Big Blue's victory over the Dolphins may be defined by the final defensive stand that handed the ball to Eli Manning for the victory formation. But don't forget where Miami's last drive began before the climactic two sacks and clinching interception.
The exclamation point to what had already been an impressive day of punt coverage was Steve Weatherford's 55-yard punt from the Giants 25 to the Dolphins 16. That's where gunner Justin Tryon wrapped up Reggie Bush's legs and held on for dear life until reinforcements arrived, stopping a man with four career return touchdowns for a loss of four yards.
"That was one of those moments when you may have a lump in your throat but guys came through," Tom Coughlin said after the game.
Playing with the returner for three years at their old gig in New Orleans, Weatherford knew what havoc Bush can wreak.
"I was running and I was like 'please tackle him, please hold onto him,'" Weatherford said of Tryon trying to take down Bush, who made multiple attempts at wiggling out. "Because if they can hold onto him long enough for (Zak) DeOssie, Herz (Mark Herzlich) and (Tyler) Sash and those guys to get down there, then I know that we're going to get him tackled."
Adding to the urgency of the tug-of-war was the condition of Tryon's right arm, which he hurt on the first punt of the game in the second quarter. He played through the pain but felt it again on that last play.
"I was praying to hold onto his leg because my arm was killing me," said Tryon, who had x-rays taken after the game. "I was just like, man, if I can hold onto him two seconds longer, some of our guys can rally up and get him."
Entering the game, Weatherford and his coverage unit had dropped four punts inside the 20; they had three against Miami alone. That included a downed punt by another gunner, Michael Coe, at the five yard-line that led to a Miami three-and-out.
"We were out there trying to be really aggressive, and we worked on it all week and the bye week," Coe said. "The special teams, as a unit, we wanted to play more aggressive. Steve had a great kicking game. He gave us some good height. That's all we need – some height. We've got a lot of speed out there so just a little hang time, we can go down there and make some plays."
Tryon also gave a nod to his punter.
"He put our team in great positions with the punts," Tryon said. "He was punting great all day today, and he was just putting so much air under the ball so it could give our coverage team just enough time to get down there. Him, I've got to take my hat off to him because he made it easy on us."
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