The NFL is as much about the workweek as it is Sunday.
Or in this case, Thursday night.
Before people turn on the TV to see the final product, countless hours of film study go on behind the scenes leading up to game day. That's when players like Prince Amukamara and coaches like Tim Walton find tips like the one that paid off early in the Giants' 32-21 victory over the Redskins.
The cornerback jumped a route run by wide receiver Pierre Garcon and intercepted Kirk Cousins deep in Washington territory. Amukamara originally lined up in the slot and dropped back before the snap as rookie safety Landon Collins came off the edge to apply pressure.
"Just formation recognition," Amukamara said following the primetime game. "Coach Walton, my DB coach, gave me that tip earlier this week. It was one of those formations that I just memorized.
"It was just our coverage, it just switched from one coverage to another. We were playing some type of coverage and then we played zero coverage, which means it's me and that guy alone. It was just me and that guy. I don't know if it really was a game, I think the motion took us to a different coverage."
Amukamara returned the interception, his first of the year, down to Washington's 14-yard line, and running back Andre Williams punched it into the end zone four plays later for a 9-0 lead midway through the first quarter.
"I do think that Prince, on his behalf, I think he studied well, I think he knew he had some kind of tip," Coughlin said in his postgame remarks. "He knew that was coming. He really drove hard on the ball as good as I've seen him this fall and he really made a nice play and… gave us outstanding field position."
It was the first of two interceptions thrown by Cousins on the night, the other coming off a tipped pass by Devon Kennard into the hands of fellow linebacker Uani 'Unga.
Cousins is now 0-3 with two touchdowns and eight interceptions against the Giants, who won their fifth consecutive game over their NFC East rival.
"The first one, I thought the corner made a great play," Cousins said of Amukamara. "He jumped the route and it was a bang-bang play. I believe there are some throws in this league that if you don't let that one go, you're never going to let a ball go, and you're never going to be able to complete some of those tight window throws that you've got to be able to make in this league to move the football. I would credit the corner more on that one, making a great play and recognizing the route ahead of time."
Meanwhile Giants legend and former quarterback Phil Simms, who called the national game in the booth with Jim Nantz on CBS and NFL Network, spotted it immediately.
"Well, listen, this comes from studying during the week, watching what the other team does," Simms said during the broadcast. "Washington threw this exact pass a few times last week with some different formations. Hey, when you can run the football, one of the things you like to do: fake it up the middle and throw that pass over the middle where there's no linebackers. But what a job by Amukamara reading it, being ready for it, and making the interception."
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