Let’s review Monday night’s thrilling 24-22 victory by the New York Giants, a rollercoaster ride that added a new chapter to the amazing Cinderella story of undrafted free agent quarterback Tommy DeVito, in our unique ‘Kudos & Wet Willies’ style.
Kudos to ...
Tommy DeVito — It might be too early to go predicting that DeVito is the next Kurt Warner, who went from undrafted quarterback to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. It isn’t to early, though, to acknowledge that whatever DeVito has going on it appears to be real.
Brian Daboll believes.
Tommy Devito & Brian Daboll ❤️ pic.twitter.com/ttis5s2qgH— Bobby Skinner (@BobbySkinner_) December 12, 2023
DeVito’s teammates believe.
“Whatever it is, whatever people like to call it, man, it’s fun,” said Isaiah Hodgins, recipient of an outstanding 8-yard touchdown throw from DeVito in the third quarter. “It’s fun to be a part of. It’s fun to watch. It’s fun to be part of his team ... It’s just amazing to be a part of, seeing his growth, seeing his composure for a free agent rookie. I’m sure if you asked him last year if he’d be in this spotlight he’d be like ‘there’s no chance.’”
DeVito downplayed the idea that his first game-winning drive was some type of quarterback milestone.
“I guess. It’s just something, I don’t know,” he said. “Not really to me honestly, it’s just football, try to go score every drive, but especially in that situation. Like I said before, it’s something that we practice day in and day out, so to be able to execute that in game, it was positive.”
DeVito finished the game 17 of 21 for 158 yards and a touchdown. He also ran 10 times for 71 yards, including being stopped just short of the goal line on a 26-yard zone read.
Wan’Dale Robinson — A year ago Monday, wide receiver Wan’Dale Robinson was on an airplane headed for surgery on a torn ACL he suffered during his 2022 breakout game, a 100-yard receiving performance against the Detroit Lions.
He marked the occasion with his best game of the 2023 season. Robinson had six catches for 79 yards, including a 32-yarder that set up the game-winning field goal. He had a 32-yard run that set up a Saquon Barkley touchdown.
Kayvon Thibodeaux — The guy is a star. I find myself sitting in the press box at MetLife Stadium sometimes thinking ‘it’s time for Kayvon to make a play.’ Quite often, when the Giants need one, he does.
Thibodeaux had a half-sack in the third quarter (shared with Micah McFadden) to snuff out a Green Bay drive and force a field goal. He had a forced fumble. A pass defensed that brought another Packer drive to an end. He made eight tackles and added a quarterback hit.
Jason Pinnock — Had an interception and stripped Malik Heath of the ball on what would have been a fourth-quarter touchdown. Heath and the Packers scored on the next play, but it was still noteworthy.
Azeez Ojulari — After three quarters, I was ready to put the third-year edge defender in the ‘Wet Willies’ category. He hadn’t done much. Again. In that final quarter, though, Ojulari had a half-sack (split) with Dexter Lawrence that disrupted a Green Bay drive and led to a missed 45-yard field goal by Packers’ placekicker Anders Carlson. He also had a tackle for loss.
This turned into the best game of a quiet season for Ojulari — a half-sack, a tackle for loss three quarterback hits and four tackles.
Deonte Banks — The rookie cornerback had an excellent game. He led the Giants in tackles with 12, had a fourth-quarter pass breakup in the end zone that ended a Green Bay drive and forced a field goal and was a physical presence on the boundary throughout the game.
Deonte Banks is going to be a player for a longggg long time. Heck of a rep. pic.twitter.com/ykkkNs7zD7— Ryan Fowler (@_RyanFowler_) December 12, 2023
Dexter Lawrence — The star defensive tackle was at something less than 100% due to his troublesome hamstring, yet still had an impact. He played just 29 defensive snaps (43%), but had a half-sack and a pair of quarterback hits.
Pass protection — DeVito was never sacked. That’s right. Never. He was hit just twice. DeVito did a better job than he has done in previous games of getting the ball out and moving to avoid trouble. Still, this was a significant step forward for the line of Andrew Thomas, Justin Pugh, John Michael Schmitz, Ben Bredeson and Tyre Phillips.
Randy Bullock — In his fifth game since taking over for the injured Graham Gano, Bullock had his biggest moment, making the 37-yard game-winning field goal as time expired. Bullock had missed earlier from 48 yards, which might actually qualify him for a ‘Kwillie,’ but we will grade on a curve and give extra points for not wasting DeVito’s heroics.
Wet Willies to ...
The T formation — The Giants have used the old-school T formation with two running backs and a fullback lined up behind the quarterback a number of times this season. Unfortunately, teams have figured out what the Giants do — almost always run wide to the right with Saquon Barkley. They tried that on a fourth-and-1 from their own 49-yard line in the fourth quarter on Monday, and the play failed. To make it worse, the Giants took a timeout to put the offense back on the field and run that play.
Bobby McCain — With the Giants leading 14-10 in the third quarter, the veteran safety had a Packer punt bounce off of him. Green Bay recovered the muff at the Giants’ 14-yard line. The defense held the Packers to a field goal, and plays like this with the ball bouncing around are a bit fluky, but can’t the Giants ever get through a game without some type of special teams snafu?
Kwillies to ...
Saquon Barkley — Twenty carries for 86 yards, two touchdowns, three reception for 15 more yards. On the Giants’ second-to-last possession, protecting a five point lead in the closing minutes, Barkley ripped off runs of 7, 17 and 34 yards. Unfortunately, on the last one he stumbled and lost the ball. Green Bay returned it 50 yards, setting up a go-ahead touchdown with 1:33 to play.
Barkley nearly won the game. Then nearly lost the game for the Giants. Classic example of a Kwillie.