The 56-yard field goal Graham Gano kicked with 3:34 left in the Giants’ 19-16 win over the Panthers on Sunday was toward the top end of his range, though far from the longest of his career.
In fact, it wasn’t even his longest field goal in a Giants-Panthers game — but delving into that particular career feat probably isn’t the best idea, he said.
“I don’t think I should talk about that to Giants fans,” he said to laughter. “But yeah, those 50-plus-yarders are special.”
For the record, Gano’s longest field goal came as a Panther when he kicked a 63-yarder as time expired to win a 2018 game against the Giants.
So in a lot of ways, what he was able to do Sunday — four field goals of 36, 33, 51 and 56 yards — provided a special sort of karmic symmetry to the proceedings. Three of the four kicks gave the Giants the lead.
Beyond that, though, it continued to highlight how much Gano has meant to the Giants in what is now his third season with the organization.
He’s got that big leg, yes, but it’s his reliability that stands out just as much.
“He stepped up big for us,” quarterback Daniel Jones said. “He’s been super-consistent for us in the past few years — a great player, a huge asset for us — so it was a big time for him to step up for us and make that kick.”
Gano led the Giants with 104 points last season and it wasn’t close; No. 2 Saquon Barkley scored 24 points.
Gano is 14-for-18 on field-goal attempts of at least 50 yards in his 35 games with the Giants. He has a career 84% success rate on field goals, a number that’s steadily ticked up the past five years.
On Sunday, he said the only time his heart was pounding was for the 36-yard attempt. That’s because the Giants recovered a fumble on the opening kickoff and Gano realized they already were in field-goal range.
“I actually don’t get nervous in the moment,” he said. “I kind of don’t remember what happens. It’s 1.3 seconds, real fast, and you don’t even think. All the practice and preparation that you put into it kind of takes over and you rely on that.”
That happens even when it’s a potential winning field goal. Even when it’s 56 yards and at the top of his range. And even, he said, when the wind is blowing in his face, as it was for all four of his field goals.
“It’s what I look forward to, those moments,” he said. “Entering the fourth quarter, I looked at the guys and said I hope we get this opportunity to put us ahead.”
Oh, and by the way, that 63-yard field goal a few years back? That was into the wind, too. But it’s a good bet that Giants fans will prefer to remember this one.