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Brian Daboll took moment to ‘appreciate’ Giants’ playoff berth

Not long after the Giants clinched their first playoff berth in six years, first-year head coach Brian Daboll said he looked forward to going home, relaxing and celebrating at home with his family and lighting up a cigar. 

It did not transpire exactly like that. 

“Had a couple of them,’’ Daboll said on Monday. 

With a night to reflect, Daboll said achieving one of the goals established for the team at the start of the season is something that should be appreciated. 

“You get to play another game,’’ he said. “You’re only guaranteed, obviously, 17 of these things now. So, it takes a lot of work to get to this point — a lot of work. It takes a lot of execution. It’s extremely hard to get one of these spots, so I think that you should appreciate it. We appreciated it [Sunday] night, and then you’ve got to get back to work. Once that time hits, it’s, again, a one-and-done season. 

“But probably the most gratifying is just to see these players have their smiling faces after a game and realized that they accomplished one of the goals — to make the postseason. I’m happy for those guys.’’ 

Brian Daboll walks off the field following the Giants' win over the Colts on Jan. 1.
Brian Daboll walks off the field following the Giants’ win over the Colts on Jan. 1.
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It was a bigger deal in the days leading up to the game than it turned out to be in the game itself. Yes, Azeez Ojulari was in uniform and able to play against the Colts, one week after coming out of the loss to the Vikings with a sprained ankle. Ojulari did not start against the Colts, with Jihad Ward taking his place up on the defensive line as an outside linebacker. As a matter of fact, Ojulari hardly played. He took the field on the first defensive series on the first obvious passing situation for the Colts. There was no real rotation, though, as Ojulari played only seven snaps. Moving forward, it remains to be seen if this was all precautionary — the Giants did not need him in the rout — or if Ojulari felt enough discomfort to limit his playing time. 

The rotation at left guard continues and it was virtually an even split in this game, with Nick Gates starting and playing 37 of the 63 offensive snaps and Ben Bredeson rotating in for 36 snaps. … How rare was this rout for the Giants? Their 28-point margin of victory was their largest in more than eight years, since Dec. 7, 2014, when they whipped the Titans 36-7 in Nashville. Before this game, the Giants’ largest margin of victory this season was eight points, which they accomplished three times. 

Xavier McKinney played 83 percent of snaps (48) on defense in his first game off the non-football injury list recovering from the bye-week accident that left him with three fractured fingers on his left hand. He had seven tackles, misplayed a ball in the air that resulted in a 49-yard reception for Parris Campbell and did not hold onto what should have been an interception. McKinney after his first action since Oct. 30 told The Post “I’m tired as hell’’ but he said it with a smile. 

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