The play: TE Jake Ballard 41-yard catch from QB Eli Manning
Down and distance: 1st & 10 at the NYG 9
Time: 8:34, 3rd quarter
Personnel: 2 WR's, 1 TE, 1 RB, 1 FB
Watch the play: CLICK HERE
Leading up to the play: Redskins defensive end Ryan Kerrigan batted Eli Manning's pass at the line of scrimmage and intercepted it, returning it for a touchdown to start the second half. The Giants then went three-and-out on the ensuing drive, followed by a punt from Washington to pin New York back near its own end zone.
What we saw: Manning had good protection in the pocket from the offensive line as well as rookie fullback Henry Hynoski, who chipped Kerrigan on his way up the right side of the field. Ballard, on the left seam, got off the line quickly and was picked up by linebacker London Fletcher. The two were stride-for-stride until Ballard made a move to the outside around the 20 and cut back in, giving him separation from Fletcher. With safety Reed Doughty closing in on Ballard, Manning saw his window. He split Fletcher and Doughty, hitting his tight end with an over-the-shoulder pass at the numbers. Ballard then was pushed down at the Redskins logo at midfield for a 41-yard gain - his second reception of the game after making his first NFL catch for 18 yards in the first quarter.
What Ballard saw: "I knew Fletcher was running with me so I had to make some kind of move to the outside. I gave him a couple steps outside, head fake, and just broke it off in the middle, and Eli saw me. I got a little separation, enough to make a play."
What Ballard was thinking: "I was a little surprised that play was called being where we were, but we ran that play all week in practice. The scout team showed us what the coaches thought we would get, and that's exactly what happened. We knew London Fletcher was going to turn, run to us, but we knew we were going to have to make it because he's going to beat us over the top. So we had to get off fast and I got off fast. I didn't even think about it. It was just instinctive that I gave him a little something outside, straightened up, got some separation, caught the ball. If that safety had been a little farther over, I might have been able to catch it and keep running a little bit. But it was a big play for the offense."
The aftermath: "No one really knew me until now. 'Oh, he's a blocking tight end, he won't be able to do anything in the passing game.' The coaches knew that wasn't true, and I know it's not true. So I'm just happy with the opportunity."