The New York Giants moved closer to contention in the NFC East on Sunday with a 27-13 victory over the Green Bay Packers. The Giants' fourth straight victory put their record at 4-6. The Philadelphia Eagles held off the Washington Redskins, 24-16, Sunday and lead the division with a 6-5 record.
"Every game is so precious right now," head coach Tom Coughlin said. "We're just excited to have a little bit of momentum."
Jason Pierre-Paul made the game's critical play, intercepting a Scott Tolzien pass for Andrew Quarless and returning it 24 yards for a touchdown to put the Giants ahead 27-13 with 10:49 to play. Pierre-Paul simply reached up and snatched what looked like it was intended to be a short out, and ran unimpeded into the end zone.
Fellow defensive end Justin Tuck said he was "in awe" of the play made by Pierre-Paul.
"I've never seen anything like that in my life," Tuck said.
Pierre-Paul said he knew exactly what Green Bay was going to do on the play.
"Honestly, I called it before it even happened, in the huddle, and sure enough that was the play," Pierre-Paul said. "I read the formation, the tight end, how he was set, and I caught the ball."
Pierre-Paul also had an interception return for a touchdown last season against the Dallas Cowboys.
The Giants also made two critical defensive stops in the third quarter. Jon Beason intercepted a Tolzien pass after Green Bay had driven to the Giants' 49. Spencer Paysinger stopped M.D. Jennings a yard short of a first down at the Giants' 37 on a fake punt. That came after a running into the punter penalty on Louis Murphy.
"It came down to inches, but fortunately the inches were on our side of the ball," Paysinger said of the stop on the fake punt.
The Giants took advantage of Beason's interception by driving for a 28-yard field goal by Josh Brown, his second of the game to make the score 13-6. They took advantage of Paysinger's play on their next possession, driving 63 yards in 10 plays for a 1-yard touchdown run by Brandon Jacobs. That put them up 20-6 with 25 seconds left in the third quarter.
The Packers got back in the game when Eddie Lacy bulled his way for a 4-yard touchdown run with 12:43 left, making it 20-13. That capped a 5-play, 83-yard drive highlighted by a 52-yard pass from Scott Tolzien to Jarrett Boykin.
The Giants led, 10-6, at the half. Eli Manning hit Rueben Randle for a 26-yard touchdown and Brown hit a 40-yard field goal to give the Giants a 10-0 lead. The Packers got a pair of field goals from Mason Crosby, including a 57-yarder on the final play of the half, to close within 10-6. That was the second-longest field goal in Packers' history.
The Giants held Lacy to 27 yards rushing on 14 carries. Tolzien completed 24-of-34 passes for 339 yards, but was intercepted three times.
Manning completed 25-of-35 for 279 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Victor Cruz caught eight passes for 110 yards. Andre Brown ran 18 times for 66 yards.
"Well, we are getting there, we are getting towards it," Coughlin said. "Anytime you win four in a row, there are some good things happening. There are some things that as a coach I would like to clean up, but we're happy to be in the position we are in and we'll be back in the division this weekend."
[Related: First-half summary]
Play of the Game: Pierre-Paul's interception and 24-yard touchdown return pretty much iced this victory for the Giants.
Next Week: The Giants face the Dallas Cowboys in a huge divisional game. The Cowboys (3-0) and Eagles (3-2) both have better divisional records than the Giants (1-2). The Cowboys have a victory over the Giants already this season, while the Giants and Eagles split two games.
Boxscore Hero: Manning completed 25-of-35 passes for 279 yards with a touchdown and an interception.
Did They Cover?: The Giants were 4-point favorites per Bovada at kickoff. So, yes.
Note of Interest: Crosby's 57-yard field goal for the Packers is the longest ever kicked against the Giants, and the longest ever kicked at MetLife Stadium.