Despite the rough record and the unfavorable outcome in the end, there were still plenty of exciting moments throughout the season that left fans jumping out of their seats.
Here are the five best moments from last season in descending order.
New York Giants Top Five Moments from 2020
Niko Lalos diving interception (Week 12)
Defensive end Niko Lalos signed to the Giants practice squad shortly after the 2020 NFL draft ended. That’s where he would stay until November 28th.
The 6-foot-5-inch defensive end out of Dartmouth was elevated to the Giants active roster a day before their Week 12 matchup versus the Cincinnati Bengals. New York’s edge rushing unit was depleted with injuries to Oshane Ximines and Lorenzo Carter earlier in the season, and they were looking for an extra boost in that department. Lalos was projected to see some snaps on special teams and provide that extra nudge to the pass rush.
Little did Lalos know that by the end of the game on Sunday he would have a shoutout from LeBron James on Twitter and a diving interception that helped the Giants secure their fourth win of the season.
The big play came towards the end of the third quarter. By this point, starting quarterback Daniel Jones had suffered a leg injury and the Giants offense was sputtering without their lead signal caller.
New York desperately hung on to a 13-10 lead, but the offense was stagnant in Jones’ absence. A big defensive play was needed to help the Giants score some points.
Bengals quarterback Brandon Allen looked over the middle of the field and threw a pass intended for receiver Tyler Boyd. Rookie cornerback Darnay Holmes made a play on the ball, knocking it into the air just long enough to allow Lalos to disengage from an offensive lineman and get his hands underneath the football.
The turnover set the Giants up for a field goal which extended their lead to 16-10; they would eventually hold on and defeat the Bengals 19-17. The interception was a massive difference maker, and it came from one of the most unlikeliest heroes.
Jabaal Sheard sack fumble (Week 12)
Coming in at number four is a game-sealing sack fumble and recovery from defensive end Jabaal Sheard.
Sheard’s big moment came in Week 12, the same game as the previously mentioned Lalos interception.
The Giants were up 19-10 with 3:54 left to play and the game appeared to be all but wrapped up. That was until the Bengals put a touchdown scoring drive together in just over a minute and forced the Giants into a punt on the ensuing drive. Cincinnati got the ball back down just two points at midfield with enough time to get into field goal range.
The game looked like it was going to end up being another fourth quarter shortcoming from New York, something that fans grew all too familiar with over the first half of the season.
That was until 10-year veteran Jabaal Sheard pushed his way through the offensive line for a sack fumble. If Sheard forcing the fumble wasn’t enough, he also recovered the ball. The game sealing play gave the Giants momentum going into their matchup against the Seattle Seahawks the following week, a game in which they’d win.
Xavier McKinney interception (Week 17)
Many praised general manager Dave Gettleman for his selection of safety Xavier McKinney with the 36th-overall pick in last year’s draft.
A number of experts such as Todd McShay tabbed him as one of the best safeties in the draft, if not the best. However, a foot injury suffered in preseason sidelined McKinney for the first three months of his rookie year.
The Alabama product first saw action in Week 12 versus Cincinnati and worked all the way up to 73 defensive snaps in Week 17 against the Dallas Cowboys.
That Cowboys game had playoff implications, as the winner of the game would advance to the postseason if Washington lost later in the day. Washington did not lose, but the Giants victory over the Cowboys extended their playoff hopes for an extra few hours and ended the season on a high note.
Regardless, the game came down to the wire. The Cowboys had the ball with 6:27 left to play and found themselves down by four points. Quarterback Andy Dalton led Dallas all the way down the field to the Giants 17-yard line.
Dalton then lofted a pass over the middle of the field intended for tight end Dalton Schultz. McKinney, however, jumped in front of Schultz and pulled in the first interception of his young career.
While the win itself didn’t push the Giants into the playoffs, seeing McKinney make plays like that gives Giants fans reason for optimism heading into next season.
New York had narrowly beaten Washington three weeks earlier after the Football Team missed on a two-point attempt to win the game.
This week however, the Giants held a 23-10 lead heading into the fourth quarter. That comfortable lead did not hold long though. After a quick field goal and touchdown from Washington, New York’s lead shrunk to just three points.
Peppers’ pick came with 2:27 left to play, and it appeared as if it sealed the win. All the Giants offense needed to do was pick up a first down and run out the clock.
Unfortunately for New York, the offense could not move the chains and the ball was ultimately punted back to Washington. Alex Smith and company took the field hoping to lead a game-tying, or game-winning drive.
That was until Ryan made one of the best plays of the year. The veteran safety who signed with the Giants in the off-season baited Smith into a throw and jumped the route, sealing the Giants victory and kick starting a four-game win streak.
Here are a handful of plays from last season that just missed the cut.
- Two-point conversion stand (Week 6)
- Daniel Jones 80-yard run (Week 7)
- Daniel Jones 34-yard touchdown run (Week 10)
- Wayne Gallman 60-yard run (Week 13)
Tae Crowder scoop n’ score (week 6)
The best moment of the season came from the last pick of the draft, Tae Crowder.
Crowder, a linebacker out of Georgia, was the final selection of the 2020 NFL draft. Due to this, he was quickly given the nickname “Mr. Irrelevant.”
The tradition of the Mr. Irrelevant nickname was born in 1976. Wide receiver Kelvin Kirk was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers with the final pick and was given the moniker.
Fackrell got pressure on Allen around midfield and was able to force the ball out of the quarterback’s hands.
Crowder picked up the ball around the 40-yard line and took off for the end zone. The 6-foot-2-inch linebacker scored and put the Giants up 20-13 with 3:29 left on the clock.
The Giants narrowly held on to beat Washington 20-19, and Crowder’s touchdown proved to be the difference maker in the Giants first win of the season.
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