One week after the whole world questioned their commitment and dedication, the New York Giants responded not just with effort, but heart. Sunday’s 12-9 win over the Kansas City Chiefs likely won’t be thrown into the vault at NFL Films as an instant classic anytime soon but what it meant to this organization can’t be undervalued right now.
But Giants fans should’ve been thankful on Monday morning when they get their discount coffee at Dunkin Donuts, knowing that their team didn’t lie down or give up. They had plenty of chances to do so not just in this game but throughout the last week.
Instead, they rose up and responded each and every time, proving rumors of their demise were greatly exaggerated.
The scenes from last week’s 31-21 loss at the then-winless San Francisco 49ers were vivid, showing Giants players putting in a partial effort. The Giants seemed content to play out the season, waiving a white flag on what has undoubtedly been the biggest disappointment of the year around the NFL.
Instead, they showed heart and fight in what was far from a perfect win over the AFC’s top team.
Two team meetings held by head coach Ben McAdoo this week straightened out any problems in the Giants locker room as the team responded in a major way to lift their record to 2-8. They showed up like a team with something to play for, a team that hasn’t quit on McAdoo.
After flailing badly on a 49ers touchdown a week ago, cornerback Janoris Jenkins redeemed himself with a fourth-quarter interception that set the Giants up to briefly take a 9-6 lead. Coming off a game where he seemed disinterested and more concerned about not getting hurt, Jenkins fought for contested balls and left little doubt about his commitment to his team.
His performance, a clear indication that McAdoo’s message got through to the team following a loss that was clearly unacceptable.
There is also the case of rookie kicker Aldrick Rosas, who missed a point after attempt in the second quarter, scuffing that kick quite badly. But he coolly and calmly hit field goal attempts in the fourth quarter and then in overtime to give this team, so beat up by this season, a brief moment to smile and savor a win.
The case of Rosas is perhaps a bit of microcosm on this afternoon at MetLife Stadium, a team that seemed ready time after time to snatch defeat from victory always bouncing back. Each time, they showed more intensity and more fight, finally willing a victory out of a half-empty stadium.
It isn’t easy when a team is 2-8 to come ready to play but McAdoo hit all the right buttons this week. His team simply not good, devoid of playmakers on offense and severely hit by injuries along the defense. And yet, after a week where the question was how bad is this thing going to get, the Giants very clearly provided an answer.
They overcame not just the issues around last week’s loss and lack of effort but their own issues in this game. Struggling to move the ball in a game with horrible conditions and in a season where there is nothing left to play for, the Giants rose to the occasion.
They didn’t flail at their opponent, they didn’t let penalties and drops keep them from moving the ball on their next possession. They instead went out there and played with everything they had.
They didn’t let Kansas City’s drive to tie the game late in the fourth quarter demoralize them and they didn’t let their own miscues and penalties deter from getting the win. When Jenkins had a pass interference call in the fourth quarter to help key the Chiefs drive to tie the game, the Giants defense in overtime didn’t fold up like a cheap suit.
Instead, they responded by forcing the Chiefs to punt the ball.
McAdoo isn’t the perfect head coach, in fact, there’s a very good chance that he might not be with this organization next season. But for one week at least he showed that his team hadn’t quit on him, a bit of hope in a season where all hope is gone.
Oh, and the discount coffee at Dunkin Donuts isn’t a bad part of the deal either.