At one point this season the Giants were 7-7, and giving up more than their share of big plays on defense. I recall thinking “why bother making the playoffs” if this is what we are.
On December 18th the Giants lost a terrible game to the Washington Redskins to fall to 7-7. This coming off the Sunday night win in Dallas that was billed as a must win for their playoff chances. On that day the offense looked awful for the first time all year. It was a brutally cold and windy day in New Jersey, and the Giants looked like they wanted to be anywhere but there as they got pushed around and bullied by the ‘Skins.
Next up the New York Jets. Obviously this game came at just the right time. Although the Jets walked down the field on their first drive, the Giants made adjustments at halftime and won the game 29-14. This was the first game in which the defense showed some aggression. They went with more man coverage on the outside. They were physical with the Jet receivers, and applied the pass rush that they had become known for in past years. Forcing the Jets into trying to execute long drives. The defense was responsible for just the 7 points in this game. Then the re-match with the Cowboys arrived and another stellar defensive effort, helped out by the fact the offense gave them 21 points to work with in the first half. Again the opponent scored just 14 points. The defenses confidence grew, the game plan became similar game to game. Keep the play in front of you, be physical, and play as a team. The Falcons were the next victim scoring zero points in the first ever playoff game at the new stadium. The following two weeks brought totals of 20 and 17 points scored against. The formula works….and here we are in the Super Bowl.
The defense has now made this the most balanced team that entered the playoffs. If they remain balanced in their play, we should have another parade down the Canyon of Heroes in the very near future.