Mark Sanchez (6) of the New York Jets grimaces after being sacked by by Justin Tuck (91) and Dave Tollefson (71) of the New York Giants during the third quarter of a game at MetLife Stadium on December 24, 2011 in East Rutherford. New Jersey. (Photo by Rich Schultz /Getty Images)
We all know how the 2011-2012 season turned out for the New York Giants. It ended as well as a season can for an NFL team. Had things not turned out the way they did in Week 17 and the playoffs, however, you can make an argument that what happened in Week 16 would have been enough to make the season satisfying, anyway.
That is because Week 16 was when the Giants faced the New York Jets. The Giants, of course, had spent the better part of two years listening to Jets coach Rex Ryan talk down to them and they walked into MetLife Stadium as the visiting team only to find their Super Bowl murals covered.
It was during the week leading up to this game that defensive back Antrel Rolle called out unnamed teammates who in his mind had not been practicing enough during the week. In case you don't remember, this is what Rolle said:
"It starts in practice, man. This s- starts in practice. And you know what? We need to have everyone on the field. If you're injured, so be it, you're injured. We understand that. But nicks and bruises? Everyone needs to be on the field because we're not getting better like this."
Born from that was the "All In" rallying cry that helped pull the Giants together as they embarked on what would become yet another historic late-season run to a title.
In the game against the Jets the Giants trailed 7-0 before reeling off 20 straight points. Victor Cruz made the defining play, a 99-yard catch-and-run on third-and-10 that gave the Giants a 10-7 lead they never relinquished.
HD NY Giants Victor Cruz 99 Yard TD Catch vs Jets (12-24-11) (via HQVids999)
The Jets pulled within 20-14 with 7:4 left when quarterback Mark Sanchez ran for a 1-yard score. The Giants salted the game away in the final 2:24, however, when Chris Canty sacked Sanchez for a safety, the Giants recovered an onside kick by the Jets and Ahmad Bradshaw ran 19 yards for a game-clinching score. The Giants ended up with nine points in 14 seconds.
The game not only launched a run to glory by the Giants, it made it nearly impossible for the Jets to reach the playoffs.