How Janoris Jenkins beat Dez Bryant and won game for Giants
The Giants got the game-changing, superstar play they needed from their wide receiver star, Odell Beckham Jr. The Cowboys didn’t get anything from Dez Bryant, thanks to the play of cornerback Janoris Jenkins.
Don’t mess with Jackrabbit.
When Bryant finally caught a 10-yard pass at the 2:13 mark of the fourth quarter, Jenkins hit him so hard he fumbled and Landon Collins recovered at the Cowboys’ 38 to help seal the Giants’ thrilling 10-7 victory Sunday night at MetLife Stadium.
After the Giants went three-and-out, Jenkins also defended the Cowboys’ last-gasp incomplete pass of the game to Bryant.
Nine times Bryant got the ball thrown his way by Dak Prescott with only one reception, and that reception turned into a critical fumble.
“He kind of beat me a little bit inside, but I got recovery speed and I swiped at the ball and made a physical play and it popped out and we got the turnover,” Jenkins said. “Speed is something I’ve always had, that’s why they called me Jackrabbit.’’
Jenkins also came up with an interception in the second quarter when he beat Bryant to the spot.
“In my opinion he’s the best corner in the league,” Victor Cruz said.
“He’s amazing,’’ linebacker Jonathan Casillas said. “The stuff he does covering those beasts out there, those are great receivers out there. He goes out there and fights. He’s not that big of a person but he goes out there and plays big, plays huge.”
“He’s from that area of the country [Florida] where they grow football players, and he is a product of that environment.’’
The Giants’ second interception, the one that set up Beckham’s touchdown, came when Jenkins blanketed Bryant on a long pass down the middle.
Bryant appeared to stop on the play and Prescott threw it deep, where Leon Hall was the only one who could catch the ball. He picked it off at the 10 and ran it back 29 yards. That gave the Giants spark they needed to help the struggling offense.
A few plays later, Beckham caught a slant and went 61 yards for the touchdown to give the Giants a 10-7 lead.
Jenkins signed a five-year deal for $62.5 million, including a $10 million signing bonus. He is a physical corner who has a way getting in a receiver’s head and is constantly using his hands to disrupt catches, a master at sneaking his hands into the receiver’s hands.
“I just did my job,’’ Jenkins said. “This was a great job by our defense, everybody came out and made plays. This is just playing football. No slap-talking. I always enjoy my matchups.’’
Bryant only caught one pass against the Giants in Big Blue’s 20-19 season-opening victory. That is only two catches in two games — mostly blanketed by Jenkins.
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