Giants' Darius Slayton drops a pass during the second half...

Giants' Darius Slayton drops a pass during the second half of an NFL wild card football game against the Minnesota Vikings Sunday, Jan. 15, 2023, in Minneapolis.  Credit: AP/Bruce Kluckhohn

What was life like for Darius Slayton after he dropped a fourth-quarter pass that likely would have sealed the win for the Giants in Sunday’s NFC Wild Card game against the Vikings?

Anguish.

“At that point, the game wasn’t over and they very well could have scored,” Slayton said of the third-and-15 pass that went through his hands with 3:03 remaining, forcing the Giants to punt the ball away while clinging to a seven-point lead.

Coach Brian Daboll pulled Slayton aside as he came off the field.

“I said, ‘Put your head up. You’ve made a lot of good plays for us,’  ” Daboll said. “He’s such a good teammate. He’s done everything he can do for us the entire year. He made a physical mistake. That’s going to happen in football. He made one at a critical time and there was no one who felt worse than him.”

The Vikings got the ball with 2:56 left, but the Giants didn’t allow them to get across midfield and held on for a 31-24 victory.

“Ain’t nobody in the tri-state area happier than me for that defensive stop,” Slayton said.  

The Giants converted two fourth-and-1s in the fourth quarter on quarterback sneaks by Daniel Jones. On one of them, they had the option to kick a short field goal that would have given them a lead; instead, they eventually scored the go-ahead touchdown. Did Daboll consider kicking on either?

“No,” he said. “We were going after it. We were trying to win the day. We had confidence in Daniel, we were moving the ball, and I can live with the consequences.”  

Who had the best and most surprising block of the game?

Kenny Golladay, who played sparingly but showed up huge with a key hit on Patrick Peterson that allowed Saquon Barkley to convert a first down on a 10-yard swing pass on the drive for the go-ahead touchdown.  

Was the 20-play drive that consumed most of the second quarter the longest by the Giants this season?

Yes. Their previous longest was a 15-play drive against the Packers in London. This one covered 85 yards and ate up 10:52. It did not, however, result in a touchdown. Although Jones was able to run into the end zone from the 4 on first-and-goal, that play was negated by an illegal-shift penalty. The Giants eventually settled for a 25-yard field goal that gave them a 17-7 lead.  

When was the last time the Giants had a drive that long?

It was their first 20-play drive since the 2020 opener against the Steelers. In terms of time, it was their longest since 2015, when they held the ball for 11:21. Both of those drives ended in interceptions.  

Why did the game start late?

The 4:30 start was pushed to 4:50 because the Bills-Dolphins game ran long.

How loud was it?

Very. At one point in the first quarter, the scoreboard’s meter that measures such things said it was up to nearly 118 decibels. At that point, they also showed a quote from Nick Gates from earlier in the week in which he expressed how unimpressed he was by the noise level when the Giants played here on Christmas Eve. Of course, the volume was cranked up only when the Giants had the ball. At one point in the first quarter, there was an audible chant of “Let’s go Giants” while the Vikings fans were politely hushed for their team on offense.

Was anyone of significance in attendance at the game?

Commissioner Roger Goodell was on hand. As was A-Rod. The baseball one, not the Packers quarterback.

What happened to safety Jason Pinnock?

Playing on the kickoff coverage team after the go-ahead touchdown, he suffered an abdominal injury that required him to be carted off the field and transported to a local hospital. The Giants said he was able to return to the locker room to help celebrate the win and flew home with the team. The Giants said Pinnock said he was “feeling much better.”

More Giants