Jan 012023
Daniel Jones, New York Giants (January 1, 2023)

Daniel Jones – © USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants easily defeated the Indianapolis Colts 38-10 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey on Sunday afternoon. With the victory, the Giants not only improved their overall record to 9-6-1, but they clinched an NFC Wild Card playoff spot. This is the first time since 2016 that the Giants have had a winning record as well as making the playoffs. Regardless of the outcome of next weekend’s regular-season finale against the Philadelphia Eagles, the Giants will be the 6th seed in the first round of playoffs.

Given the score, as one would expect, the Giants also dominated overall team statistics. The Giants out-gained the Colts in first downs (26 to 14), total net yards (394 to 252), net yards rushing (217 to 128), net yards passing (177 to 124), and time of possession (31:36 to 28:24). The turnover battle was even with one apiece. New York was 4-of-7 (57 percent) on third down, while Indianapolis was 3-of-12 (25 percent). However, the Colts did convert twice on 4th down.

The first quarter was largely taken up by two drives by the Colts and one by the Giants that only resulted in three points for Indianapolis. After both teams exchanged punts, the Colts went 75 yards in nine plays to set up a 23-yard field goal and an early 3-0 lead. The big play was a contested, 49-yard bomb from quarterback Nick Foles to wide receiver Parris Campbell.

The Giants’ second possession of the game started with 2:21 left in the first quarter. On an 11-play drive that included eight runs and three passes, New York drove 71 yards. On 3rd-and-goal, quarterback Daniel Jones threw a 6-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Richie James. Giants 7 – Colts 3.

After a quick three-and-out by the Colts, the Giants added to their advantage with a 9-play, 64-yard drive that ended with another 6-yard touchdown pass by Jones. This time his target was wide receiver Isaiah Hodgins, who caught his fourth touchdown in five weeks. A key play on this possession was a 10-yard pass to tight end Daniel Bellinger on 3rd-and-6. Giants 14 – Colts 3.

The Colts’ fourth possession of the first half started with 4:17 left on the clock. After picking up two first downs, Indianapolis faced a 3rd-and-11 from their own 46-yard line. Foles threw a pass towards the right sideline that was picked off by linebacker/safety Landon Collins, who returned the ball 52 yards four a defensive touchdown. The Giants were now up 21-3.

On the Colts’ fifth and final possession of the half, they picked up another first down. But on 3rd-and-4 from their own 48-yard line, Foles was crushed by outside linebacker Kayvon Thibodeaux. Foles left the game with a rib injury and did not return. The Colts punted.

With just 46 seconds left on the clock and starting from their own 39-yard line, the Giants were able to drive to the Indianapolis 18-yard line. Place kicker Graham Gano kicked a 36-yard field goal as time expired.

At the half, the Giants were up 24-3.

The Giants received the football to start the third quarter, but immediately turned the ball over when wide receiver Darius Slayton fumbled the ball away at the 30-yard line after a 5-yard reception. The defense only gave up one yard, however, and Indianapolis missed the 48-yard field goal. The Giants then responded with a quick, 6-play, 62-yard drive that ended with an 18-yard touchdown run by Jones. Jones also completed a 28-yard pass to James on this drive. Giants 31 – Colts 3.

With Sam Ehlinger now playing quarterback, the Colts did cut the score to 31-10 with a 16-play, 68-yard possession that last over eight and a half minutes. Indianapolis converted on both 4th-and-1 and 4th-and-6 on this drive. Giants 31 – Colts 10.

With two minutes left in the third quarter, the Giants began their final scoring drive of the game. The possession started off with a 12-yard run by running back Saquon Barkley and a 25-yard run by Jones. A 44-yard successful field goal by Gano was nullified when the Giants accepted a defensive offsides penalty, giving New York a first down. Three plays later, Jones scored his second rushing touchdown of the game, this one from 10 yards out. The Giants were up 38-10 with 12 minutes to go in the contest.

The Colts gained a couple of first downs on the ensuing possession but punted on 4th-and-11 from their own 41-yard line. On the Giants’ final drive of the game, they picked up 57 yards and three first downs with mostly back-ups in the game, including Tyrod Taylor at quarterback. Most importantly, the team took 6:40 off of the clock before the Giants turned the ball over on downs on 4th-and-2. Indianapolis got the ball back with just 1:56 left on the clock.  Three plays later the game was over.

Jones finished the game 19-of-24 for 177 yards, two passing touchdowns, and no interceptions. He also was the team’s leading rusher with 11 carries for 91 yards (8.3 yards per carry) and two rushing touchdowns. He scored four touchdowns in all. Running backs Matt Breida and Saquon Barkley chipped in with 59 and 58 yards, respectively. The leading receiver was James, who caught seven passes for 76 yards and a touchdown.

Defensively, the Giants were credited with two sacks, one by Thibodeaux (who also had two tackles for losses and a pass defense) and the other by defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence (who also had three hits on the quarterback). The big play of course was the defensive score by Collins.

GAME VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS are available on YouTube.

On Saturday, the Giants activated S Xavier McKinney from the Reserve/Non-Football Injury List, which he had been on since November 7th after breaking his hand during the bye week. To make room for McKinney, the Giants waived WR David Sills from the 53-man roster.

The team also activated (standard elevation) FB/TE Chris Myarick and CB Zyon Gilbert from the Practice Squad to the 53-man roster. Myarick was re-signed to the Practice Squad on Friday after he had been waived from the 53-man roster on Wednesday.

Inactive for the game were CB Adoree’ Jackson (knee), TE Lawrence Cager, OG Jack Anderson, OG Wyatt Davis, LB Jarrad Davis, CB Rodarius Williams, and S Dane Belton.

DL Leonard Williams (burner) came out of the game in the second half and did not return.

Transcripts and video clips of post-game media sessions with Head Coach Brian Daboll and the following players are available in The Corner Forum and at Giants.com:

The Giants finished 5-3-1 in MetLife Stadium, their best home record and first winning mark since they were 7-1 in 2016.

The Giants ended their NFL-long streak of 43 games without scoring at least 30 points.

The 28-point margin of victory is the Giants’ largest since December 7, 2014, when they defeated the Tennessee Titans in Nashville, 36-7.

The Giants did not allow a first-half offensive touchdown for the sixth time this season.

Brian Daboll is the fifth coach in Giants history to lead the team to the playoffs in his debut season, joining Allie Sherman (1961), Dan Reeves (1993), Jim Fassel (1997), and Ben McAdoo (2016). Rookie coach Earl Potteiger led the Giants to the 1927 NFL championship in the era before playoffs.

QB Daniel Jones has not thrown in interception in 12 of 16 games this season.

The Giants ended a four-game losing streak to Indianapolis and defeated the Colts for the first time since December 22, 2002, and the first time at home since December 12, 1993.

Head Coach Brian Daboll and select players will address the media by conference call on Monday.

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Eric Kennedy

Eric Kennedy is Editor-in-Chief of BigBlueInteractive.com, a publication of Big Blue Interactive, LLC. Follow @BigBlueInteract on Twitter.

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