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Giants' defense lights out vs. the run
The New York Giants didn't take it well that they were the worst rushing defense in the league in 2014. What a difference an offseason makes as the Giants are now an elite run stopping defense. Even though LeSean McCoy was injured, Karlos Williams proved to be a reliable backup. His 7.8 YPC entering Sunday's game was tops in the league yet only mustered a 2.2 YPC against the Giants. Pundits everywhere have been amazed at this defensive turnaround for the Giants. Here's Pat Traina of Bleacher Report:
More importantly though the Giants run defense, which has been superb so far this season, shut down the Bills’ rushing attach of Karlos Williams and Taylor, holding both to a combined 55 yards on 24 carries.
New York got big games out of defensive end Kerry Wynn, who started his second game I a row with Robert Ayers, Jr. sidelined. Wynn finished with a team-leading eight tackles, two of which went for a loss.
The Bills were the league’s No. 1 rushing team. Not any longer after they were stopped in their tracks for 55 yards — just 40 for a 2.2-yard average for Karlos Williams. Devon Kennard interception and Prince Amukamara forcing and recovering a fumble with sheer muscle were above-and-beyond plays. Outstanding performance from understated DE Kerry Wynn. Tyrod Taylor throwing to TE Charles Clay was only threatening combo. Fourth-quarter goal-line stand was product of group over self.
This defense came up huge when it mattered. The Bills had four shots to score, including on a fourth-and-goal at the 1. Tyrod Taylor threw short to running back Karlos Williams, but Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and J.T. Thomas were there to stop him for no gain.
Yes, the Bills scored on their next possession, when the defense (finally) appeared out of juice. But had the defense not held on the previous possession, this would have been a much different game.
The Jason Pierre-Paul-less defense held the Bills’ top-ranked rushing attack to 55 yards. With 13:21 to play, that defense was at its best. After managing just two first downs in the first half, the Bills finally got untracked, driving to the Giants’ 5, threatening to leap back into the game. But on three successive plays, the Giants stymied the Bills.
"We’re giving up a couple plays, big plays that we shouldn’t have and now we’ve got our backs to the wall," said linebacker Jon Beason. "We could have easily gotten there and folded."
Tom Coughlin expected Bills penalties
Tom Coughlin told his players before Sunday's game that the Bills would beat themselves with penalties. They committed 17 for 135 yards.— Dan Graziano (@DanGrazianoESPN) October 4, 2015
Call it a lack of discipline or having too much emotion, but the Buffalo Bills have been notorious in getting penalities at the absolute worst times. Coughlin set out to reap the benefits from the Bills destructive ways.
Rex Ryan, however, defended his team.
"Well, I'm going to tell you something: I'm proud of the way this team played," an animated Ryan said after the game. "Can you play a lot smarter? Absolutely. But I'll take a team that can fight over a team that won't -- that will sit back and take it -- any day of the week. And bring on the next team."
Enter Nikita Whitlock
It seems with each passing week, Whitlock does more and more to impress. After applying heavy pressure to the Washington Redskins in week three, Whitlock earned his first career sack on Sunday. In fact he was so impressive as a pass rushing defensive tackle, Pat Traina has quipped that it might make Markus Kuhn expendable.
Defensive tackle Markus Kuhn is a nice guy and a hard worker, who is currently dealing with a knee injury that has cost him the last three weeks. Given the emergence of Nikita Whitlock, the team’s fullback who just so happens to be a natural defensive tackle, one can’t help but wonder if the Giants might be able to get by doing something so completely unorthodox that it just might work.
Kerry Wynn has shown now in two games that he’s fully capable of handling the defensive end spot, which has allowed Cullen Jenkins, who worked there in the spring and summer, to move back inside to defensive tackle.
With Whitlock having shown more in terms of productivity in just a handful of snaps that Kuhn managed in Week 1’s season opener, would it make sense to put Kuhn on season-ending injured reserve, continue to carry Cruz if his situation isn’t going to necessitate him missing the next six weeks and add another receiver such as Wes Welker in the coming week?
More Giants headlines
Watch Coughlin give a locker room celebratory speech.
The official Giants website lists five standout players against the Bills.