The New York Giants continued their surprising season by defeating the NFC North Champion Minnesota Vikings, 31-24. It was New York’s first playoff win since their victory in Super Bowl XLVI.
The Giants racked up 431 yards of offense, only punted the ball twice, and held Minnesota to 61 rushing yards. With the win, the Giants will play their rivals, the Philadelphia Eagles, in the NFC Divisional round.
Giants quarterback Daniel Jones was fantastic in his postseason debut. He completed 24 of 35 passes for 301 yards and two touchdowns while rushing for 78 yards. His passer rating was a sparkling 114.1.
Running back Saquon Barkley, who also made his postseason debut, had a fantastic game as well. He racked up 109 scrimmage yards; despite having only nine carries on the ground, he racked up 53 rushing yards and scored two touchdowns while also catching five passes for 56 yards.
Wide receiver Isaiah Hodgins also had an excellent performance, catching eight passes for 105 yards and a touchdown.
The Vikings began the game with a 12-play, 75-yard touchdown drive. Facing only one third down, Minnesota moved the chains six times before QB Kirk Cousins scored on a QB sneak for an early 7-0 lead.
But New York’s offense responded immediately, driving 75 yards in five plays. Jones completed a 13-yarder to Richie James and scrambled for seven before completing a 22-yard pass to Darius Slayton that moved the ball into Minnesota territory. After Jones scrambled for 15 yards, Barkley rumbled into the end zone for a 28-yard touchdown run, tying the game at seven.
After the Giants’ defense forced a three-and-out, the offense went back to work and stormed 81 yards in just four plays. On the drive's first play, Jones connected with Slayton for a 47-yard completion, and a 16-yard run by Barkley two plays later moved the ball inside the red zone. Jones then fired a 14-yard strike to Isaiah Hodgins, putting the Giants ahead 14-7.
Looking to capitalize on the offense’s momentum, New York’s defense forced another punt. Starting at their 9-yard line, the Giants put together a mammoth 20-play, 85-yard drive that took almost 11 minutes.
Jones picked up 52 rushing yards, and many of his scrambles were key first downs. However, his 4-yard touchdown run was nullified by an illegal shift penalty on tight end Daniel Bellinger. The Giants eventually settled for a 25-yard field goal from Graham Gano, extending the lead to 17-7.
The nullified touchdown quickly became important, as Minnesota responded with an 8-play, 75-yard drive to get back in the game. Coach Brian Daboll chose to decline an offensive holding penalty to bring up 3rd-and-9, but this backfired when Cousins completed a 27-yard pass to T.J. Hockenson. Hockenson later hauled in a 28-yard pass, and Cousins finished the drive with a 9-yard touchdown pass to K.J. Osborn, making the score 17-14 in the Giants' favor at halftime.
Looking to seize the momentum again, the Giants' offense started the second half by moving 75 yards in six plays. Facing 3rd-and-3 at the Giants' 32, Barkley took a short pass for 24 yards, and Jones connected with Hodgins for 32 yards to move inside the red zone. Two plays later, Jones threw a 9-yard touchdown pass to Bellinger, extending New York’s lead to 24-14.
But the Vikings quickly responded by moving 75 yards in eight plays. On 3rd-and-7 near midfield, Cousins completed a 19-yard pass to Hockenson, and Adam Thielen’s 25-yard catch moved the ball inside the Giants' 10. Cousins then threw a 3-yard touchdown pass to Irv Smith, cutting New York’s lead to three.
The Giants were forced to punt for the first time all game on their next drive, and the Vikings responded with a drive deep into New York territory. The biggest play was a Hockenson 18-yard catch on 4th and 2, moving the ball inside the 25.
Minnesota would eventually have a 4th-and-1 at the Giants' 16 and looked to attempt another conversion, but a false start pushed them back five yards and forced them to settle for Greg Joseph’s 38-yard field goal, tying the game at 24.
The Giants’ offense responded, taking the lead back with a 12-play, 75-yard touchdown drive. Jones completed passes to Slayton and James for 14 and 11 yards, respectively, and completed a 19-yarder to Hodgins three plays later. New York would eventually advance to Minnesota's 7-yard line, where they faced 4th and 1.
In what would be a monumental play, Daboll elected to go for it, and Jones successfully converted with a 2-yard run. This would set up Barkley’s 2-yard touchdown run, putting New York back in front 31-24.
Both teams were forced to punt on their ensuing drives; the Giants forced the Vikings to use all of their timeouts, but a drop by Slayton on 3rd down gave Minnesota one more chance.
Ultimately, the Giants’ defense held strong. Despite a questionable roughing of the passer call on Dexter Lawrence, Minnesota turned the ball over on downs when Xavier McKinney tackled Hockenson well short of the line of gain on 4th and 8. After three QB Kneels by Jones, the Giants punched their ticket to the divisional round.
Join the Giants Country Community
- Sign up for our FREE digest newsletter
- Follow and like us on Facebook
- Submit your questions for our mailbag
- Check out the new Giants Country YouTube Channel.
- Listen and subscribe to the daily LockedOn Giants podcast.
- Subscribe and like the LockedOn Giants YouTube Channel
- Sign up for our FREE message board forums
- Get your Giants tickets today from SI Tickets!