Joe Judge’s NY Giants looked the part of a legitimate contender in Sunday’s win against the Eagles, but now it’s about sustaining success down the stretch
Back in the summer heat during an excruciating physical training camp, NY Giants head coach Joe Judge was setting the foundation for the blue collar team he hoped to build, and the fruits of those punishment laps, full contact modified Oklahoma style tackling drills and taking the names off of jerseys finally sprouted in a big way Sunday.
Sunday afternoon was easily the most consequential game the Giants have played since a playoff loss following the 2016 season, and Judge’s Giants rose to the occasion in a 27-17 win over the Philadelphia Eagles. Across the board.
“Joe has been a part of a lot of winning programs,” Giants defensive back Jabrill Peppers said. “All we had to do was buy in. We knew it wasn’t going to be easy. A lot of the times it was more execution things. When you see how close you are, and then it’s a play here and a play there, it kind of keeps you wanting to keep pushing and keep chomping at the bit.
“You have to stay bought in because it’s going to turn and we felt that. We were in it damn near every game we played and it just came to a couple plays here and there.”
Sunday, the Giants defense slammed the door on Carson Wentz and the Eagles, including cornerback James Bradberry breaking up a critical 4th down pass to seal the win, one week after the defense intercepted Alex Smith on two consecutive possessions to salt out the win.
After dropping five consecutive one-score games, the Giants have now won two straight against division opponents.
For the second consecutive week, quarterback Daniel Jones managed a turnover free game. He made as many big plays with his legs — including rushing for a touchdown — as he did with his arm, a critical 40-yard bomb to wide receiver Darius Slayton and numerous clutch throws to keep drives alive, putting forth his finest performance in the biggest game of his life.
“Daniel continues to be an improving player,” Judge said afterward. “He’s a tough dude, mentally and physically, and that spreads throughout our entire team. When he steps into that huddle, there’s 10 guys looking at him knowing he’s going to be the one to give them the answer to the problem on the field.”
Jones did that in spades Sunday, rushing for 64 yards, including a 34-yard touchdown scamper, and completing 21-of-28 passes for 244 yards and a 100.9 passer rating.
Now in second place in the NFC East, trailing only the 3-5-1 Eagles, the Giants in a lot of ways are in the driver’s seat already having swept the Washington Football Team, knocked off the Eagles once and have just one divisional opponent — the beleaguered and banged up Dallas Cowboys who will be packing up their lockers and unpacking their golf bags long before the Week 17 clash at MetLife Stadium.
Sunday, the Giants showed they are plenty capable of executing the formula necessary to win the tough, meat grinder games necessary in November and December to make the postseason; running the ball effectively, timely plays on defense, and enough big plays to dictate to the opponent.
For as young as this team and this staff is, the Giants also seem to have the right mindset to go on a bit of a run.
“We just can’t get too far ahead,” Bradberry said. “We’ve got to take it week by week. I know in the past when I played on certain teams, if we looked too far ahead, we messed up on those certain games that we were overlooking. So just lock in each week and then just play ball and execute when it’s time to play.”
The Giants have shown the last two weeks they can do exactly that. Now, it’s about sustaining the success and building on it down a six game sprint to the finish of a very winnable race that they find themselves in the thick of, maybe before even they themselves expected to be running in it.