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‘Elite’ Daniel Jones leads the Giants to their first playoff victory since 2011.

MINNEAPOLIS — Let the Eagles play. Daniel Jones is on the Giants’ roster.

Jones threw for 301 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 78 yards, a franchise record. Saquon Barkley scored two goals.

And the Giants’ defence got a last-second stop on Kirk Cousins and the NFL’s comeback kids to defeat the Minnesota Vikings, 31-24, at U.S. Bank Stadium on Sunday.

“I know we have an elite quarterback in Jones,” Barkley said. “He’s proven it numerous times. We also have some fantastic players surrounding him. We will always have his back.”

The Giants’ victory on Sunday, in their first playoff game since 2016, was their first postseason victory since their Super Bowl season under Tom Coughlin in 2011.

As the clock struck zero, rookie coach Brian Daboll looked to the sky and admitted he was reminded of his late grandparents, Ruth and Chris Kirsten of West Seneca, N.Y., who raised him.

“Private moment I don’t want to discuss,” Daboll said, his eyes welling up. “I don’t want to talk about it because it will make me cry.”

After destroying the 3-seed Vikings, Daboll and the 6-seed Giants will face the top-seeded Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC divisional round next Saturday.

This season, they are 0-2 against their NFC East rival, falling 48-22 at home in Week 14 on Dec. 11 and 22-16 at Lincoln Financial Field in Week 18 on Jan. 8 with mostly backups playing against Philly’s starters.

The Giants, on the other hand, have Jones and believe they have a chance.

According to NFL Research, he is the first quarterback in NFL postseason history to have 300-plus passing yards, 2-plus passing touchdowns, and 70-plus rushing yards in a playoff game.

“I think he takes off on the first series there, makes a play with his legs and doesn’t slide, kind of runs through the guy,” centre Jon Feliciano said. “It’s difficult when you’ve got a quarterback who can do that and then dart it.”

Jones downplayed the focus on him and what Sunday’s victory might mean in the great debate over his career and future.

“I’m not really focused on that,” he admitted. “Trying to play as well as I can, and we’re all trying to do that. We have a special group, a special team, and that is what it is all about. I’m just trying to win games by playing as well as I can.”

Rookie safety Dane Belton and rookie corner Cor’Dale Flott made some of the biggest late defensive plays for Daboll’s team all year, before safety Xavier McKinney made the game-winning tackle on tight end T.J. Hockenson with 1:44 remaining.

“What’s crazy is Wink said we expect our great players to play great, and then he said, that’s all of you guys,” veteran corner Adoree Jackson said after holding star Vikings wideout Justin Jefferson to seven catches for 47 yards. “And that shows how much faith he has in us. And it helps a lot when someone believes in you even if you believe in yourself. It allows us to go out there and play fast and free.”

Minnesota received assistance from a ridiculous roughing the passer call on Dexter Lawrence to start the potential game-tying drive, but the defence didn’t blink.

Belton collided with Dalvin Cook. Flott intercepted a pass intended for K.J. Osborn. On fourth down, McKinney stopped T.J. Hockenson short of the sticks.

The Giants attempted to end the game with their offence leading by seven points. However, a wide-open Darius Slayton drop on 3rd and 16 with 3:03 remaining forced them to punt the ball back.

Again, this season is unique. Darnay Holmes and Kayvon Thibodeaux also made crucial late plays for the defence.

“Today it could have been me, but next week it will be — hopefully not me again! — but it will be something. “It’s football,” said Slayton. “Every week, someone will do something that hinders the team’s ability to win. But, in the end, that’s why it’s a team sport. The defence went out and made the stop. It demonstrates the team’s strength.”

However, it was the Giants’ offence that wowed Sunday’s national audience.

With the game tied at 24, Jones led a 12-play, 75-yard drive that culminated in Barkley’s second touchdown of the game, a hard-nosed run up the gut from 2 yards out. With 7:47 left in the game, the Giants led 31-24.

A 19-yard completion to Isaiah Hodgins, a 10-yard swing pass to Barkley with Kenny Golladay burying Vikings corner Duke Shelley into the turf on a block, and a 2-yard Jones run on 4th and 1 from the Vikings’ 7 were the key plays.

To get the Giants within two yards of the goal line, Hodgins drew a defensive holding call on Patrick Peterson. The former Giant then carried Vikings DT Dalvin Tomlinson into the end zone for the score.

“That was huge,” Jones said of Barkley’s second touchdown. “That was a strong run from him. It was one of those situations where he would not be denied. That was evident almost immediately before the ball was snapped. We had an expectation and just happened to see it. He did an excellent job there.”

Jones and the Giants offence scored three touchdowns in their first five possessions to take a 24-14 lead with 11:37 remaining in the third quarter. Jones connected with Barkley (24) and Isaiah (32) for big gains, setting up a 9-yard touchdown pass to tight end Daniel Bellinger.

Cousins and the Vikings immediately responded with a 75-yard touchdown drive of their own, capped by a 3-yard Cousins TD pass to tight end Irv Smith. Julian Love nearly intercepted Cousins on a pass intended for Jefferson that McKinney broke up, but replay showed it hit the ground.

With about 4 and a half minutes left in the third quarter, Jamie Gillan’s first punt of the game nearly resulted in the game’s first turnover. Nick McCloud of the Giants jarred the ball away from Vikings return man Jalen Reagor.

Kris Boyd of Minnesota, on the other hand, recovered. With 12:34 left in the fourth quarter, the Vikings drove for a 38-yard Greg Joseph field goal to tie the game at 24.

Because the Giants offence was virtually unstoppable, O’Connell’s Vikings needed to keep scoring.

Jones started hot, leading the Giants to touchdowns on their first two drives, putting them up 17-14 at halftime.

The Giants’ offensive stats through two drives were absurd: nine plays, seven first downs, 166 yards (100 passing, 66 rushing), 18.4 yards per play, two touchdowns, 14 points, and one penalty.

Barkley scored the first touchdown on an untouched run of 28 yards, thanks to great blocks from left tackle Andrew Thomas, Hodgins, and Feliciano. That touchdown provided an important response to Minnesota’s game-opening touchdown drive, which was capped by a 1-yard run by Cousins. On the second drive, Hodgins caught a 14-yard pass from Hodgins.

With the defence settling down, the Giants increased their lead to 17-7 with 3:25 left in the first half on a 25-yard Graham Gano field goal, capping off their longest drive (in terms of time) of the season: 20 plays, 85 yards, 10 minutes, 52 seconds.

Cousins tore up the Giants defence for a 75-yard drive capped by a 9-yard touchdown pass to wideout K.J. Osborn with 45 seconds left in the half to pull the team within three points.

Even after losing 27-24 in the same building on Christmas Eve, the Giants’ faith never wavered.

That was a difficult week. It had included a shooting at the Mall of America the night before the game, which had put the Giants and the Mall on lockdown.

“I mean, we had three turnovers, we dealt with the shooting, and then he hit the game-winning 61-yard field goal,” Feliciano said. “We were fairly certain.”

Jones admitted that there were “definitely some nerves” before the game on Sunday, but that “once we settled in and started playing, it felt the same.”

But nothing feels the same about the Giants anymore. Jones is responsible for this.

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