It was only a week ago that the New York Giants had one of their worst special teams performances of the season. All week head coach Tom Coughlin and special teams coordinator Tom Quinn insisted that unit had to perform better, and perform better they did as the group had one of its best overall outings of the season.
Though there were no blocked kicks or punts against the Green Bay Packers, the special teams showed great focus on a crucial fake punt late in the third quarter, holding the Packers a yard short, and yielding a turnover on downs. It was a momentum shifting play, as the Giants would turn the favorable field positioning into a touchdown and a 14-point lead.
Rueben Randle was the first to get the show started on special teams with his longest punt return of the season for 32 yards, a return that led to the Giants first touchdown of the day.
On the other side, the special teams coverage also played at a high level. On three kickoff returns, Green Bay’s Micah Hyde mustered a long of 27-yards. On punt returns, Hyde totaled just 34-yards on three returns. Though much of that was a result of one of Steve Weatherford’s finer days at the office.
Despite the knuckling wind, Weatherford averaged 53 yards per punt and a net average of 42.2 on five quality boots. Kicker Josh Brown was perfect from the field as well, connecting from 40 and 28 yards out.
The all-around successful and focused play from the special teams seems to suggest that it is no coincident that the teams best special teams performance came the week after its worst. The coaches emphasized better production and the players responded. Spencer Paysinger, who made the first down saving tackle on the fake punt, seems to think that the special teams, much like the defense, may have found the confidence to keep the unit rolling.
“Hopefully this is the start of a great thing because realistically our punt and other special teams areas have been sub-par, we know that,” Paysinger said. “That’s on me, and Mark [Herzlich] and Ryan Mundy, guys who are primarily on special teams. You’ll see a difference in the coming weeks.”
Great special teams play can spark an entire team. If the Giants can stay hot, you'll want to make sure you have some GMENShirts apparel to show your Big Blue pride!
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