MINNEAPOLIS — Bring on the Eagles. The Giants have Daniel Jones.
Jones threw for 301 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for a franchise-record 78 yards. Saquon Barkley scored twice.
And the Giants’ protection acquired a closing possession cease on Kirk Cousins and the NFL’s comeback youngsters to upset the Minnesota Vikings, 31-24, on Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium.
“I know we have an elite quarterback,” Barkley mentioned of Jones. “He’s shown that multiple times. We’ve also got amazing players around him, too. We’ve got his back no matter what.”
Sunday’s victory, within the franchise’s first playoff sport since 2016, marked the Giants’ first postseason win since their 2011 Super Bowl season beneath Tom Coughlin.
Rookie coach Brian Daboll appeared to the sky because the clock hit zero and admitted he thought once more of his late grandparents who raised him, Ruth and Chris Kirsten of West Seneca, N.Y.,
“Private moment I don’t wanna talk about,” Daboll mentioned as his eyes welled up. “I don’t wanna talk about it ‘cause then I’ll choke up.”
Now that they’ve dismantled the 3-seed Vikings, Daboll and the 6-seed Giants will go to the top-seeded Philadelphia Eagles subsequent Saturday within the NFC’s divisional spherical.
They are 0-2 in opposition to their NFC East rival this season, shedding 48-22 at house in Week 14 on Dec. 11 and falling 22-16 at Lincoln Financial Field in Week 18 on Jan. 8 with largely backups enjoying in opposition to Philly’s starters.
But the Giants have Jones, in order that they imagine they’ve an opportunity.
He is the primary QB in NFL postseason historical past with 300-plus passing yards, 2-plus passing TDs & 70-plus dashing yards in a playoff sport, per NFL Research.
“I think on the first series there, he takes off, makes a play with his legs and doesn’t slide, kind of runs through the guy,” heart Jon Feliciano mentioned. “It’s tough when you have a quarterback that can do that and then dart it.”
Jones performed down the entire consideration on him and what Sunday’s win may imply within the nice debate over his profession and future.
“Not really focused on that,” he mentioned. “Trying to play as well as I can, and we’re all trying to do that. We’ve got a special group, special team, and that is what it’s about. Just trying to play as well as I can and win games.”
In a scene emblematic of Daboll’s workforce all 12 months, a few of the greatest late defensive performs had been made by rookie security Dane Belton and rookie nook Cor’Dale Flott, earlier than security Xavier McKinney made the ultimate sort out on tight finish T.J. Hockenson for a game-sealing turnover on downs with 1:44 to play.
“What’s crazy was Wink said we expect our great players to play great, and then right after he said that he said, that’s all of you guys,” veteran nook Adoree Jackson mentioned after limiting star Vikings wideout Justin Jefferson to seven catches for 47 yards. “And that lets you know the belief he has in us. And when someone believes in you even though you believe in yourself, that goes a long way. It lets us go out there, play fast and play free.”
Minnesota had gotten assist from a ridiculous roughing the passer name on Dexter Lawrence to begin the potential game-tying drive, however the protection didn’t flinch.
Belton tackled Dalvin Cook. Flott broke up a go for Okay.J. Osborn. And McKinney tackled T.J. Hockenson wanting the sticks on fourth down.
The Giants had tried to finish the sport with their offense up seven. But a Darius Slayton wide-open drop on third and 16 with 3:03 to play had compelled them to punt the ball again.
Again, this season is completely different. The protection, which gotten different key late performs from Darnay Holmes and Kayvon Thibodeaux, stepped up.
“Today it could have been me but next week it’ll be — hopefully not me again! — but it’ll be something. It’s football,” Slayton mentioned. “It’s gonna be somebody every week that does something that doesn’t help the team win. But at the end of the day, that’s why it’s a team game. The defense went out there and got the stop. It speaks to the strength of the team.”
It was the Giants’ offense that blew Sunday’s nationwide viewers away, although.
With the sport tied at 24 apiece, Jones engineered a 12-play, 75-yard drive capped by Barkley’s second TD of the sport, a hard-nosed run up the intestine from 2 yards out. That gave the Giants a 31-24 lead with 7:47 remaining.
The key performs had been a 19-yard completion to Isaiah Hodgins, a 10-yard swing go to Barkley with Kenny Golladay burying Vikings nook Duke Shelley into the turf on a block, and a 2-yard Jones run on 4th and 1 from the Vikings’ 7.
Hodgins drew a defensive holding name on Patrick Peterson to get the Giants inside two yards of the purpose line. Then Barkley carried former Giant Dalvin Tomlinson, the Vikings DT, into the top zone for the rating.
“That was big time,” Jones mentioned of Barkley’s second TD. “That was an impressive run from him. It was one of those where he wasn’t going to be denied. You could see that almost in the huddle before the ball was snapped. We had an expectation and just saw that. He did a great job there.”
To open the second half, Jones and the Giants offense mounted a 3rd TD drive of their first 5 possessions for a 24-14 lead with 11:37 to play within the third quarter. Jones hit Barkley (24) and Isaiah (32) for enormous completions to arrange a 9-yard TD go to tight finish Daniel Bellinger.
But Cousins and the Vikings answered instantly with a 75-yard TD drive of their very own, capped by a 3-yard Cousins TD go to tight finish Irv Smith. Julian Love almost intercepted Cousins on a go supposed for Jefferson damaged up by McKinney, however replay confirmed it had hit the bottom.
Jamie Gillan’s first punt of the sport, with about 4 and a half minutes left within the third quarter, almost resulted within the sport’s first turnover. Giants nook Nick McCloud jarred the ball unfastened from Vikings return man Jalen Reagor.
But Minnesota’s Kris Boyd recovered. And the Vikes drove for a 38-yard Greg Joseph area purpose to tie the sport at 24 apiece with 12:34 left within the fourth quarter.
O’Connell’s Vikings needed to hold scoring, as a result of the Giants offense was virtually unstoppable.
Jones got here out on fireplace and led the Giants to touchdowns on their first two drives, carrying them into halftime with a 17-14 lead.
The Giants’ offensive stats by means of their first two drives had been ridiculous: 9 performs, seven first downs, 166 yards (100 passing, 66 dashing), 18.4 yards per play, two TDs, 14 factors and one penalty.
Barkley scored the primary TD untouched on a 28-yard run behind nice blocks from left sort out Andrew Thomas, Hodgins and Feliciano. That rating supplied an necessary reply to Minnesota’s game-opening TD drive that was capped by a Cousins 1-yard run. And Hodgins caught a 14-yard go from Hodgins on the second drive.
With the protection settling down, the Giants then expanded their result in 17-7 with 3:25 left within the first half on a 25-yard Graham Gano area purpose after their longest drive (by time) of the season: 20 performs, 85 yards, 10 minutes and 52 seconds.
Cousins tore up the Giants’ protection for a 75-yard drive capped by a 9-yard TD go to wideout Okay.J. Osborn with 45 seconds remaining earlier than half to attract inside three.
Still, the Giants’ perception by no means wavered, even after shedding 27-24 in the identical constructing on Christmas Eve.
That was a making an attempt week. It had included a capturing on the Mall of America that had put the Giants and the Mall on lockdown the evening earlier than the sport.
“I mean we had three turnovers, we dealt with the shooting and then he banged the 61-yard field goal to win,” Feliciano mentioned. “We were pretty confident.”
Jones admitted there have been “definitely some nerves” going into Sunday’s sport, however he mentioned “once we settled in and started playing, it felt the same.”
Nothing feels the identical concerning the Giants anymore, although. They have Jones to thank for that.