Daniel Jones Leads Giants to Upset Victor Over Vikings

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Giants 31, Vikings 24: The Danny Dimes Show

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We all expected a Daniel Jones vs. Kirk Cousins shootout today, right?

There were two ways that I could see this Giants-Vikings matchup going today. I thought we would get a grind-it-out ground party and a Giants win. Or, a Vikings air raid and a Minnesota win.

Instead, we tuned into the Danny Dimes Show, live in Minneapolis. Daniel Jones was the x-factor in this game, plain and simple. Jones completed 24 of 35 for 301 yards, two touchdowns, no interceptions, and a 114.1 passer rating.

“DJ came out here and played a great game. We knew what he could do for us, we knew he was a special player, and he made plays for us,” Saquon Barkley said after the game.

Barkley played no small part in this win himself, rushing for 53 yards and two touchdowns.

Four Downs

1. Giants Forever Drive

The Giants took advantage of an early stop by their defense and set the tone for the first half, mainly because they had the ball for almost the entire second quarter. After scoring touchdowns on their first two drives of the game, the Vikings has a golden opportunity to take command of this game.

With a 14-7, the Giants took possession of the ball with 14:17 to play in the second quarter. Daniel Jones led the Giants on a 20-play, 90-yard drive that spanned 10:52 seconds.

The problem?

The Giants only got three points, and an illegal motion penalty took a touchdown off the board. You have to be perfect in the playoffs, especially in a back-and-forth game like this one. A mental mistake cost the Giants points and momentum when they had a chance to put their foot on the gas.

2. Julian Love Near Interception

After the Giants scored a touchdown out of the half to take a 10-point lead, Julian Love nearly came down with a tipped pass that would have been a huge opportunity for the Giants to take control of the game.

After it was ruled incomplete, Kirk Cousins promptly nailed TJ Hockenson for a 19-yard gain and a third down conversion on the next play.

Cousins found Irv Smith Jr. for a touchdown three plays later to pull Minnesota within three points. Had Love been able to secure it, the second-half script could have looked much different. There’s no fault on Love; it would have been a sensational diving catch had it gone his way.

3. Untimely Vikings False Start

Trailing by a field goal in the fourth quarter, the Vikings went down the field and were faced with a 4th & 1 at the New York 16. Christian Darrisaw was flagged for a false start, pushing Minnesota back five yards and putting them into a kicking situation.

Remember what I said about the execution and mental mistakes in the playoffs? Darrisaw’s penalty cost the Vikings a potential touchdown and a shot at the lead.

The Giants got the ball back tied after a Vikings field goal and took it down the field for a touchdown and a 31-24 lead. These little things make a world of difference in these games.

4. Giants Clutch Fourth Down Conversion(s)

Speaking of that Giants’ scoring drive, they had a big 4th & 1 of their own. Unlike the Vikings on the previous drive and themselves earlier in the game, they executed.

Daniel Jones converted on the 4th & 1 from the Vikings’ 7-yard line. On the very next play, the Vikings shot themselves in the foot again with a defensive holding penalty. That defensive holding penalty put the Giants at the 2-yard line. Saquon Barkley pounded the go-ahead touchdown in on the next play.

After the Giants defense came up with a stop and got the ball back, they were faced with another 4th & 1, this time from their 45. But, again, Daniel Jones converted with a quarterback sneak, allowing New York to take the clock down under four minutes. Jones also added 78 rushing yards in the best game of his NFL career.

By the Numbers

  • 0: The turnover battle is more often than not a good indicator of the outcome of a game, and the Giants protected the ball tonight, not turning it over once.
  • 47: The Giants were ready after Justin Jefferson cooked the Giants for 133 yards and a touchdown on 12 catches last month. New York defensive coordinator Wink Martindale deployed five-man, sometimes even seven-man, secondaries and had Jefferson sealed up for most of the day.
  • 142-61: If you can run the ball, you can win playoff games. The Giants racked up 142 yards on the ground. Minnesota could only manage 61 rushing yards.
  • 1-0: Rookie head coach Brian Daboll is now 1-0 in the postseason.


Author: Patrick K. Flowers

Patrick is the Lead NFL Writer at Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @PatrickKFlowers.