This past Sunday the New York Giants were able to complete the season sweep of the lowly Washington ‘Football Team’. By doing so, the Giants were able string together their first pair of wins since Week 5. While the victories have come against arguably the two worst teams in the NFL (Tennessee the week prior), the team has shown some vital signs of life in these contests.
Aside the continual ascension of Odell Beckham Jr. into football stardom, the beacon of hope for the Giants heading into the final weeks, and next season, is the reemergence of a once-vaunted pass rush. Over the past 3 weeks the defense has amassed 22 sacks, numbers the Giants haven’t seen since the prime-years of Osi Umenyiora, Justin Tuck, Barry Cofield and company.
The last few games have featured a new cast of characters and the resurgence of a familiar one. Johnathan Hankins has established himself as an interior presence at the defensive tackle position while second year defensive end Damontre Moore and rookie linebacker Devon Kennard have stepped up as rushers off the edge. The trio has combined for 10 ½ sacks in just the last 3 weeks. Couple this with vintage play from star defensive end Jason Pierre Paul, and the Giants suddenly have a youthful fearsome foursome of their own.
The performance against the Redskins this past week was especially impressive as the team had to react to the play of two vastly different quarterbacks in Colt McCoy and Robert Griffin III. The running dynamic Griffin brings to the table has given the Giants a multitude of troubles in the past, but that wasn’t the case on Sunday.
Jason Pierre credited Defensive Coordinator Perry Fewell for prepping the defense to face both quarterbacks.
He said, “I think we did a great job of preparing for both quarterbacks because we didn’t know who we were going to face this week. We did a great job and sure enough (Colt) McCoy went out and RG3 came in, but we were already prepared for it.”
While the 2014 season has been a lost one by all accounts, it’s encouraging to see young players step into major roles in the twilight of the year. Hopefully the pass rush can carry its momentum into a trench battle against the pesky St. Louis Rams next week and establish itself as strength for 2015.