First-year head coach Brian Daboll had his upstart staff totally ready. Daniel Jones performed at a stage properly past his expertise.
The New York Giants got here confidently into Minnesota’s raucous stadium and beat the tight-finish masters at their very own recreation.
Jones handed for 301 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 78 yards in his first profession playoff recreation for the Giants in a 31-24 wild-card spherical victory on Sunday that gave the Vikings their first loss in 12 one-score video games this season.
“A cornerstone franchise like this with such a wealthy history, that is what we’re purported to do,” broad receiver Darius Slayton stated. “We’re purported to go to the playoffs. We’re purported to be a successful staff. We’re simply going to maintain making an attempt to dwell as much as the legacy that’s been right here.”
Saquon Barkley rushed for 2 scores, together with the tiebreaker halfway by way of the fourth quarter. Jones grew to become the primary quarterback in NFL historical past to hit these thresholds in a postseason recreation: 300-plus yards passing, two-plus passing touchdowns and 70-plus yards speeding.
“He’s a particular participant,” stated Barkley, who had 109 complete yards on solely 14 touches. “That is the place you possibly can create your legacy within the playoffs, and what a strategy to begin it off.”
The protection completed off the franchise’s first playoff win because the Tremendous Bowl 11 years in the past by swarming tight finish T.J. Hockenson at midfield after a 3-yard reception from Kirk Cousins on fourth-and-8 to drive a turnover on downs with 1:44 to go and no timeouts left for the Vikings (13-5).
The Giants (10-7-1) superior to play No. 1 seed and NFC East rival Philadelphia within the divisional spherical subsequent weekend. They transformed seven of 13 third downs and had their method with a Vikings protection that has been weak all season, averaging 8.3 yards per play within the first half.
“I feel we’ve had a few of our higher video games lately and located some stuff that works for us,” stated Jones, who had landing passes to Isaiah Hodgins and Daniel Bellinger. “So we’ll preserve doing it. I believed the teaching workers did a terrific job having us prepared.”
Cousins went 31 for 39 for 273 yards and two scores and a speeding landing to cap the sport’s opening possession, the too-short throw to Hockenson his one evident mistake. Cousins was extra upset by his placement on the third-and-8 move to Okay.J. Osborn — who had a first-half landing catch — that was knocked down by Cor’Dale Flott.
“There was at all times perception. I feel that’s why it hurts, since you look forward to finding a method, particularly the best way this staff has gone all yr,” stated Cousins, who referred to as this “most likely the hardest loss” of his 11-year profession after going an NFL-record 11-0 in one-score video games within the common season.
5 years and at some point after Case Keenum’s 61-yard last-play landing move to Stefon Diggs gave the Vikings a 29-24 victory over New Orleans within the divisional spherical, Cousins lastly bought a postseason recreation in Minnesota in his fifth season with the team.
The Vikings stayed on model by dealing with 10-point deficits late within the second quarter and once more early within the third quarter.
Cousins, who delivered all types of on-target throws as he was knocked to the turf by the blitz-fueled Giants protection, hit Irv Smith Jr. for a landing that introduced the Vikings inside 24-21.
Then got here the weird — the protection bought a cease.
Danielle Hunter’s sack compelled the primary Giants punt, and the Vikings went the opposite method for the tying discipline objective. They left behind some essential factors, although, when Cousins ran profitable sneak on fourth-and-1 on the 15 that was negated by a false begin on left sort out Christian Darrisaw.
Jones transformed a penalty-free fourth-and-1 sneak on the following drive for the Giants. Barkley chugged into the top zone for the lead with 7:47 to go.
“There have been actual tears in there,” first-year coach Kevin O’Connell stated outdoors the locker room. “There are guys that anticipated to have an opportunity to win a world championship. You’ve bought to offer the Giants a number of credit score.”
JACKSON VS. JEFFERSON
Cousins focused Hockenson 11 occasions for 10 receptions and 129 yards, however after Justin Jefferson had 4 catches on the opening landing drive he had solely three extra the remainder of the best way and only one within the second half.
The NFL’s main receiver, who had 133 yards and a landing on 12 receptions within the 27-24 win over the Giants final month, nearly at all times had a security following him and was deftly lined by Adoree’ Jackson within the cornerback’s return from a seven-game absence to a knee harm.
“I at all times imagine in myself, however it’s at all times gratifying and it’s appreciated when others imagine in you,” Jackson stated.
Giants: OLB Azeez Ojulari (quadriceps) was damage within the second quarter and dominated out at halftime. … Backup FS Jason Pinnock (stomach) left on a cart after masking a kickoff within the fourth quarter and went to a hospital for analysis. He rejoined Giants within the locker room and was flying residence with the staff.
Vikings: LB Brian Asamoah II (concussion) was injured masking a kickoff late within the second quarter. … Backup CB Cameron Dantzler Sr. (private) was inactive after lacking apply all week.