The New York Giants have played close games all season but the team as a whole seems to falter at the end of each half. It had been a common theme for eight straight weeks going into a matchup with the Washington Football Team on Sunday, and appeared as if it was going to happen again.
Washington all but erased the Giants’ 17-point halftime lead and 13-point fourth quarter lead, trimming the game to just three with minutes remaining.
Facing a similar fate, the Giants tried something different. They called a play that had only been drawn up on Saturday and one that had not been practiced all week.
The result? A Logan Ryan interception to seal New York’s second win of the season.
“The play that we ran is something that I talked to Pat Graham about doing and putting me in that position to make that play,” Ryan told reporters after the game. “In two-minute, we’d been struggling all year and it was just a play that we put in, I think, Saturday night, like hours before the game. Last night, we said we were going to try something new and try that.”
Graham had called that same play earlier in the game, but the results were disastrous. Ryan was out of position and Washington wide receiver Cam Sims was able to gain 32 yards on an in-cut catch-and-run.
“In the first half, I messed up, I wasn’t there, they ran a 32-yard in-cut in the two-minute and that was my fault, that was my job there,” Ryan said. “I told Pat, I said, ‘Hey, that’s on me. Call it again and I’ll be there, I’ll make it right,’ and at least he thinks it’s going to be there, so he called it again and the next time we ran it was at the end of the game and I was able to make the play. So that’s just the story behind the game and I’m very fortunate that Pat trusts me enough to run my play and to call my play and to call my number, and that’s what I believe I’m here to do and I believe I was here to do today for the team.”
The Giants survived the bad play in the first half thanks to a Blake Martinez interception. The second time around, the play was performed to perfection and Washington quarterback Alex Smith had no idea what he was seeing.
It’s certainly not normal for teams to install unpracticed plays into their game plan the night before they take the field, but these Giants needed to do something different and head coach Joe Judge was on board.
“Look, I want to let my coaches coach. If it’s sound,” Judge said. “If there’s a rhyme and reason to it, he thinks it’s a way for us to be aggressive and make a difference in the game, I’m always ‘yeah, go ahead install it. Let’s play with it.’ Whether we draw up in the dirt on the sideline, okay, or we draw it up on Saturday, give to the players and give them time to really go and adjust, we’ve got to be smart enough team to take those last minute adjustments and apply them into a game.”
Judge trusts his players to play and his coaches to coach, and at least on Sunday that trust paid huge dividends.
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