A last-second Josh Brown field goal gave the New York Giants an impressive -13 win over the New Orleans Saints on Sunday afternoon at MetLife Stadium. But perhaps lost over the buzz about that late-game, game-winning drive was a first half play that boosted the Giants at a time when their offense was struggling to find the end zone.
A Janoris Jenkins 65-yard touchdown run off a blocked field goal attempt lifted the Giants to a 7-0 lead midway through the second quarter, a much needed score for a team that was dominating on both sides of the ball but was hurting themselves with turnovers. It was defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins who rose up on the play and got his hand on Will Lutz’s 38-yard field attempt that would have put the Saints up 3-0.
Instead, his play saw the momentum of the game shift.
Lined up with fellow defensive tackle Damon Harrison on his right shoulder, the Giants two big bodies were tilted left-of-center. Harrison got a good push and Hankins was able to split Terron Armstead and Andrus Peat.
Then he got his left hand up on Lutz’s kick as it was starting to rise.
“We just had a call for me and Snacks (Harrison) inside, we had a good push and got a good block,” Hankins told Metro after the game.
“That’s the way it’s supposed to go, that’s the way we drew it up.”
After that, Jenkins raced over half the field and into the end zone, flanked by his teammates. With the point after the Giants, who had three turnovers up to that point in the first half – all of which were fumbles – were up 7-0 on the Saints.
“That was the best feeling, I didn’t even know you’d get six points for that,” Hankins said.
The field block isn’t something that the special teams unit necessarily works on in practice but it is something that has been talked and prepped.
His assignment on the play was pretty simple “to push, knock [the blocker] back as far as we can to get our hands up.” With Harrison next to him, the two got a deep push and Hankins was able to get about four yards, maybe five yards before raising his hand for the block.
The Giants are now 2-0 on the year for the first time since 2009.
In addition to the block, Hankins also registered three tackles in the win over the Saints.