Wink Martindale ‘on top of the world’ after Giants top Ravens

Wink Martindale’s day started with his arms around his old boss and ended with his hand in the air after his new boss told him to break off the harmony in the winning locker room.

Even if Martindale’s surprise split from the Ravens in January after 10 years wasn’t bitter – as all the stories suggest – there was an undeniable sense of accomplishment being one of the big difference-makers when the Giants defeated his former team, 24-20. , at the MetLife stadium.

“Family on three!” Martindale said, according to Dexter Lawrence’s defensive equipment. “He didn’t make it about him. He knows it’s a players game. He calls it and we play for him.”

Martindale and Ravens head coach John Harbaugh hugged on the field during pre-game warmups, a warm moment between two men who consider each other brothers but who split their working relationship when Martindale was replaced after four seasons as defensive coordinator of Ravens. But then it was time to match wits, and Martindale’s group of unknown Giants defenders forced two turnovers in the last six minutes to enable a ten-point comeback in the fourth quarter.

ravenWink Martaindale talks to John Harbaugh ahead of the Giants’ win over the Ravens on Sunday. Noah K. Murray

“He was on top of the world,” said safety Julian Love. “You would be kidding yourself if you don’t want to beat your former team in any way. I know he did a great job of not imposing that on us, of not making this game bigger than it was, but it definitely means a little bit more to him. He had an extra chip on his shoulder. He was all smiles after the game.”

Giants head coach Brian Daboll gave cues to all three coordinators last week after a win over the Packers, so Sunday he just called Martindale for the final message. As he made his way to the stadium exit, Martindale sounded relieved that his week as a central storyline was over and he could contemplate Love’s interception, with Kayvon Thibodeaux’s forced fumbles and turnovers contagious.

“Play the next part and eventually you’ll break through,” Martindale said, “and that’s what we did there at the end.”

Just a week ago, the Ravens fell behind the Bengals with 1:58 to go, but Lamar Jackson calmly put the charge in position for the winning field goal. Jackson needed a touchdown after the Giants took the lead with 1:43 to go, but Jackson never got into a rhythm as the pressure-heavy Martindale kept his foot on the gas instead of settling into a defensive defense.

giantsGiants defensive end Leonard Williams (99) recovers fumble from Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson.Bill Kostroun

“We like to have that pressure on us to play that last time,” said safety Xavier McKinney. “We’re trying to win for everyone in this locker room – all the coaches, all the staff, all the players.”

The Giants allowed 406 yards, but forced field goals on two of three trips into the red zone, posting their first interception of the season at the most opportune moment to set up the winning touchdown. Martindale’s package made for defending the unique dual-threat Jackson included a third-down look with three defenders in a line above center that confused the quarterback to fall for a 6-yard loss.

“Wink cares about winning and Wink wanted to win this game, but it never went deeper than us as a team, us as players,” said Thibodeaux. “Wink just made sure he prepared us the best he could, and we went out and executed.”

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