On Sunday afternoon, New York Giants cornerback Janoris Jenkins put to rest any questions about his efforts this season.
Dogged all month by questions about his effort and commitment, Jenkins silenced his critics with one of the biggest plays of the Giants’ 12-9 upset of the Kansas City Chiefs. The defender affectionately referred to as “Jackrabbit” registered a huge interception of Alex Smith in Kansas City territory that allowed the Giants to take a late 9-6 lead in the dying minutes of the fourth quarter.
“It’s football. We just came out and played good in all three phases of the game,” Jenkins said of his crucial interception. “I feel like we played together as a team and we just got to keep moving.”
Jenkins appeared to have another interception to seal the deal on the next possession, but was called for defensive pass interference. Kansas City went on to move the ball deep into the Giants’ territory, but were forced to settle for a short Harrison Butker field goal to force overtime.
“I know I had it,” Jenkins said. “The ref called a pass interference, so you got to live with it, continue to play football.”
November has been a bizarre month for Jenkins, who joined the Giants on a five-year, $62.5 million deal last season. He was mysteriously suspended prior to the team’s November 5 showdown against the Los Angeles Rams, with whom Jenkins had spent the first four seasons of his career, and it was later revealed he was late reporting back to the team following their bye week.
When Jenkins returned to action against the San Francisco 49ers on November 12, his effort was questioned, leading to an unusual media session where Jenkins claimed his critics ” don’t know football, so they don’t understand”.
Sunday, however, brought back memories of Jenkins’s glorious 2016 season, which was rewarded with his first ever Pro Bowl appearance. He ended the day with five tackles and helped shut down Kansas City’s numerous offensive weapons. His efforts were noticed by his fellow men in blue.
“I thought Janoris Jenkins played his tail off,” Head coach Ben McAdoo said. “He was all over the field, did a good job turning the ball back inside a few times, was playing physical. It was good to see him do that.”
“That’s one person we’re definitely not worried about in the locker room because he’s a competitor and we know as long as he’s out there on that field we’ve got a great chance to win,” cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie added. “So he definitely responded well and I mean that’s what we get out of him all the time, so we’re not worried about him.”
Jenkins’s interception was one of three on the day for the Giants. Defensive tackle Damon Harrison picked up the first of his career on a Smith shovel pass, while Landon Collins had one in the fourth quarter, stifling a Travis Kelce trick play.