David Wilson’s 66-yard kickoff return was a big play in Sunday’s game against the 49ers, but Marvin Austin’s block up the middle was a big part of that big play.
Austin, the Giants’ second-year defensive tackle who has had limited reps with that unit, took advantage of his role on special teams and delivered a devastating block on Tavares Gooden that helped spring Wilson for his long run.
“I knew we were going to get the ball in the second half and I said, ‘We have to set the tone. I have to set the tone,’” Austin said. “The one thing I can do – I might not get a lot of reps at defensive tackle right now – but I know on kickoff return I can mash somebody, murder somebody out there and help set the tone for the second half.
“And that’s what I did. It’s something I think I can help the team in. I haven’t been playing my best as a defensive tackle right now and I’m just trying to get better at that. If I see I can help out the team on special teams, I’m going to do whatever it takes.”
Austin was lined up as a fullback with three other Giants in front of Wilson on the play. Jim Cordle was to his left, Henry Hynsoki to his right. They absorbed the rush of 49ers coverage players for the most part but Austin, who is listed at 6-2 and 312 pounds, ran up and crushed Gooden, bowling him over backwards. Wilson breezed right past him, nearly tripping over the tangle of limbs that Austin had converted Gooden into.
“The one thing that Coach Quinn told me and I had to work on was: ‘Just don’t stop your feet. Whatever you do, don’t stop your feet,’” Austin said. “I’m a big, fast, violent dude, so when I saw him, it was either me or him and I just ran through him. I saw him, he saw me, and I just drove his back to the ground.”