The catalyst play of yesterday’s win was Ryan Kerrigan’s second-half interception return for a touchdown.
The second half had just begun, and the Redskins had not led in the game. The Giants received the second-half kickoff and were pinned back at their own 18-yard line.
On third-and-17, the Giants lined up in the shotgun and called for a quick pass to Hakeem Nicks, who was split out wide to the right. Head coach Mike Shanahan revealed after the game that he called for an “all-out blitz” on the play, with Kerrigan coming around the right side.
This was the result:
On third-and-a mile in a close game, logic would suggest that this would be a pass play, so the blitz makes sense.
According to defenders in the locker room, Eli Manning has a reputation for getting rattled under pressure and for losing his focus if he gets hit. Certainly it is the goal of this, and any defense, to create pressure and knock him off his game.
Shanahan described the play after the game as: “We kind of read the quarterback trying to dump the ball off. We played a little smoke to the wide receiver – very edgy play by him – good adjustment. It was a big play.”
Kerrigan blitzed for his linebacker position, but continued to diagnose the play based on the way he was being blocked by the right tackle, and the direction of Manning’s eyes.
“I knew it was a quick pass because the offensive lineman was trying to cut me,” Kerrigan said of the blocking scheme.
By cut-blocking, the offensive lineman causes the blitzing defender to get his hands low, and therefore away from the ball being thrown. Kerrigan side-steps the block, keeps his eyes up, and gets his hands in a position to make a play.
“I just tried to play the cut-block, get my hands up, and fortunately I was able to get my hands on the ball and get into the endzone.”
This is an over-simplification of the athleticism that it took to diagnose a play and see it through to the endzone. This play sparked the team on both sides of the ball and would end up being the game-winning score.
Not bad, rookie.
Check out his post game interview below:
Tags: new york giants, pick six, rookie, ryan kerrigan, touchdown, washington redskins, week 1
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