After years of seasons that ended too early, new head coach Brian Daboll brought new tactics to coaching New York fans hadn’t seen since Tom Coughlin. Can the Giants sustain the success and have a solid season?
Reminded Of Heartbreak
On January 23rd, 2022, Brian Daboll felt what every other Buffalo Bills fan, staff member, player, or coach was feeling: pain. Though his offense scored five electric touchdowns in Kansas City, his team went home regardless, as KC moved on to the championship round the following week. Why? Because the game somehow was taken to overtime by Patrick Mahomes, Tyreek Hill, and Travis Kelce, who did the unthinkable and marched down the field in just nine or ten seconds on two big plays while down three, setting up a game-tying field goal attempt in hopes for extra football.
In what I would say was a very surprising turn of events, the field goal was good, and the Chiefs got the ball first in the extra period, and suddenly held the momentum. Driving down the field in dominant fashion as Daboll watched from the sideline, Mahomes found Kelce in the right corner of the endzone for the game-winner. After the season, Daboll was hired by the New York Giants to be their new head coach and was tasked with changing the culture in East Rutherford. No pressure, right? All he had to do was play the AFC’s top seed from a season ago in his first game, the Tennessee Titans, and on the road to boot.
Saquon Back To Form
The biggest storyline for New York this offseason was the return of Saquon Barkley, and the potential impact he’d make after being sidelined for a few seasons. Barkley, the former Penn State Nittany Lion, had one of the most statistically elite rookie seasons in recent memory in 2018. Scoring eleven times on 1,307 yards and while averaging half of a first down on each carry was certainly gaudy, and the team was elated for his return to the gridiron Sunday.
Daboll’s offensive scheme certainly centered Barkley, and he did not disappoint, carrying eighteen times for 164 yards, a touchdown, and the paramount two-point conversion in the dying minutes to put Big Blue ahead for good.
Another story that the media was chatting about since Coach Daboll was hired was whether or not he could turn Daniel Jones into Josh Allen. Now, while I think this is evidently a foolish question, Jones looked impressive in the late stages of the game.
His 65-yard bomb to Sterling Shepard in the third to cut the lead was a throw we really haven’t seen out of the former Duke Blue Devil. His ability to tuck the ball and run late in the game, putting his body on the line for his team certainly gave off Allen-type vibes. While Jones does not have the same charisma, raw talent, or accuracy down the field as Josh, it was hard not to see vast improvement from the Giants signal caller in week one.
He’s Seen This Movie Before…
As I move into the premise of this article, I want to go back to that Bills-Chiefs divisional game in late January of last season. While the overtime rules have been tampered with, the rule that both teams get the chance to possess the ball at least once only comes to fruition in the postseason. With that in mind, down 20-19 with a minute and six seconds on the clock, Daboll had a decision to make. Kick the extra point and take another close game to overtime, where luck had not been on his side in recent memory or make the unlikely a reality and trust his offense, putting them on the field and trying for the win.
As the story goes, Daboll most definitely made the right move, allowing the best player on both sides of the ball to get a touch, as everyone watched Mr. Barkley rumble into the endzone after making one Titan defender miss and trucking a second. As the Giants took the 21-20 lead, Daboll just hoped that Tennessee wouldn’t march down, similarly to KC in the last game he had coached and break his heart again.
Trust In His Players
Luckily, the field goal attempt in the final seconds fell wide, and New York survived its first test with Daboll in charge. It was inspiring to see the first-year head coach have such a sense of trust in his players, and I certainly foresee more successes for the G-Men with Daboll, Jones, and Barkley. After years of misery, it finally seems like the Giants are moving in the right direction and making impactful strides forward.