2015 NFL Playoffs: New York Giants Playoff Record Broken By Carolina Panthers


While the New York Giants may not be participating in the 2015 NFL Playoffs, they were talked about highly during Wildcard Weekend. Not the 2014 version of the Giants, but the 1958 squad. They were being talked about because their NFL playoff record for least amount of yards in a postseason game allowed, 86 to be exact, was broken in the game between the Arizona Cardinals and Carolina Panthers.

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Taking a trip down memory lane, the game between the Cleveland Browns and Giants in 1958 wasn’t exactly a slobber knocker offensively. There were eight turnovers in the game, four by each team; the Browns threw three interceptions and lost a fumble, while the Giants threw two interceptions, fumbled six times and lost two. It was a drag’em out, defensive minded game judging by the box score, as all the points were scored in the first half.

What stands out from the passing game is that there were four quarterbacks to play in the game, and none of them played particularly well. There was only 18 completed passes between the two teams the whole game, as Milt Plum and Charlie Conerly went 7-12 and 7-11 respectively for the Browns and Giants, while Jim Ninowski and Don Heinrich combined to complete 4-22 on the afternoon. The leading passer was Plum, who threw for only 83 yards and two interceptions.

Jan 3, 2015; Charlotte, NC, USA; Carolina Panthers defensive end Charles Johnson (95) sacks Arizona Cardinals quarterback Ryan Lindley (14) during the fourth quarter in the 2014 NFC Wild Card playoff football game at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Ryan Lindley, the quarterback for the Cardinals Saturday, would have fit right in with the 1958 game. The fourth-string quarterback had a horrible showing, completing 16-28 for 82 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. He also absorbed four sacks in the process, as he looked lost in the pocket all afternoon, much like he did once he was signed off the San Diego Chargers practice squad following injuries to Carson Palmer and Drew Stanton.

The Cardinals did have rookie Logan Thomas also around, but was benched even before he took the field, as his performance in practice didn’t impress head coach Bruce Arians. It must have been a poor practice of epic proportions as Lindley has shown time and time again that he is not an NFL-level starting quarterback, let alone a viable backup.

Unlike the quarterback quartet from 1958, Lindley didn’t have the privilege of having a Hall of Fame running back sharing the backfield with him. The Giants may have ran an offense that would make the likes of Peyton Manning and Drew Brees cringe, as they handed the ball off 53 times for 211 yards.

But when your rushing attack is led by Hall of Famer Frank Gifford, who ran for 95 yards on 23 carries, that is what you do. For the Browns, they had none other than the great Jim Brown in their backfield. The Hall Of Famer struggled in this one though, gaining only eight yards on seven carries. That number becomes even more mystifying when you see that he had a long of 20 yards in the game.

Lindley didn’t have that luxury, as he was handing the ball off to running backs barely as qualified as he was to be playing in an NFL game as a starter, let alone a playoff game. 2014 seventh round pick Kerwynn Williams led the way with 23 yards on 10 carries. 2013 fifth round pick Stefan Taylor managed only three yards on three carries. 2014 sixth round pick Marion Grice, who doesn’t even have a picture on his player profile on ESPN, received only one carry, but made the most of it by punching it into the end zone. Undrafted Robert Hughes was given a carry as well, but didn’t gain a yard. That is the type of production you will get when your workhorse lead back Andre Ellington goes down with an injury.

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While the players are bigger, more physical specimens now, and the televisions nowadays couldn’t even be imagined by people who took in the Browns vs. Giants game in 1958, the play on the field was taken right out of that time period. If you had turned your television black and white, you wouldn’t have known this was a game from 2014 other than the changes in jerseys and equipment. The performance by the Ryan Lindley-led Arizona Cardinals offense gaining only 78 yards will live on in infamy, as it could easily be another 57 years before we see a performance as poor as that one.

*All stats for the Cleveland Browns vs. New York Giants 1958 Divisional Playoff Game courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference. All stats for the Arizona Cardinals vs. Carolina Panthers 2015 Wild Card Game courtesy of ESPN.com

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