GLENDALE, Ariz. — Jalin Hyatt knew he was getting the ball on the first play of the second half before he even left the locker room.
In need of a spark to overcome a 20-point deficit, the Giants called for a deep post to their speedy rookie, who had zero catches through the first six quarters of his career.
The result was a 58-yard completion from Daniel Jones that will be remembered as one of the key plays of a 31-28 comeback win Sunday against the Cardinals.
“We came in here and drew some plays up and they were like, ‘We’re going to hit you on this post,’ ” Hyatt said. “I told D.J. right before we broke out of the huddle, ‘Throw it. Just throw it.’ He trusted me and threw it. I wish I scored, but great outcome.”
It was a do-over for Jones, who underthrew a potential long touchdown to Darius Slayton in the first half. Jones backed up the completion to Hyatt with a touchdown run of his own.
Jalin Hyatt #13 of the New York Giants catches a pass while being chased by Marco Wilson #20 of the Arizona Cardinals during the third quarter at State Farm Stadium on Sunday.Getty Images
“I think that changed the whole outcome of the game — that one play,” Hyatt said.
Hyatt had a drop in his NFL debut last week.
Maybe that mistake caused him to focus a little more.
“In my career, I’ve had good games and bad games,” Hyatt said. “I’ve had multiple drops in games before. One thing I learned from it was when you have that next opportunity, you have to make the most of it. Just let the last game go, even if it was the best game you ever had or the worst game you ever had.”
The Giants didn’t change the play call after seeing the coverage, even though cornerback Marco Wilson and safety K’Von Wallace both were giving Hyatt a cushion in coverage at the line of scrimmage — as if tipping their caps to his speed.
“It doesn’t matter if he’s off or on [coverage], we’re going to make plays,” Hyatt said. “I trust in my ability to get open and I trust in D.J. to throw the ball.”
Not to be overlooked was Hyatt’s 31-yard reception that he skied to make against tight coverage, jump-starting the game-tying touchdown drive.
Like the first, it was indicative of a more aggressive tone of play-calling in the second half.
Jalin Hyatt and Daniel Jones celebrate the Giants’ win on Sunday.Getty Images
“We were throwing some timely, possessive passes to try and get the ball out and into the hands of our playmakers,” head coach Brian Daboll said of the first half. “And then we just didn’t convert enough third downs. We had a chance at one earlier [to Hyatt] but just didn’t go to it.”
The Giants didn’t make that mistake twice.