The New York Giants head into their bye week with two consecutive wins under their belt, as the Giants defeated the Patriots 10-7 in Week 12. Quarterback Tommy DeVito earned his second career victory after going 17 of 25 for 191 yards with a 12-yard touchdown pass to Isaiah Hodgins.
DeVito deserves credit for his timely throws - as well as his part in delivering a 100-yard game to rookie Jalin Hyatt - but the game ball should still go to the defense, which recorded three interceptions for the second consecutive week; that makes six total interceptions in two games, which matches the Giants’ 2022 defensive total.
Xavier McKinney, Bobby Okereke, and Deonte Banks all recorded interceptions against the Patriots paor of quarterbacks. Mac Jones - who looked bad to be fair - was benched again at halftime for Bailey Zappe, who also struggled to push the ball downfield.
The Patriots controlled the clock, had more yards than the Giants (283 to 220), had more sacks than the Giants (six to two), and still lost, while also having a 35-yard field goal opportunity for a chance at overtime. The Giants forced six turnovers last week, three this week - the defense and Wink Martindale deserve a lot of credit even if the quarterbacks they faced were sub-standard.
Let’s start with the final actual play of the game, which was the missed kick; a fitting ending it was for a game like the one we witnessed in Week 12.
Play 1: Wide left!
The deity of football spared us all from overtime by sending this 35 yard kick by rookie Chad Ryland wide left. After Jamie Gillen’s 38-yard punt, the Patriots started their final drive at midfield with 3:15 left in the fourth quarter. Bailey Zappe led a 10-play, 33-yard drive, that positioned Ryland for the kick. However, the kicker missed the attempt as rain fell at MetLife Stadium.
Play(s) 2: Pick city
Deonte Banks (25) started the fun off with this overthrown interception by Mac Jones (10) to Demario Douglas (81). There were three Giants’ defenders in the area, and Jones put too much sauce on the pass, and Banks made him pay; Jones should have put Jersey Juice on it instead of sauce (insert sarcastic kid laughing GIF).
Jones’ second interception went to Bobby Okereke (58), who is becoming a ball magnet. Martindale is a master of waisting blockers, especially against five-man protection packages. The Giants sent five rushers with Okereke initially over the center before he bailed into coverage. His presence forced the center to respect the potentiality of a blitz, which forced the other guards to assume the three-techniques. Azeez Ojulari (51) took an inside path at the tackle, and Isaiah Simmons (19) flew off the edge unblocked.
Jones did not account for the bailed Okereke; with Simmons breathing down his throat, he impetuously threw it directly to the Giants’ linebacker for his second interception of the game before his eventual benching.
Okereke’s interception stopped a 12-play, 86-yard, drive by the Patriots, and gave DeVito the football at New England’s 26-yard-line. The Giants scored after a touchdown after six plays.
Zappe replaced Jones and threw the Patriots third interception of the game on a play action yankee type concept against Xavier McKinney as the deep safety. Zappe, who doesn’t have the strongest arm, floated a pass to the horizontal crossing route, and McKinney took a direct path to the catch-point for the pick.
The interception by McKinney gave the Giants the football at the Patriots 32-yard line. After a tantalizing seven play, eight yard drive, Randy Bullock kicked a 42-yard field goal that would eventually secure the Giants’ victory. All ten of the Giants’ points came off of New England turnovers.
Play(s) 3: Jalin Hyatt north of 100
Before the game, Tommy DeVito stated that his favorite pass to throw was the fade ball - the go - the nine route. Well, DeVito connected with Hyatt on several passes of that ilk.
VFL rookie Jalin Hyatt making early impact. Always open. pic.twitter.com/dDFl2NZfE2— Rockytopology (@rockytopology) November 26, 2023
Hyatt caught five of six passes for 109 yards; he averaged 21.8 yards per catch. He’s the first Giants’ receiver to go over 100 yards this season. The rookie third-round pick has proven to be more than just a speedster; his body adjustment, awareness along the sidelines, tracking, and concentration are quality traits. He also showed some wiggle in space with this move:
Jalin Hyatt juked out J.C. Jackson, who gave up on the play immediately pic.twitter.com/5Z6j8Glqyh— Ben Brown (@BenBrownPL) November 26, 2023
Play 4: The Giants’ lone touchdown
Isaiah Hodgins scored the Giants’ lone touchdown on this 12-yard catch and run. Hodgins brushed a Patriots’ defender aside on this third-and-10 play to secure the touchdown. The Giants were 4-of-14 on third down, with conversions on third-and-8 and third-and-16; both conversions were passes to Hyatt.
This was Hodgins only target of the game. He now has two touchdowns on the season. He’s the only Giants’ wide receiver or tight end with multiple receiving touchdowns.
Play 5: Jihad Ward fourth-quarter sack
Jihad Ward with an impressive inside spin off the OG with power to win through the center for a third-down sack that forced a punt in the fourth quarter.— Nick Falato (@nickfalato) November 26, 2023
Great play by the veteran defender. pic.twitter.com/qhONyWEwJc
The Patriots were down three points with just over six minutes left in the game. They faced a second-and-11 after Jason Pinnock stopped Rhamondre Stevenson for a loss of one. Linebacker/edge Benton Whitley knocked a quick pass out of the air on second down to force the third-and-long we see above.
Ward anticipated that the guard would overset, due to alignment and the help he’d receive from the center who was uncovered by defensive linemen. Ward’s spin was timely, and the power he unleashed on the center was exceptional, as he tracked Zappe (4) down to throw him on the deck. This ended the second to last possession of the New England Patriots.