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Jason Pierre-Paul's Interception
JPP, as we know from our previous reports, called this interception -- much to the amazement of an awestruck Justin Tuck.
"Honestly, I called it before it even happened, in the huddle, and sure enough that was the play," Pierre-Paul said. "I read the formation, the tight end, how he was set, and I caught the ball."
So, what did Pierre-Paul see and how did he react?
What he saw was Green Bay tight end Andre Quarless split ever so slightly off the line of scrimmage in front of him. From the formation he read the route, and the image below shows us how Pierre-Paul reacted.
The key is that you see that Pierre-Paul never engages with Packers' left tackle David Bahktiara. Rather, he just steps into the anticipated passing lane and waits.
When Tolzien released the ball Pierre-Paul simply made an athletic play-- a wonderful athletic play -- leaping in the air, reaching up with both hands and snatching the ball out of the air.
Tuck wondered if Pierre-Paul knew "voodoo," and head coach Tom Coughlin called it a "huge play."
So, credit both JPP's study habits and his athleticism.
Rueben Randle's Punt Return
Randle's career-best punt return before Sunday was 18 yards. His 32-yarder Sunday set up the Giants' first touchdown, which he appropriately cashed in with a 26-yard reception.
How did this happen? Let's look at a couple of images.
First, look at the pocket Randle has when he catches the punt at the 26-yard line. He has five blockers with only two Packers in the picture, and only James Nixon of the Packers has a chance to make an initial play.
Randle makes Nixon miss and now has five blockers with one Packer in the picture. There is a ton of daylight here and Randle sees the convoy and does the smart thing -- he doesn't mess around, he just heads straight up the field.
Ten yards later Randle is in traffic, but he has blockers. He splits through here and isn't brought down until punter Tim Masthay makes the play across midfield.
Randle didn't do anything spectacular here, other than make a perfect decision to get straight up the field. This play was pretty much blocked as well as a punt return can be blocked.
Jon Beason's Interception
The impressive thing about Beason's third-quarter interception, which came after the Packers had taken the opening kickoff of the quarter and driven to the Giants' 49-yard line, was the range and athleticism shown by a player who has had major knee and achilles tendon surgeries.
Tolzien is throwing here off play action. In the image below, you can see Beason (highlighted) has moved forward to respect the play action and, just past the 46-yard line, has just recognized that Tolzien is about to throw.
Now, just fractions of a second later, see where Beason is.
The middle linebacker is more than two yards deeper, and is a full three yards deeper by the time he makes a leaping grab of the pass. That's quite a play from a guy the Carolina Panthers thought was finished.