Jabrill Peppers finally got his big moment.
Four games into his tenure as a Giant, Peppers got to show fans why the Giants were confident about acquiring him to replace three-time Pro Bowl safety Landon Collins.
Playing the Redskins, Collins’ new team, and wearing No. 21, the same number Collins wore as a Giant, Peppers made a statement loud and clear with a pick-6 of rookie quarterback Dwayne Haskins in the third quarter.
He returned the interception 32 yards for what would be the final score in the Giants’ 24-3 victory.
The first thing Peppers did after the score was attempt to do the wall hop, but he said he was so tired he “couldn’t quite make it.”
The second thing he remembers was hugging coach Pat Shurmur on the sideline.
“I told him that’s one of the reasons you guys brought me here,” Peppers said. “I’m going to make you look good. That was the basics of what I said.”
The Giants acquired Peppers from the Cleveland Browns as part of the Odell Beckham Jr. trade. They needed him to replace Collins, whom they decided not to franchise despite the fact that he made the Pro Bowl in three of his four seasons with the Giants.
Heading into Sunday’s game, Peppers had yet to produce the kind of game-turning plays the team wanted from someone at his position. He had no sacks, interceptions or tackles for a loss.
Then came the interception. Peppers said he had a pretty good idea when the Redskins lined up what was about to happen.
“I recognized the set. I knew they liked the over routes out of that formation,” he said. “I trusted my gut, slipped underneath it. He tried to get it out, I switched my arm and saw nothing but daylight in front of me. It had to be six.”
The interception was one of four by the Giants on Sunday. Rookie linebacker Ryan Connelly came up with his second interception in two weeks on a pass deflected by Janoris Jenkins, who had two interceptions while bouncing back from a terrible performance last week in Tampa.
The Redskins (0-4) are a team with a lot of problems, meaning they were just what the doctor ordered to help get the Giants’ defense on track. Heading into the game, they were allowing 31.3 points a game, which ranked 31st in the league.
Jenkins, who had called out his defensive teammates after the loss to the Bills in Week 2, was pleased to see the unit play up to its abilities.
“We played great,” he said. “We played all-around great football: defense, special teams, offense. I just think we started fast this week and we kept our feet on the gas.
“We just believed in each other. Like I said, man, keep playing football. Understand what is coming and what is not coming and just continue to play football.”