It's a breakout game for David Wilson
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Special teams coach Tom Quinn hands out assignment sheets to the players on his kick-return unit before each game. But David Wilson didn't get one Sunday.
"So I asked him, 'Coach, where's my assignment sheet?' " Wilson said. "He said, 'You don't need one. Just run fast.'
"So I think that might be a new trend. I think I might be done with assignment sheets."
First player in NFL history to have at least 200 kickoff-return yards (227) and 100 rushing yards (100 on the nose) in a game. Most total yards (337) in one game in Giants history. First Giant with a kick-return touchdown and a rushing touchdown in the same game since 1948.
"I don't know if they had facemasks back then," said Wilson, unable to shed the broad grin he wore throughout his session with reporters. "I know my parents weren't born yet. That's a long record."
And a long time coming, if that can be said for a player with exactly 12 games under his belt.
Wilson had begun the game with a 58-yard return to the Saints' 44, coming close to a touchdown and an end-zone backflip on the very first play. "I've been telling him to stop doing that," Justin Tuck said with mock consternation, glaring at Wilson.
But Wilson broke through with incredible ease on the second kickoff, the first of his three trips to the end zone.
He scored on a 6-yard run 1:56 into the second half after Stevie Brown's interception set up the Giants with a short field. Wilson fought for those yards, extending the ball across the goal line.
He didn't need such fortitude on the 52-yard run that gave the Giants a 52-27 lead, again scoring untouched to cap a record-setting game with three backflips.
"When holes open up like that, I just thank God for giving me the speed to take advantage," Wilson said. "You hate to be one of those guys who can just look at the hole and say, 'Man, I could have took that one if I'd been a little bit faster.' "
Wilson's rookie season began with such a thud that it has taken some time, as well as Andre Brown's season-ending broken leg, to bump Wilson back into the offensive rotation. His fumble against the Cowboys on opening night set him back in Tom Coughlin's eyes, and his inability to break a kickoff return didn't help matters.
But he put it all together Sunday, including a blitz pickup in the second half that Eli Manning loved almost as much as Wilson's touchdowns.
"It was all about gaining the coaches' trust," Wilson said. "That was one of their concerns. So for me to step up, pick up the safety, which is the secondary assignment on that play, that probably put the coaches in a comfort zone, where they say, 'Oh, he can do it.' I want to just keep working hard so I can keep my job and keep their trust."