Tuesday, October 21, 2008
October 19, 2008
Michael Johnson (20) celebrates his second quarter interception with teammate Chase Blackburn.
Before Sunday's 29-17 win over San Francisco, second-year safety Michael Johnson had no career interceptions. Then, in the span of three minutes, he snared two.
"Turnovers are everything," Johnson said after the game.
They were certainly a large factor in the Giants' victory over the 49ers. But through the first five games of the season, the defense had only tallied two takeaways. With Johnson's pair of interceptions -- and defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka's third-quarter fumble recovery -- that number more than doubled.
Johnson first picked off San Francisco quarterback J.T. O'Sullivan with just over three minutes remaining in the second quarter, running it back 18 yards to the San Francisco 9-yard line to set up John Carney's 21-yard field goal.
He then ended San Francisco's next possession right before the half by staying inside 49ers receiver Arnaz Battle and intercepting O'Sullivan's pass in the end zone.
"He threw the ball right to me," Johnson said of O'Sullivan. "It stuck out like a gift."
The second interception thwarted San Francisco's attempt to tie the score heading into the half (they entered the break trailing 17-10). But his secondary teammates were most impressed with the way Johnson played the pass, turning along with the receiver at the right time to make the play.
"It's very tough," safety James Butler said of the play. "It shows you how good of an athlete Michael Johnson is."