It simply does not get sexier than Pro Bowler Sexy Dexy, and when the NY Giants pass rush needed him most in the wake of Azeez Ojulari’s latest injury, Dexter Lawrence managed to continue to collapse Kirk Cousins’ pocket as best he could to secure an upset win on Wild Card Weekend.
Lawrence’s pass rush was apparently so good that the Minneapolis referees had no interest in allowing his power to dictate the game.
Moments after the Darius Slayton drop that temporarily extended the game, Lawrence hitched up his pants and dialed up one more Cousins bull rush on second down. The Vikings quarterback held onto the ball as he was being spun down, then got rid of it very late, clattering an incomplete pass to the turf.
Unfortunately, the referees decided that Lawrence was wrong to pursue the quarterback — who, again, was still holding the ball during a live play — and determined that he must pay.
Instead of a crucial third down, Cousins’ Vikings were awarded a first down and 15 additional penalty yards. Lawrence did graze Cousins’ helmet, but … come on. This is “Tom Brady in the AFC Title Game Against the Chiefs”-level bad.
NY Giants almost sunk by Dexter Lawrence roughing the passer
Even in victory, we cannot let it be forgotten. This is what the NY Giants are dealing with, and will be battling moving forward.
It was hard to envision, at the time, that Cordale Flott was about to come up massive on third down, followed by Cousins throwing way short of the sticks to TJ Hockenson on fourth. Nothing about the sequence of events that followed the Lawrence hit made sense.
Typically, things unravel for the Giants — or any other team! — after getting their final defensive stand “derailed” by a controversial call. That’s why everyone who covers the team was, uh, so frustrated in the moment.
This team’s different, though. The same reporters grousing about the brutal call only had the two-minute warning to stew before the NY Giants defense stepped up and forced them to book their Amtrak tickets to Philadelphia for next weekend.
The call was so egregiously new-school that the Jets-centric Connor Hughes (who, for some reason, wasn’t watching live?) had to hate-agree that it was a brutal overreach.
NY Giants fans who were momentarily thrown off guard by Lawrence’s penalty had a friend in the booth in Kevin Burkhardt.
FOX’s top analyst didn’t mince words in the aftermath of the Lawrence hit, wondering aloud on the broadcast what exactly the team’s top interior lineman was supposed to do.
Leave it to Ralph Vacchiano, though, for dousing the complaint party with a sprinkle of realism.
In all honesty … have you seen some of these 2022 roughing calls? Of course they called a helmet tap!
We all knew this was coming. We were just hoping against hope the moment never arrived.
At least — at LEAST — it was Cousins on the other side.
The NY Giants’ pass rushers will have to bring their best next week to overwhelm Jason Kelce and Co. in Philly, and the health of Lane Johnson will be paramount. With Ojulari likely down for the count, Leonard Williams, Kayvon Thibodeaux (as long as he’s not being bear hugged) and Lawrence will need to be at their very best — and best-behaved, in this brave new world of the NFL.
Glad they got it out of their system in a win, but … never again.