Prior to Sunday’s win, the New York Giants had lost their previous seven matchups against the Dallas Cowboys. That all ended in Week 17, as Big Blue defeated Dallas 23-19 and ended the season with a 6-10 record. While they received no help later that same night and missed the playoffs, the arrow is trending upwards for this young team. The 2020 season was an unusual one, but the Giants ended it by winning their final game.
New York Giants Win Their Final Game of Season
Leonard Williams Wreaks Havoc
Coming into the contest, Leonard Williams had 8.5 sacks. The Dallas offensive line had a hard time dealing with “Big Cat” as Williams totaled three sacks, eight pressures, and five quarterback hits against Andy Dalton. This brings William’s season totals to 62 pressures, 18 quarterback hits, and 11.5 sacks. Only Aaron Donald and Stephon Tuitt had more pressures at defensive tackle, while Chris Jones had more quarterback hits.
If this performance showed anything, it’s that Leonard Williams set himself up for a nice payday this offseason. Double-digit sacks and one of the best all-around players on defense, the young defensive tackle will look to further his stay in East Rutherford.
Sterling Shepard Shows Out
Sterling Shepard and the Giants receivers have been getting called out all season for not giving Daniel Jones any chances to throw the ball. That all changed on Sunday, as Sterling Shepard finally got the breakout game fans have been waiting for. Coming off a game where he had a career high in targets, the Giants longest-tenured player showed that he is still capable of being a dynamic playmaker.
Shepard registered 136 total yards and two total touchdowns. His first of the game came on a reverse sweep, where he just eluded the entire Cowboys defense and carried some defenders into the end zone with him. His second touchdown showed Shepard’s true strength, as his 10 yard catch-and-run saw him carrying a Cowboys defender on his back as he reached for the pylon.
Shepard finished the season with 656 yards and three touchdowns, and will look to still be a reliable target next season.
Xavier McKinney Finally Gets His Shining Moment
Rookie safety Xavier McKinney has been seeing his snap counts increase as the weeks go on. Sunday afternoon, McKinney played in 89% of defensive snaps and recorded eight tackles, one tackle for loss, and his first career interception to ice the game.
The return of McKinney also allowed Patrick Graham to move Julian Love back to his normal position at cornerback. Love did not disappoint either, recording seven tackles and one pass defensed, while almost hauling in his second interception on the year, which went right through his hands.
McKinney’s injury knocked him out for most of 2020. However, this performance shows that fans and coaches have something to be excited about in McKinney for the 2021 season.
Daniel Jones Did Not Disappoint in New York Giants Win
Daniel Jones has taken a lot of criticism this season from both the media and fans. Jones came into Sunday with just nine touchdowns on the year. Well, he did not disappoint against Dallas, throwing for 229 yards and two touchdowns. Jones was an Evan Engram-drop away from another clean game, but unfortunately he also threw an interception.
Jones showed lots of poise in the pocket, while taking shots downfield and even hitting on a 33-yard touchdown pass to Dante Pettis. It was not the season many had hoped to see for the second year quarterback, but next season should be a LOT better depending on how this offseason goes.
The sad part about this loss is that the Giants missed the playoffs after the Washington Football Team won on Sunday night. While the 6-10 record is nothing to be overly excited about, it’s progress. There are a lot of things to improve on this offseason, but there is also a ton of good takeaways from this season. 2020 was a weird one for the Giants, and just about everyone else, but they managed to be competitive until the very end.
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