New York Giants head coach Brian Daboll did not flinch when asked the question of whether to go for two and a potential win in his first game in charge of an NFL team.
Big Blue took a 21-20 lead over the Tennessee Titans on a nifty shovel pass to running back Saquon Barkley with 1:06 left in the game and held on for the upset.
“Going for the win,” Daboll said, via the team’s official website. “We’re going to be aggressive. That’s what we want to do. That’s the mindset I want the players to have. If it didn’t work, I can live with it. I thought that was the right decision. You’re an inch away or whatever it was. I trust Saquon.”
Giants players on both offense and defense were on board with Daboll’s decision to go for two with that much time left in the game. The aggressive choice is part of a mentality the coach wants to instill in his players.
“When we scored, I was on the field and I saw him put up the two signs and we kind of made eye contact,” Barkley said of Daboll. “He gave me that look, and I knew what the play was going to be. He gave me that look and I kind of looked back at him and said, ‘F-yeah.’ We called it up and we were able to execute the play and get in. He’s a man of his word. He told us he’s going to be aggressive. He told us he’s going to lean on the players to make plays. In that situation, he did exactly that. When you have a coach like that, it’s definitely going to make you go out there and fight for him and execute in those situations.”
Titans kicker Randy Bullock yanking a 47-yard field goal as time expired helped pay off Daboll’s decision. That’s what pressure does. It puts players — on both teams — in a position to succeed or fail. The Giants executed their chance. Tennessee flubbed it.
The most significant message Daboll’s decision sent: These aren’t Joe Judge’s New York Giants.
“He told us, ‘I’m not going to coach scared.’ I believe everything the man says,” receiver Sterling Shepard said of Daboll. “He has trust in us. That just shows it. We appreciate that. We want to be put in those pressure situations. We have guys that really want to be in those positions to make that play. Everyone in that huddle, I asked them who is going to make that play. So we were all ready to make it.”
There will still be growing pains for a rebuilding club in Daboll’s first season, but Sunday’s comeback upset was a positive start and a message to fans that he’s running a different program than we’ve seen out of the Giants.