There was no reason to think Chad Ryland wouldn’t kick the ball into the uprights and another game-changing play would happen against the hapless Giants.
It would be a different story if he hadn’t been closely observing the body language of the Patriots kicker lined up at the 35-yard line from the other side of the line of scrimmage.
“I felt like he was going to miss it. I think he was a little nervous,” safety Xavier McKinney said. “I was trying to talk to him before he actually kicked. I was just telling him, ‘Don’t miss it.’ Don’t be afraid. ” He was a little upset – you can always tell. ”
Sure enough, Ryland hit a chip shot wide to left and the Giants avoided overtime and won 10-7, a repeat of their near-certain victory over the Jets in their most recent home game.
“As a kicker, it’s always nerve-wracking when you make a last-second field goal,” McKinney said. “Especially when you know if you miss this you’re going to lose this game. It’s different when you’re tied.”
McKinney was at the center of the ensuing celebration, rolling his helmet onto the field for a meaningless penalty.
“There’s no easy way around it. There’s no soft way around it. I missed the kick,” Ryland told reporters in the visitors’ locker room. “I completely own it and take responsibility for it every day. I had good protection, snap and hold. I have to get better at that kick.”
Were the Giants simply on schedule?
After losing to the Bills, where both halves ended on the 1-yard line, and then losing to the Jets, who had a 99.9 percent chance of winning in the final moments?
“I don’t feel like we owed it,” said defensive tackle Rakeem Nunez Roches, who was in the middle of the line trying to block the kick. “The mechanics of the game have to accept that. The way we fought, we had an advantage over them. We wanted it more.”
Nunez-Roches said he could see the kick go off Ryland’s legs.
“Once we had enough penetration, we felt it,” Nunez-Roche said. “When I got up, the tackle grabbed me in the back and I was like, ‘No!’” Despite the pressure, we follow his lead, so everything works together. ”
Giants quarterback Tommy DeVito was preparing for overtime, but only took a knee in the final three seconds to escape after the game changed hands.
According to FootballGuys.com, NFL kickers have made about 92 percent of their 35-yard field goals since 2010.
“It’s about time we had a little bit of luck,” DeVito said. “Sometimes luck is better than luck. I heard that saying a lot when I was growing up. But it worked out and I was able to come out victorious.”