If right after we lost to Washington you told me not to worry, because in a few weeks the Giants would be one win away from the Super Bowl, I may have laughed at you. Between now and then, there have been several great plays that have helped us get to where we are today—JPP’s blocked field goal, Victor Cruz’s 99-yard touchdown run; the two forth down stops against Atlanta—just to name a few.
But this Sunday, there was a play that topped them all. It reminded many of David Tyree’s helmet catch in Super Bowl XLII. That was miraculous and not just the catch, it was really a series of miracles—Eli escaping the sack, Tyree securing the ball against his helmet and then holding on and keeping the ball off the turf as Harrison slammed him to the ground. That play saved the game. Hakeem Nicks’ Hail Mary snag on Sunday saved the season. He may have used two hands, but his play may have also fundamentally changed the franchise.
Watch the video portion: http://afandivided.com/2012/01/19/hail-hakeem/
Or read it here:
It was the play of the game. It was ESPN's number one play of the week. It was the play that may define our season.
Our New York Football Giants are conservative. They run the ball. They play good defense. They are content settling for field goals. As fans, this is what we are accustomed to, it's what we have come to live with and expect.
So with less than a minute left in the half, we all thought that the Giants would run out the clock, and, after Bradshaw's run, we thought maybe they'll try to get a short pass, get in better field goal range. This is what we all thought; this is what the Green Bay Packers thought, because that is what the Giants do. So what happened next was astounding.
At this point in the game, I was still fuming over that inexplicably horrendous no fumble call. How were we possibly going to over come this, how awful would it be if we were to lose this game by 7. Yes we have a three point lead, but Green Bay gets the ball back in the second half and there goes our lead. Somehow we needed to find a way to get that touchdown back. Then the ball left Eli Manning's hands. What are they doing, who's in the end zone, oh my god he caught it. Touchdown, touchdown, that's a touchdown.
And there it was. The Giants had gotten the touchdown back with a play that was so unlike them, and yet a catch that was very familiar--a helmet catch. It's easy to compare them--both were miracles, both saved the game--but this catch may do a little more than that--calling this play, executing this play, represents a profound shift in this team's methodology, in it's personality. We've been waiting for these Giants since we won the Super Bowl. We were on the verge in ‘08, but then Plax shot himself, the next two years were frustrating and so was a good portion of this year. But perhaps finally they have arrived. They're confident, they're aggressive; they play to win, not just to not lose, but to win. Like when Eli and Victor converted that third and long at the end of the game, if we had been forced to punt there who knows what would have happened, but they didn't have to, because we didn't run a draw or a screen or throw a pass a yard short of the marker. We just got the first down and we won the game.
Now, are the days of "we're going to win this game 10 to 7 but it's going to be the longest 15 minutes of your life" over? Probably not. I would strangely miss those games. But for now and hopefully for the next two weeks, we will continue to see these Giants.
The stars seem to be aligning themselves don't they, but we mustn't get too ahead of ourselves. We still have another mighty opponent to face this week. It's another rematch, another chance for the Giants to redeem a loss, another chance to prove that they're not the same team they were a few weeks ago. And if somehow they manage to we move on and do what a few weeks ago would have seemed like an insane impossibility, then I think we will look back at that catch, that Hail Mary, technically called a "flood tip" perhaps they should rename it the "Hail Hakeem," as the turning point, as the play that changed everything. We can only wait and see, but I can hardly wait.