|(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)|
Jason Pierre-Paul had his best game for the Giants this season. He became the first player in
NFL history to record a sack, forced fumble, and blocked field goal in the same game.
The New York Giants got a much needed win on the road Sunday night, when they defeated the Dallas Cowboys after blocking a potential game-tying field goal. Dallas' kicker, Dan Bailey, made his first field goal attempt, but Giants' coach Tom Coughlin called a timeout to ice Bailey, who had a similar result last week vs. Arizona. The second time around, Bailey's attempt was unsuccessful when Giants defensive end, Jason Pierre-Paul, came charging up the middle to block the kick, winning the game for the Giants.
This was not Pierre-Paul's only highlight of the night. The second year defensive end also had a pair of sacks, including a safety on Tony Romo, and a forced fumble. With many injuries to the defense this season, JPP has stepped up and has been a leader on defense this season. He became the first player in NFL history to record a sack, forced fumble, and blocked field goal in the same game
Here is Pierre-Paul's game winning block Sunday night: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=szQLdGAV5nc
With regular starters, Osi Umenyiora and Justin Tuck, out extended periods of time this season, Pierre-Paul has filed their roles perfectly in their absence. His 12.5 sacks this season are fifth best in the NFL, and his six pass deflections are fourth best among defensive linemen.
The great thing about Pierre-Paul though, is that he is not even close to reaching his potential. In high school, JPP didn't play football until his senior year. He actually focused on basketball for much of his youth, but a serious leg injury made him focus solely on football.
Pierre-Paul started off his collegiate career at College of the Canyons, a community college in Calfiornia. In his freshman year, he accumulated 14 sacks, and earned All-American honors. He then moved on to Fort Scott Community College in Kansas where he was an All-American again. Finally, Pierre-Paul made it Division I football his junior year, playing for the University of South Florida. At South Florida, Pierre-Paul excelled and was named First team All Big East, as well as First-team All-America.
He decided to forgo his senior year, and enter the 2010 NFL draft, where he was drafted in the first round by the New York Giants. Many NFL analysts said it was a risky pick, due to the fact that Pierre-Paul only played one year of Division I football, and that he was simply an incredible athlete, not a football player.
Pierre-Paul has proved these analyst wrong again and again this season. He is among the best pass rushers in the NFL, and also won NFC Defensive Player of the Week.
You want to know just how good Pierre-Paul is?
In Michael Strahan's first two seasons he combined for 5.5 sacks. Not even done with his second season, Pierre-Paul already has 17. It took Strahan, who is the all-time sacks leader in Giants history, four years to reach 17 sacks. Lawrence Taylor, arguably the greatest pass rusher of all time, had only 7.5 sacks through two years. He didn't reach 17 sacks until the end of his third year.
Pierre-Paul has the height, strength, athleticism, and speed to chase down not only quarterbacks, but running backs too. He made a pivotal play in the game, when he chased down running back Felix Jones, and barely forced him out of bounds when the clock was running against Dallas. If it were any other defensive end, Jones would have had at least a first down, maybe more.
If JPP can continue to improve at his current rate, the sky is the limit. Pierre-Paul has a bright future ahead, and should play in multiple Pro Bowls throughout his career.