The drought is over in New York.
Eleven years after their last playoff win — in Super Bowl XLVI – the Giants found a way to outlast the Vikings, 31-24, behind quarterback Daniel Jones, who proved himself every bit a franchise player by completing 24 of 35 passes for 301 yards and two touchdowns, and adding 78 yards on the ground.
“I’ve said it all year,” coach Brian Daboll told reporters after the game. “He’s been good for us. He continues to be good for us. And he played a good game. I think there’s a lot of other people that played good games too to help him play a good game. He’ll be the first to admit it. As the leader of our football team, I’m proud of him.”
Players like wide receiver Isaiah Hodgins and running back Saquon Barkey stepped up to combine for 214 total yards and three TDs, and Jones did shout out countless position groups following the 31-24 victory, but the quarterback that was denied a fifth-year option before the season undoubtedly deserves player of the game honors.
Jones found success early and often through the air and on the ground. During the second half, he joined five other quarterbacks in the Super Bowl era to have 200-plus passing yards, two-plus passing TDs and 70-plus rushing yards in a playoff game, per NFL Research. By the final whistle, he surpassed his four peers by being the first QB in postseason history to eclipse 300 passing yards along with those accolades.
“I just kind of felt it as the game unfolded and took advantage of some of those opportunities,” Jones said about his success in the running game. “I thought the guys up front did a really good job with the pass rush and opening up some lanes. A lot of credit to them.”
The Giants needed every bit of the 379 yards Jones accounted for. After the Vikings scored on the opening drive, New York put up 17 unanswered. The team held leads of 17-7 at halftime and 24-14 after its first possession of the third quarter, but the stubborn Vikings continually answered, and at one point had the game knotted, 24-24, a couple minutes into the fourth quarter.
That’s when Jones responded again with the game-winning, 67-yard touchdown drive, which was only the Giants’ fifth-longest possession of the game. Two plays before Barkley would eventually punch it in for New York, Jones converted a fourth-and-1 from the 7-yard line. He’d do the same with another QB sneak at midfield on the following drive to move the chains and force Minnesota to waste all of its timeouts with just three minutes remaining.
“We were going after it,” Daboll said about the first fourth-down play, which took place with the game still tied. “We were going to try to win the game. We had confidence in Daniel moving the pile. And I could’ve lived with the consequences.”
Jones gave the Giants the confidence they needed to make those gutsy calls and the play they needed to upset the Vikings in their first playoff appearance since 2016, when Eli Manning was still in town.
“We’re excited,” Jones told NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero about delivering a long-awaited postseason victory for Big Blue. “You know, we’ll keep going. We’ve got a lot ahead of us. It’s been fun so far.”
If the Giants do keep going, they’ll have to go through the No. 1 seed Eagles next weekend. The Giants’ newest playoff-winning quarterback will require a worthy encore to do so.