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Top Five Defensive Plays (non-takeaways) of 2015

Posted Jan 16, 2016

Giants.com ranks the best plays and moments of the 2015 season

GOAL-LINE STAND IN BUFFALO


Date: October 4, 2015 (Week 4)
Opponent: Buffalo Bills
Location: Ralph Wilson Stadium

The Giants could have used more fourth-quarter stands like the one they had against the Bills in 2015. After forcing a short field goal deep inside their own territory on Buffalo’s prior drive, Big Blue kept Tyrod Taylor off the board with four straight stops on a first-and-goal from the nine-yard line in the fourth quarter. The Bills inched their way down to a fourth-and-goal from the one, where cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and linebacker J.T. Thomas III tackled Karlos Williams after a short pass from Taylor. The Giants took over on downs and went on to win 24-10.





JPP RECORDS FIRST SACK OF HIS RETURN


Date: December 20, 2015 (Week 15)
Opponent: Carolina Panthers
Location: MetLife Stadium

After suffering serious hand injuries in a Fourth of July fireworks accident, the two-time Pro Bowl defensive end missed half of his sixth NFL season. After returning in Week 9, Pierre-Paul went on to finish the year with 26 tackles (four for loss), seven quarterback hits, six passes defensed, and two fumble recoveries. He also notched the first sack of his return on Carolina’s Cam Newton for a nine-yard loss in Week 15. Pierre-Paul currently ranks No. 8 on the Giants’ all-time sacks list with 43.0.





AYERS NOTCHES 7.5 SACKS IN FINAL 5 GAMES


Date: January 3, 2016 (Week 17)
Opponent: Philadelphia Eagles
Location: MetLife Stadium

A seven-year NFL veteran, Robert Ayers Jr. had the best season of his career and led the Giants in sacks in 2015. The defensive end, who signed with the Giants in 2014 after playing his first five seasons in Denver, marked career highs in tackles (41), sacks (9.5), quarterback hits (22), tackles for loss (11), passes defensed (4), and forced fumbles (2). He was especially dominant late in the season, recording 7.5 sacks in the last five weeks against the Jets, Dolphins, Panthers, Vikings, and Eagles. His last sack against Philadelphia in Week 17 marked a streak of having at least one in five consecutive games.





JPP SWATS DOWN CAM NEWTON ON 3RD DOWN


Date: December 20, 2015 (Week 15)
Opponent: Carolina Panthers
Location: MetLife Stadium

Setting up the final stages of a 28-point comeback, Jason Pierre-Paul batted down a third-down pass from MVP candidate Cam Newton of then-undefeated Carolina. After forcing the punt, Eli Manning hit Odell Beckham Jr. for a touchdown on the next possession to tie the game with 1:46 to play. At one point, the Giants trailed 35-7 late in the third quarter.





DRC SWATS PASS IN WIN


Date: December 14, 2015 (Week 14)
Opponent: Miami Dolphins
Location: Sun Life Stadium

Since entering the league in 2008, no player has more passes defensed than Giants cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, who has 122 in eight seasons. Thirteen of them came in 2015, including a season-high three against the Dolphins. His biggest came on a third-down pass from Ryan Tannehill intended for DeVante Parker in the fourth quarter. The Giants got the ball back, and 40 seconds after DRC’s play, Eli Manning hit Odell Beckham Jr. for an 84-yard touchdown that put the Giants ahead for good in a 31-24 victory.