Giants dreaming of Tom Brady sacks and slaying Patriots

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Once upon a time, it was Michael Strahan, and it was Osi Umenyiora, and it was Justin Tuck.

Now it is them.

It is Dexter Lawrence, it is B.J. Hill, it is Oshane Ximines, it is RJ McIntosh.

These young Giants were mere tots when Tom Brady won the first of his six Super Bowls. They are grown men now, trying to make their mark in the NFL, never imagining that Brady would still be playing quarterback and still winning games for Bill Belichick in 2019, at age 42.

The Giants respect Brady but they do not fear him, and even with Daniel Jones making just his fourth start of his career on Thursday night against the league’s best defense, even without Saquon Barkley, Sterling Shepard and Evan Engram, they somehow refuse to view themselves as 17-point underdogs.

It was the message delivered early by coach Pat Shurmur.

“He thinks we have a chance to win. We all think we have a chance to win,” one Giant said.

How do you know he thinks you have a chance to win?

“Because he said he believes we could win,” he said.

It would take the perfect game, and part of that perfect game involves making a forever memory: sacking Tom Brady.

“I mean, every sack means a lot to me,” Ximines said, “but that’s the GOAT right there, and I respect him as a player and everything he’s done for this game, it’s amazing, and I’m excited to go against him.”

McIntosh, whose rookie season was sabotaged by a thyroid condition, registered his first sack Sunday against Kirk Cousins. He has dreamed about sacking Brady.

“That would be crazy because of who he is. … I knew we were gonna play him this year,” McIntosh said. “It would just be amazing, man.”

McIntosh was 5 years old when Brady and the Patriots shocked the Rams in Super Bowl 36. But he was old enough to remember Eli Manning’s great escape and Hail David Tyree in the Super Bowl 42 upset of the Perfect Patriots.

“The helmet catch,” McIntosh said.

Tyree last played in 2009 for the Ravens. He is currently the Giants’ director of player development.

“He’s been out of the league for a while, then Tom Brady’s still here. It’s crazy, man,” McIntosh said.

Brady (10 touchdowns and two interceptions this season) remains a relentless winner without tight end Rob Gronkowski.

“I just saw it on social media the other day, I don’t know if it was a handoff or something, but he was lead blocking down the field,” Ximines said. “To see Tom Brady, like the GOAT, trying to lead block for a running play, it said a lot to me, I didn’t expect to see that.

“But there’s numerous plays and just things that he’s done … like, what hasn’t he done? I have a lot of respect for him, everyone does, so I’m just excited.”

Ximines has two sacks so far in his rookie season. Hill had 5.5 as a rookie last season and would be thrilled if Brady was his first 2019 sack.

“It’d be pretty cool, he’s one of the best quarterbacks to ever play the game, so I can have that in my book, that I sacked one of the best quarterbacks,” Hill said.

It won’t be easy. It never is against Brady.

“He’s gonna get the ball off quick,” Ximines said. “He’s gonna make plays, but basically we just gotta figure out a way to get him off the spot, get him to move his feet to make him feel a little bit more uncomfortable and just get hits on him when we can, and also when we can’t get there, get our hands up.”

Lawrence, the pocket pushing mountain man in the middle of the defensive line, has two sacks in his rookie season. Brady would be a welcome third.

“That’s everybody’s dream, just to get to touch him,” Lawrence said. “He gets the ball off so fast.”

At the very least, these impressionable, irrepressible young Giants know Brady can be beaten because they know that the Mann who will be aiding and abetting Jones will be standing on their sideline.

“Hey,” Hill said, “we have somebody in here (who) beat ’em when they haven’t lost a game all season in the Super Bowl. So anything’s possible, right?”

Might want to cue Strahan near the end of Super Bowl 42: Believe it, and it will happen.

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