In the NFL, the importance of special teams is often overlooked. One of the things we've learned this postseason, however, is that hustle on special teams can be the difference in a team's season.
The Giants were alert on special teams all night, and that turned out to be the difference in this game.
With just under 10 minutes to play in OT, the Giants lined up to punt on their own 44-yard line. Due to pure hustle and awareness, 4th-and-13 quickly turned into 1st-and-10. Weatherford's punt was fielded at the San Fran 19-yard line by back up PR Kyle Williams. After advancing five yards, Jacquian Williams came up from behind and stripped the ball. An alert Devin Thomas soared in for the recovery, his second of the night, and put the Giants in position to win the game.
One extra effort play made Devin Thomas a household name for every Giants fan. This is a perfect example of how the smallest plays can change seasons.
Lawrence Tynes then sealed the deal with a game-winning 31-yard field goal, sending the Giants to Super Bowl XLVI. Tynes, who has had his struggles this season, is now confident and ready to step up whenever needed.
I can honestly assure you that all Niners fans genuinely missed punt returner Ted Ginn Jr., who was out for the season due to injury.