Daniel Jones big game helps Giants end playoff drought
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ — The New York Giants secured their first postseason berth since 2016 with a 38-10 win over the Indianapolis Colts at MetLife Stadium on Sunday.
The celebratory scene included the home fans chanting the name of Daniel Jones, the quarterback received a standing ovation as he was pulled out of the blowout, and coach Brian Daboll getting drenched with a Gatorade bath. All of this in Daboll’s first year in charge with one week left in the regular season.
“It’s really special,” said running back Saquon Barkley. “A huge achievement.”
The Giants returned to the playoffs on four touchdowns (two passes, two rushing) from Jones, who completed 19 of 24 passes for 177 yards and rushed for 91 yards on 11 carries in a dominant performance. He was dragged two games into a drive midway through the fourth quarter, prompting a curtain call from a fan base he appears to have won in his fourth pro season. And not a moment too late – just before he hits the free hand.
Jones was mobbed by coaches and teammates, including Barkley, as he came to the sidelines for the rare gesture Daboll felt deserved.
“It was a special moment,” Jones said after the game. “A lot of people who put in a lot of work. We’ve certainly gone through some tougher times and it sure feels good to be on this side. Special moment with these guys. Really proud of this team, proud of what we are today did. I’m grateful to be a part of it.”
The Giants (9-6-1) needed just a win over the Colts to secure sixth place in the NFC playoffs, where they will likely play either the San Francisco 49ers or the Minnesota Vikings in the wildcard round . They have achieved a winning season for the second time in 10 years.
“It feels good,” said Daboll.
The last time the Giants made the postseason, Ben McAdoo was the coach, Jerry Reese was the general manager, and Eli Manning was the quarterback. Wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. was in the midst of his third straight dominant season, which ended with a memorable boat ride and a playoff loss for the Giants to the Green Bay Packers.
Landon Collins was also an All-Pro safety this season. Collins, in his second stint with the Giants, is now a part-time linebacker. He had an interception return for a touchdown (his first since 2016) against the Colts against the Colts against the Colts to make it 21-3.
The Giants’ success this season comes in their freshman year with Daboll as coach and Joe Schoen as general manager. They were hired by the Buffalo Bills earlier this year and tasked with turning the ailing, once-proud franchise on its head.
Schoen and Daboll inherited a streak that has been tied with the New York Jets for the NFL’s worst record in five years this season. The Giants went 4-13 last season.
Her goal has always been to try to spontaneously rebuild and compete. “Competite today and build for tomorrow,” said Schoen. That’s exactly what they did. The Giants went into the season with a projected total win of six per Caesars Sportsbook. They topped that before Halloween, with Jones playing the best football of his career and Barkley resembling his rookie year self.
“Let’s face it, nobody but the men and women at this facility gave us the chance to make this happen,” said Barkley, who rushed for a career-best 1,307 yards on Sunday following his rookie season. “We stuck to the script, kept believing in each other and gave each other the opportunity. And we did it.”
Players like Jones and Barkley have endured most of the tough times in recent years. This season marked the first time in their career that they had a winning record at any point during the season. This will be their first foray into the postseason. The same goes for players like Dexter Lawrence, Julian Love, Darius Slayton, Andrew Thomas and even Leonard Williams, who started his career with the Jets.
“It means a lot,” said Love, the team’s captain and defensive playcaller. “They have [had] learned and experienced many hard lessons here in recent years. i know i have Just getting into this position means a lot. It’s hard not to be emotional.”
The Giants had lost at least 10 games in each of the previous five seasons. Barkley said after a recent win in Washington that got the Giants back on track after a tough stretch, making the playoffs “was the goal from the jump.”
Achieving that goal for this team was significant. That brought Daboll the Gatorade bath, which he followed with his trademark first pump, which was shown on the stadium’s video wall, much to the delight of the packed house.
“It was sticky and wet,” Daboll said, laughing. “Of course it was a good excitement. They work hard in this business to try and give themselves a chance to play extra innings or play more games. So we did. We’ve put ourselves in a position to play more than just one more game. So, excitement, of course. Definitive.”