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