After the Rams deferred, the Giants scored on their opening possession -- a field goal -- and didn't look back. Of course, despite being up at least ten points for most of the game, that didn't mean there weren't any plays that changed the course of the game.
The first one came immediately after the Josh Brown field goal.
Orleans Darkwa, Welcome To New York!
The ensuing kickoff by Josh Brown was fielded two yards deep in the end-zone by Benny Cunningham. He brought the ball out to the St. Louis 19-yard line where he was met by Orleans Darkwa.
If you weren't paying attention earlier in the season, Darkwa was an undrafted free agent signed by the Miami Dolphins. Darkwa lead the Dolphins in rushing in pre-season, but was signed to their practice squad after final cut-downs. The Giants signed Darkwa off of Miami's practice squad when Michael Cox was lost for the season with a broken leg. Darkwa has mostly been a special teamer, seeing few snaps on offense once Rashad Jennings returned from his hamstring injury. This week he made his presence felt for the New York Giants.
Getting back to where we left Cunningham meeting Darkwa -- Don't worry, they didn't go anywhere -- Darkwa made a terrific tackle to stop Cunningham. As he did that, he managed to knock the ball loose. After being tipped away from the Rams' blockers by Adrien Robinson, the loose ball was recovered by fellow rookie Nat Berhe.
Six plays after that, Eli Manning completed a nine yard pass to yet another rookie, Odell Beckham Jr, for the Giants' first touchdown of the game.
That touchdown gave the Giants a 10 point lead before the Rams even ran their first offensive play. And just to put the icing on the cake, Darkwa scored his first NFL touchdown in the second quarter.
Odell Beckham. Need I Say More?
Odell Beckham. Scooter. ODB, Spiderman ... Call him what you will, Odell Beckham has been a revelation for the New York Giants. He is a human highlight reel who makes the most amazing plays look almost mundane. He is a human highlight reel who is re-writing both Giants' and NFL record books every time he takes the field.
But more than that he is quite simply a game-breaker.
We could talk forever about Beckham's game-changing plays, but this time, I'm only going to pick one.
This was an extraordinarily chippy game, largely brought on by Beckham's rise to stardom, and the casually amazing way in which he plays the game. With his skill and exuberance, Beckham seems to have a way of worming his way under defense's skin and getting in their heads.
At the end of the first half was highlighted by a massive brawl between the two rosters. The boarder-line play was continued by the Rams in the second half, no more on display than when rookie corner E.J. Gaines was taken out of the game by his own safety, T.J. McDonald. McDonald had launched himself in an attempt to deliver a vicious hit to Beckham, however Beckham dodged the hit and Gaines took it instead.
The next play, after some considerable down-time to see to Gaines, Eli Manning hit Odell Beckham for a beautiful 80 yard touchdown.
With the success that Rueben Randle had been having, the Rams' defense was forced to respect him. The design of the route combination between Randle and Beckham left Beckham wide open deep downfield. Eli delivered the ball perfectly and Beckham's speed took care of the rest.
The route was just like you draw it up, by Randle and Beckham both, but the play itself wasn't nearly one of Beckham's most spectacular. But the shock of an 80 yard touchdown catch and run, along with the toll the Giants' running game had taken, deflated the Rams and all but ensured the Giants' win.