It was a strange Sunday afternoon for the Giants’ defense at MetLife Stadium.
First, the Giants intercepted three passes, two of which led directly to both of their scores in their 10-7 victory over New England.
Make that nine takeaways for Wink Martindale’s unit in a two-game winning streak.
Afterward, the players had to field a series of awkward questions in the locker room about Martindale and coach Brian Daboll.
Before the game, Fox Sports reported that the relationship between Daboll and his defensive coordinator is in a “bad place” and could lead to Martindale leaving after the season, if not sooner.
Players said they were stunned by the report.
“I was shocked,” cornerback Adoree’ Jackson said. “I see them every day. I see their expression, their body language. They’re always laughing, having a good time, joking. It was a shock to hear that.”
Jihad Ward, who is particularly close to Martindale, said, “I don’t see no hatred between the coaches. We’re all coming together as one. We love each other.
“So whatever is out there in the media that says Wink and Dabes have got a beef, that’s [expletive].”
Martindale received a game ball on Sunday.
“I thought Wink did a fabulous job of really scheming it up and players did a good job of executing, so proud of those guys,” Daboll said.
Hmm. So what about that Fox report?
“I’d say the biggest argument that Wink and I have had is who has the last piece of pizza,” Daboll said. “I’ve got a lot of respect for Wink. He’s done a good job. I’ll leave it at that.”
So was the report untrue?
“I’ve got a lot of respect for Wink,” Daboll said. “He’s a heck of a coach. I’m glad he’s on the staff.”
The Giants intercepted Mac Jones twice and Bailey Zappe once.
Bobby Okereke’s interception of Jones and 55-yard return set up Tommy DeVito’s 12-yard touchdown pass to Isaiah Hodgins with just under two minutes left in the first half.
And the biggest play of all was Xavier McKinney’s interception of Zappe in the fourth quarter, which set up Randy Bullock’s go-ahead 42-yard field goal with 8:10 left.
“We got that route earlier out of that same formation and I saw it beforehand and I knew the same play was coming back,” McKinney said. “I got a good read on the quarterback. I felt like I was getting good reads on him all day, on Mac and Zappe. It’s just a play that I saw and wanted to be a playmaker, so go make it.”
The other interception was made by rookie cornerback Deonte Banks.
“We just try to keep getting better every week,” Banks said. “And today we got better . . . Two weeks from now, let’s be better.”
Said Okereke: “Wink has us really humming right now. We’re trusting the scheme and we’re feeding off each other’s big plays. We all love playing for him. We love the aggressive style of defense. We love that he keeps it an open forum.”
Ward said whatever drama might be occurring in the coaching offices is none of his business, but supporting everyone involved is.
“We’re a family,” he said. “Whatever the media sees, whatever y’all think or assume, it’s not the case.”