Tommy DeVito and the New York Giants continued their winning streak Monday with a 24-22 defeat of the Green Bay Packers. Green Bay, which had won three in a row, fell to the Giants after defeating the Chargers, Lions, and Chiefs. The Packers still hold the seventh and final playoff spot but are tied with Seattle and Los Angeles.
The Giants out-gained Green Bay 367 to 326, won the turnover battle 3 to 2, and rushed for 209 yards, with DeVito earning 71 yards on 10 carries. Saquon Barkley led the team with 86 yards on 20 carries, two touchdowns, and one almost catastrophic fumble.
Second-year wide receiver Wan’Dale Robinson had his best game of the season. Robinson caught six of seven targets for 79 yards with two carries for 36 yards; Robinson had a clutch 32-yard reception on a sail concept with less than two minutes left in the game, which helped set up the Randy Bullock game-winning field goal.
New York’s defense only earned two sacks, but Jordan Love appeared off during most of the contest. Young defensive players like Kayvon Thibodeaux, Azeez Ojulari, Jason Pinnock, and Deonte Banks frequently heard their names called positively, as did veterans like Bobby Okereke and Dexter Lawrence.
The win was the Giants most complete game of 2023 on offense and defense. The special teams left some to be desired, but we can discuss that later. First, let’s get into some of the five impactful plays for the Giants in Week 14.
Play 1: Two-minute drill
The Giants were 6-point home underdogs, and they had the Packers on the ropes for much of the game. The Giants’ defense held Jordan Love in check, their offense got creative enough to move the ball, and they were poised to play spoiler against a team desperate for a win as they attempted to march toward the playoffs. However, the Packers put themselves in position to steal a win after this unfortunate play:
It seemed like peak 2023 Giants; mistakes and avoidable errors lead to an inevitable loss. That inclination was reinforced after a Malik Heath touchdown that gave the Giants the football, down by one, with 1:42 left in the game. DeVito proceeded to lead an eight-play, 57-yard, drive that positioned Randy Bullock for a 37-yard field goal that he kicked through the upright. The best play of the drive was this 32-yard pass to Wan’Dale Robinson (17):
DeVito's 32-yard strike to Wan'Dale Robinson to set up the game winning field goal.— Nick Falato (@nickfalato) December 12, 2023
DeVito with the come from behind dub. pic.twitter.com/XppVNz5QQw
New York ran a boundary sail concept, and DeVito found Robinson on the corner route. The second-year wide receiver put a nice move on Keisean Nixon (25), and helped provide life to a Giants’ team that seemed to let victory slip through their fingers once again. Four plays later, Bullock made the field goal, and the Giants escaped with the victory.
Play 2: Touchdown Tommy DeVito to Hodgins
Green Bay cut the Giants’ lead to one point after an Anders Carlson field goal in the third quarter, but New York responded with a 10-play, 75-yard drive that was ended by this touchdown to Isaiah Hodgins (18).
Strike from DeVito to Hodgins for six pic.twitter.com/TQiCnp8rxr— Nick Falato (@nickfalato) December 12, 2023
The Giants used Hodgins in motion right before the snap. DeVito checked the opposite side and didn’t love the man-beating concept to that side. However, the motion led to a 2x2 set, and Jalin Hyatt (13) released inward to create more space to the outside for Hodgins and his covering defender.
DeVito did a great job extending the play and flowing toward Hodgins, who has done a great job in the red zone through his short Giants’ career. Hodgins made an excellent catch off a dart thrown by DeVito as the Giants took a 21-13 lead.
Play(s) 3: Wan’Dale and Saquon, second quarter
To start the second quarter, Tommy DeVito and the Giants responded to the Packers seven play, 48-yard drive with their own eight-play, 75-yard drive. The Giants found themselves with a first-and-10, and they direct snapped the football to Saquon Barkley, who handed the football to Wan’Dale Robinson for a 32-yard gain.
Splitback boundary handoff to Wan'Dale Robinson went for 32 yards to set up Saquon Barkley's touchdown pic.twitter.com/5lYB7kXOg6— Nick Falato (@nickfalato) December 12, 2023
Robinson followed the lead blocks to the boundary side. I appreciate the splits by the wide receivers on the outside, especially the one at the bottom of the screen. The Giants showed good blocking to the play side above, but they’d out-do themselves on the next play:
Mark Glowinski as the sniffer w/ Daniel Bellinger eliminating the EDGE next to Andrew Thomas & Justin Pugh for the walk in Saquon Barkley touchdown pic.twitter.com/E8IkO6Thfp— Nick Falato (@nickfalato) December 12, 2023
The left side of the line absolutely annihilated the Packers’ containment attempts. The combination of Mark Glowinski (64) as the sniffer pulling to the play side, with Daniel Bellinger (82), Andrew Thomas (78), and Justin Pugh (67) executed their assignments fantastically to allow Barkley to almost finger-roll six points away from the Giants.
Play(s) 4: Mutual lack of special teams
I was unsure which special teams’ unit was more detrimental to their team’s success. Unfortunately, this is somewhat commonplace for the Giants in 2023, but I haven’t seen that energy matched by an opponent.
The Packers had several penalties on special teams that swung field position in favor of the Giants. Anthony Johnson Jr. had a blind-side block on a Jamie Gillan block, which set up a three-and-out for the Packers. On the ensuing punt, Rudy Ford ran into Gunner Olszewski, as the latter was attempting to field the punt. Olszewski took the worst of the exchange, but the Giants benefited with a 15-yard penalty.
The Giants started at the Green Bay 32-yard line in excellent field position, yet they did little offensively. Giants’ kicker Randy Bullock started the Giants’ special teams’ mishaps by booting a 48-yard attempt wide.
New York also had a strange occurrence at the end of the first half, as Lawrence Cager decided to allow a kick-off to hit him right before it rolled out of bounds, which would have given the Giants the football at the 40-yard line. Another avoidable mental error that is frustrating to see with the unit.
Both teams then exchanged muffed punts. Keisean Nixon could not hold onto the punt below, which set up the Giants’ second touchdown rush by Saquon Barkley. However, the next punt was a turnover for the Giants, as the punt hit Bobby McCain’s shoulder, which set up Anders Carlson's 32-yard field goal attempt.
However, Carlson missed a 45-yard field goal after Love was sacked by Dexter Lawrence and Azeez Ojulari. The score would have been 16-21 had Carlson made the field goal at the start of the fourth quarter. Several penalties, two missed field goals, and two muffed punts that led to turnovers - yikes.
But the redemption arc for Bullock materialized as DeVito, Robinson, and the Giants offense battled and positioned the kicker for a game-clinching 37-yard field goal. Bullock put it through the upright, and the Giants won the feeble special teams’ tug-of-war match with the Packers.
Play 5: Did Wicks convert?
What an effort by Wicks to get the first down— NFL Retweet (@NFLRT) December 12, 2023
On a fourth-and-1 at Green Bay’s 47-yard line, Jordan Love found Dontayvion Wicks (13) near the first down marker. The initial ruling on the field was a turnover on downs, for Wicks did not extend the football until the ball was across the out-of-bounds line. Retired referee and ESPN commentator John Parry stated that the initial ruling was correct, but the call was overturned, and the Packers continued their drive.
Jayden Reed is A GUY! pic.twitter.com/9QlsXO5jkS— GBP Daily - Rob Westerman lll (@GBPdaily) December 12, 2023
Three plays later, the Packers scored the first points of the game with the play above to rookie Jayden Reed (11). The 35-yard catch by AJ Dillon happened directly after the conversion, and helped lead to the touchdown. Here was an impressive move by Dillon against Jason Pinnock (27), who did have an interception in the game: