In this six-game win streak the New York Giants currently hold, it goes without saying that the defensive line has been nothing but exceptional.
Preseason expectations were high and for a good reason considering the massive payouts GM Jerry Reese ordered to revitalize the front four. The additions of DE Olivier Vernon and DT Damon Harrison looked to be a bust early on. Vernon, who was known to get to the quarterback in Miami, didn’t apply any pressure in the first few weeks. Snacks was helping against the run, but wasn’t effective in pass rushing.
But, oh have the tides turned since this streak started. Chemistry has found its way to the defensive line and they are wreaking havoc. Let’s take a look at the stats for the D-Line during the win streak:
· Jason Pierre-Paul: six sacks, two forced fumbles (both in last two games), one TD
· Olivier Vernon: five sacks, one forced fumble
· Johnathan Hankins: 2.5 sacks, one forced fumble
· Damon Harrison: 1.5 sacks
As you can see from these stats, there have been 15 sacks over the last six contests compared to two total in the previous five games. The defensive ends in JPP and Vernon have a combined total of 11 sacks and three forced fumbles. This doesn’t isn’t including QB hurries, tipped passes and tackles for loss.
What makes them so special though isn’t the stats in the box score after the game, but rather the toughness and grit they show throughout the game. There is no slacking in those 60 minutes especially late in the game. When the Giants need a big stop like against the Chicago Bears late in the fourth, JPP stepped up and knocked Jay Cutler and the Bears offense back with a forced fumble that ultimately set up a deep ball that was picked to ice the game.
It has been a resurgence that the Giants desperately needed as the limited pass rush led to those three straight losses against tough opponents. Quarterbacks like Aaron Rodgers had tons of time in the pocket and it costs the Giants. They have since battled back and are the proven force the team knew they could be.
Another tough task faces this defensive line on Sunday as the G-Men head to Pittsburgh to face Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers. Many are saying that the production shelled out in the win streak was against sub-par teams, and the same won’t happen against tougher opponents like the Steelers.
Sunday will certainly be a statement game for this defensive line who has no intentions to slow up now.