Jason Pierre-Paul hustled his way to a team-high five solo tackles against the New Orleans Saints, and provided a respite in the lackluster effort by a defensive unit that gave up 49 points in the primetime bout.
The defensive end's night began with an early fake field goal attempt by the Saints once their opening drive stalled on the Giants 19-yard line. On fourth-and-11, John Kasay lined up for a 37-yarder, but holder (and backup quarterback) Chase Daniel popped a quick pass to Jimmy Graham, who evaded Devin Thomas in pursuit. Graham picked up nine yards before Pierre-Paul chased down the tight end, two yards short of the first down marker.
"I just had to do my assignment, which was to read the end," Thomas said. "We didn't really expect anything like that to happen that soon. We always stay aware and alert for any kinds of fakes. They tried to get us. I feel like I did a good job reading it. I couldn't make the tackle on him, but thankfully I was able to push him aside and JPP was able to make it."
"I just saw a fake field goal," Pierre-Paul said. "The distance between me and the wide receiver, I knew I had time run over there and make the play. It was nothing special."
Pierre-Paul's modesty after the game underscored the frustration on a defensive line that led the league in sacks but came up empty-handed in New Orleans.
On the flip side, the Giants had their own adventure in special teams later in the game.
Down by 25 late in the third quarter, Steve Weatherford lined up to punt from the Giants' 33, but took off running to the right side with the ball. He was clotheslined by linebacker Ramon Humber for no gain, and the Saints took over on downs.
"There's really not much to talk about," Weatherford said. "Coach made the call that we were doing the fake. When we got out on the field, we checked out and I was so excited to get the call, to run the fake, that I wasn't paying attention to us checking off and planning on punting the ball. So it's 100 percent my fault. I should have been paying attention to see if we were running it or not, but I just got excited, got caught up in the moment. I just didn't catch the call."
Tyler Sash, lined up closest to Weatherford in punt formations, explained.
"If we got a certain look, we were supposed to run it," Sash said. "If we got the look that we got -- we called it off. Everybody blocked like we were going to punt it. I guess the communication wasn't there with Steve, and I guess he wasn't sure. Everybody was blocking for the punt, and Steve took off running. We did what we could."
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