The Giants rolled over the Colts in Week 17, winning 38-10 to clinch a playoff spot. One of New York's defining early plays, however, came with some controversy. After sacking quarterback Nick Foles to end an Indianapolis drive in the final minute of the second quarter, Giants rookie Kayvon Thibodeaux celebrated while lying on the ground next to Foles, pretending to make snow angels while Foles writhed in pain with a rib injury. Moments later, after Foles was carted off, Thibodeaux was seen celebrating again, this time mimicking Foles "going to sleep."
Kayvon Thibodeaux doing snow angels next to an injured Nick Foles might be the wildest thing you see today 😳 pic.twitter.com/eU6HJwXm4e— Complex Sports (@ComplexSports) January 1, 2023
Here's a look at Thibodeaux's second celebration:
Kayvan Thibodeaux doing the “go to sleep” celebration while Nick Foles is getting checked for injury pic.twitter.com/8u28zGBj7n— Gifdsports (@gifdsports) January 1, 2023
Initially ruled questionable to return, Foles was ruled out for the remainder of Sunday's contest during halftime. The veteran QB (8-13, 81 yards, 1 INT before exiting) was making his second start for the Colts after replacing Matt Ryan a week earlier. Second-year backup Sam Ehlinger, who made two starts in place of Ryan earlier this season, took over for Indy under center, and is now slated to start Week 18 against the Texans, with Ryan serving as the No. 2.
Thibodeaux downplayed the ordeal after the game, denying to reporters that he celebrated while knowing Foles was hurt: "When I did realize that he was hurt, that's when we started getting up," he said. "When you're doing a celebration, you're not looking to see who's doing what. But I hope he gets well and I hope he's all right."
Colts players and coaches weren't so quick to write it off. Center Ryan Kelly, for one, didn't mince his words when addressing the incident after the game: "Hopefully [Thibodeaux's] teammates will -- maybe one day he'll learn that injuries happen in this league, [and] you never want that to happen to the guy that you're going against. That's just horseshit."
Colts interim coach Jeff Saturday was even harsher on Monday, calling Thibodeaux and his celebration "tasteless" and "trash," while lamenting the fact his own offensive linemen didn't stand up for Foles after the play.
On Wednesday, Thibodeaux responded to Saturday's comments. "I don't know who [Jeff Saturday] is. Anybody who comments on it, unless I know who they are, it doesn't really affect me," Thibodeaux said, via SNY.
Saturday, of course, is not only the head coach of the team Thobodeaux faced this week, but as a player was a four-time All Pro center for the Colts. Thibodeaux went on to say he's paid to be a savage and sack QBs, though it's unclear how that relates to celebrations like the one he performed.
Thibodeaux, drafted No. 5 overall this year, has been a key member of the Giants' defensive front, logging his third sack in five games thanks to the takedown of Foles. But his dual celebration of Sunday's sack was a curious choice, especially considering how much attention the NFL has given to player safety -- and particularly the health of QBs as it pertains to potential head injuries --- as of late.
Thibodeaux's arm clearly contacted Foles at least six different times while he lied on the ground pretending to make snow angels, suggesting the pass rusher was aware the QB was still down, and he could also be seen glancing over at Foles in between the celebratory act. He was not penalized for his actions during the game, which secured a playoff berth for New York.