Giants’ Sudden Rise Stems From the “Hog Molly”

The Giants have reached respectability and legitimacy without Saquon Barkley, And without Daniel Jones Sunday for that matter.

They have done it with what GM Dave Gettleman’s notion has been all along –win it with the lines.

He certainly deserves a pat on the back from owner John Mara on this one, and his “batting average” certainly has risen.

Off the field, these are Gettleman’s Giants, while on the field they are head coach Joe Judge’s.

They have been truly reflective of Judge’s hard-nose, no-nonsense, and blue-collar work ethic.

These Giants have raised the bar piramily with the progression of their offensive and defensive lines. Remember Gettleman’s “Hog Mollies.”

Both lines took over play in their 17-12 stunning victory over the first-place Seattle Seahawks at Lumen Filed.

Uh huh..let’s not forget to mention the NFC East first-place Giants.

It’s been a surreal run that has all the trimmings of vintage Giant’s teams under Bill Parcells and Tom Coughlin.

Yes, for their fourth consecutive victory (5-7) , the defense dominated overall, but the line play of Leonard Williams –particularly him – Dexter Lawrence, and Dalvin Tomlinson has been rising. Former Raider and 31-year-old journeyman Jabaal Sheard has made an impact the past few weeks.

Williams’ sack in the final minutes gave Seattle’s Russell Wilson only a last play, Hail Mary attempt that was batted away by James Bradberry. The former Jet is looking more and more like a Pro Bowler with 2.5 sacks Sunday and 8.5 overall, his overall total placing him sixth tied for sixth in the league.

Even though the Giants’ defense has been fueled by the linebacking core — Blake Martinez is second in the league in tackles — the front line has helped generate 32 sacks, placing them 10th in the league.

Sheard, rookie Niko Lalas, and third-year player RJ McIntosh have found a home in an effective and productive rotation.

On the other side of the ball, utilityman Nick Gates has been a major player.

During the summer, the Giants were convinced Gates deserved a spot up front after he was effective at all three positions the previous year. They were uncertain at center and had Gates splitting reps with Spencer Pulley and brought back Jon Halapoi on a one-year deal.

Gates won the job and it would be his first full time gig in the middle. He had support with veterans Will Hernandez at guard, but there were questions with veteran backup Cameron Fleming and rookie Andrew Thomas at tackle.

The line did have some rough patches in the opening weeks, but they began to jell as a unit and have been one of the league’s most consistent units in recent weeks. Thomas was benched for an ineffective period, and rookie Matt Peart filled in admirably. Fellow rookie guard Shane Lemieux also has been impressive, and Judge has enjoyed the flexibility in his newly founded rotation.

They’ll have to dig into the trenches a little deeper over the next few weeks to land in the postseason.

Whether they do or not, they are legitimate and respectable.

And it all began with someone referred to as a “Hog Molly.”

Photo by Ian Johnson/Icon Sportswire

About the Author

Jeff Moeller

Jeff Moeller has been covering the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL and college football and basketball as well as high school sports on a national and local scene for the past 39 years. He has been a Jets and Giants beat reporter for the past 13 years.

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