The New York Giants win!
I just wanted to get that out there.
We've been going back and looking at the key moments in games. The moments that a game can hinge on. Moments that a team needs to win in order to win the game.
Against the Washington Redskins, the Giants controlled the game from start to finish, and in all three phases of the game.
Scoring on special teams
Who would have thought that the Giants would have a game-changing play come on special teams?
Okay, most people.
Well, who would have thought the Giants would score their first points on a special teams play, when Rashad Jennings burst through to block a punt? Personally, I don't think Vegas would even give odds on that happening, but that's exactly what happened.
The Giants won the coin toss and deferred to the second half, and the defense responded with a quick three and out. After a couple of offsetting penalties caused a replay of the fourth down, Jennings overpowered rookie linebacker Terrance Plummer to block the punt for a safety.
After Jennings blocked the opening punt, the Giants failed to capitalize on the free kick, giving the ball back to the Washington offense. That offensive possession only lasted two plays as Prince Amukamara jumped a pass intended for Pierre Garcon. That marked the game's first turnover, but it wouldn't be the last.
A quick four plays later Andre Williams bulled his way into the end zone for the game's first touchdown, giving the Giants a nine point lead.
Unga On The Spot
The next game changing play came in the third quarter. After the Giants had to settle for a field goal following an extended drive to open the half, the Redskins began responded by marching down the field. The Giants were getting them in third down situations, but failed to get off the field. Then this happened:
With 3:57 left in the third quarter, Devon Kennard was in tight coverage on tight end Derek Carrier over the middle of the field. Kirk Cousins targeted Carrer, but Devon Kennard proved why Carl Banks hailed him as the future of the Giants' linebacking corps and tipped the ball way up into the air. Uani 'Unga ran from across the field to complete the tip drill and come up with his second interception of the year.
This was the play that the game hinged on. Had Washington completed the drive and come up with a touchdown, the Giants might have blown their third straight double-digit second-half lead. Instead, Eli Manning and Odell Beckham Jr. put the game out of reach eight plays later.
Big Play Beckham
I think this spot might be permanently reserved Odell Beckham. He is a legitimate game changer, and game -hanging players make game-changing plays.
If you wanted to describe the Giants offense in a word for the first three quarters, most would probably pick the word "boring. Personally, I prefer "methodical". The Giants put an emphasis on protecting the battered offensive line by running the ball and getting the ball out of Eli's hands quickly. While that racked up completions and extended drives, it left something to be desired in the "Big Play" department. But that's why the Giants drafted Odell Beckham.
Whenever the Giants need magic to happen, it seems the Manning to Beckham connection pulls a touchdown out of their hat, smashing records in the process. Like so many of Beckham's catches, this one lit a spark under the Giants.
It helps having the most productive receiver -- through his first 15 games -- in the history of the NFL.