Giants’ 2nd-year pass-rusher on pace for elite numbers this season

New York Giants linebacker Kayvon Thibodeaux (5) warms up before the game against the Carolina Panthers at MetLife Stadium
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants’ defense has turned on the heat in recent weeks. In their most recent game, the unit totaled six sacks en route to a 14–7 win over the Washington Commanders to improve their record to 2-5 on the season.

Leading the team with 1.5 sacks in the contest was Kayvon Thibodeaux. The second-year pass-rusher is playing at a high level following a slow start to the season and is currently on pace to post elite numbers this season.

Kayvon Thibodeaux turns in an elite performance against the Commanders

Thibodeaux totaled a team-high 1.5 sacks against the Commanders to go along with four combined tackles, one tackle for loss, and two quarterback hits. He was second to only Dexter Lawrence in pressures, totaling five against Washington.

According to Pro Football Focus, Thibodeaux recorded five pressures in the game, his second-highest single-game total of the season. Last year’s fifth-overall draft pick has seen major strides in his game over the past few weeks.

So far this season, Thibodeaux has posted six sacks, 16 combined tackles, five tackles for loss, and 21 pressures. In his last four games, the Oregon product has recorded 4.5 sacks.

His season totals so far put Thibodeaux on pace for 14.5 sacks and 51 pressures when stretched out across a full 17-game season.

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Last season, Thibodeaux recorded just four sacks along with an impressive tally of 45 pressures. He has already blown his sack total out of the water and is on pace to surpass his pressure total from last season, too.

The Giants’ pass rush is improving

A number of key defenders have improved their play in recent weeks. Defensive coordinator Wink Martindale has propelled his unit to reach a new level while playing with a “nasty mentality” for the past few games. Thibodeaux is leading the charge as the team’s sack leader, but the pass rush has generally improved across the board.

After failing to record a sack through the first two weeks of the season, New York has amassed 11 sacks in their last five games.

The improved pass rush has also led to an increase in turnovers forced. The Giants failed to force a turnover through their first four games. But in their last three games, Big Blue has forced six turnovers; a key statistic that has contributed to the team’s improved play in recent weeks.

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