DENVER — When the Giants practice their goal-line defense during the week, they cram as many big bodies up against the line of scrimmage as they can. And just about every time they do that, cornerback Janoris Jenkins makes a joke.
“Force it to me,” he says. “Let me make the play.”
Sure enough, when the Broncos were inches away from getting in the end zone in the fourth quarter of Sunday night’s game against the Giants, that’s exactly what happened. C.J. Anderson took a handoff and Jenkins, all 5-10 and 190 pounds of him, slid in to make the first contact.
“I saw everybody blocked and the runner tried to bounce,” Jenkins said. “It just so happened that they forced it to me in this game and we came up with the stop.”
Jason Pierre-Paul was there, as well, and after the initial hit, Anderson was pushed backward by Landon Collins and Damon Harrison.
But none of those big hitters and massive players underestimated the contributions of the cornerback they call Jackrabbit.
“We finally had one of those go over his way,” Pierre-Paul said. “That’s what kind of guy he is. He always wants to make the play and defend the ball. I’m glad he’s on my team.”
It was just one of several key plays made by Jenkins in the game. It was his interception and return for a 43-yard touchdown with 48 seconds left in the second quarter that sent the Giants into halftime up 17-3. And on the first play of the fourth quarter, with the Broncos driving, he gave up what would have been a first-down reception to Demaryius Thomas but stripped the ball from the receiver for another of the Giants’ three takeaways.
Thomas had a big game, most of it against Jenkins. He caught 10 passes for 133 yards and picked up two interference penalties against Jenkins. But on that particular one, Jenkins said he saw the ball in front of Thomas without it secured and he decided to go for the fumble rather than the tackle.
“Just a great play by me,” he said.
It was hard to argue.