Coming into the game, I had some serious doubts about the Giants pass rush and their ability to stop the run. Chris Ivory, running back for the Jets, has been putting up monster numbers this year, and The Buzz had him continuing that trend. The Jets were predicted to have a big offensive day, but their secondary saw question marks due to the absence of Darrelle Revis and the inconsistent play of Antonio Cromartie.
Both the Giants pass rush and rush defense were great in the first half, keeping the men in green from working into an offensive rhythm. The Giants still saw themselves down by three until Dwayne Harris scored on an 80 yard punt return, not only taking the lead but completely swinging the momentum in favor of the Giants. It wasn’t until midway through the second quarter that Fitzpatrick finally starting hooking up with Marshall and Decker, giving the offense some much needed tempo. It was a 25 yard touchdown pass to Bilal Powell that knotted the score at ten a piece.
The Jets then kicked the ball off to the Giants, giving them a chance to take an early lead. As the Jets hoped for a crucial stop on third and short, Eli Manning threw to Odell Beckham Jr. who broke through the secondary and ran 72 yards for the score. The Giants then forced a quick three and out for the Jets, causing them to punt the ball back to the Giants with less than two minutes left in the first half. The G-men would take just over a minute to drive the field and add a field goal, increasing their lead to 20-10 at halftime.
As the third quarter began, we saw both teams start the half with five minute drives, only to each end with a disappointing punt. The Giants next drive saw much greater success as they drove up the field with ease and saw themselves inside the Jets ten yard line. The Giants had driven for over 11 minutes on 17 plays for 67 yards, only to see themselves on the Jets 4 yard line with a crucial 4th down and 2 yards to go. The Giants had an easy decision to make, kick the field goal and make it a 13 point lead, forcing the Jets to have to score two touchdowns to take the lead. Instead, Coach Tom Coughlin made and easy decision difficult by choosing to go for the fourth down. Manning stepped back in the pocket, looked at his options, felt pressure from the pass rush, and threw into double coverage. It was an easy interception for the Jets, which not only gave them the ball, but also kept the lead at 10.
Late in the fourth, the Giants defensive line returned to normalcy and had serious trouble putting pressure on the Jets offensive line. Ryan Fitzpatrick utilized the extra time in the pocket to find Eric Decker for some big completions down the stretch. Fitz would scamper for a vital first down during the final drive, setting them up for a possible game-tying score. With thirty seconds left in the game, Fitzpatrick threw the ball high into the front corner of the end zone, allowing Marshall to utilize his size advantage and go up to make the catch. Touchdown Jets, and we once again saw the two teams of New York tied up as time expired.
The Jets won the toss to start off the overtime, and drove 61 yards down the field to set up kicker Randy Bullock with a 31 yard chip shot. The Giants were then ready to receive the kickoff, knowing they either needed a touchdown to win the game or a field goal to tie. The Giants struggled to move the ball, taking 8 plays to move the ball just 28 yards, but still gave their kicker a shot at a 48 yard field goal. Josh Brown missed the long attempt, causing a Jets victory and a heart breaking loss for the Giants.
– R. Ilardi