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Giants 23, Raiders 16: 5 plays that changed the game

Here are the five plays that defined the Giants’ 23-16 victory over the Raiders

Las Vegas Raiders v New York Giants Photo by Dustin Satloff/Getty Images

The New York Giants earned their third win of the season on Sunday by defeating the Las Vegas Raiders, 23-16, at MetLife Stadium. Patrick Graham and the Giants’ defense forced three Derek Carr turnovers that precipitated the victory.

The Raiders out-gained the Giants 403 to 235 - a yardage difference of 168 yards. The Giants’ defense prevented explosive offensive plays; they bent but only broke on the first Las Vegas drive, which ended in a 2-yard touchdown pass to Hunter Renfrow.

In fact, the only two offensive touchdowns scored in the game were on both of the team’s opening drives. Daniel Jones connected with Evan Engram for his longest pass of the day - a 30-yard strike to finish a seven-play, 75-yard drive.

After those two touchdowns, it was all field goals for both teams on offense. New York’s defense also contributed to the scoreboard as second-year safety Xavier McKinney intercepted Carr for a pick-six. Let’s see the top five plays, or play sequences, that made this list.

Play(s) 1: Pick city — The Xavier McKinney story

McKinney (29) had two huge interceptions in the second half. The first interception went for a touchdown on the third-and-7 play above. The Giants send five and run a T/E stunt with both Dexter Lawrence (97) and Leonard Williams (99) slanting with Quincy Roche (95) looping to the inside from the EDGE spot. Then the Giants brought a fifth rusher, Darnay Holmes (30), to replace Roche.

The Raiders do a good job picking up in protection, but Derek Carr saw Holmes blitz and thought he’d have Hunter Renfrow (13) open on his out route. McKinney was the covering defender in man coverage, and he made a fantastic break on the football. He took a great angle, showed great click and close ability downhill, and won physically at the catch point to undercut the pass and take it for six. Carr did not believe McKinney had the speed and quickness to get to the catch point, but the second-year player out of Alabama proved him wrong.

This is the All-22 angle of McKinney’s second interception from a middle-of-the-field closed look. McKinney played centerfield in a Cover-3 type of defense, and Greg Olsen and the Raiders ran an out and up move against James Bradberry (24). Receiver Zay Jones (7) forced Bradberry to bite on the out route, effectively giving Jones vertical leverage up the sideline. The Raiders ran no routes to the middle intermediate part of the field, so McKinney was tasked to read and react to Carr’s eyes.

Once Carr flips his hips to the outside, McKinney hustles to help Bradberry, taking an excellent angle to undercut Carr’s pass up the sideline. This play showed maturity, processing, and range. These are the plays that McKinney is capable of making - not every safety can say that. McKinney also had seven tackles to go along with these two huge interceptions.

The pick-six gave the Giants a 17-13 lead while making a significant statement coming out of halftime. The Giants’ offense capitalized with only a field goal after McKinney’s second interception, which extended the lead 23-16. McKinney deserves a game ball for this performance against the Raiders.

Play 2: Roche is here to stay

The Giants claimed Quincy Roche off waivers from the Pittsburgh Steelers, and they couldn’t be happier with his performance. Roche had a strip-sack to secure the Giants victory on the Raiders’ final drive. These are the types of plays that premier pass rushers make in high leverage situations.

Roche does an excellent job reducing the surface area of his chest while using speed and bend to get into Kolton Miller’s (74) outside shoulder. A subtle stab used by Roche to quickly halt Miller’s inside arm was a great way to stop the athletic tackle from getting up the arc. Roche combined that move with the speed-rush, inside shoulder dip, and low rip through Miller’s outside shoulder to get his hips oriented toward Carr.

Miller is holding Roche, but it doesn’t matter. He stresses the pass-rushing arc, bends through the contact, and finishes the play with not only a sack but a forced fumble as well. Roche had a great game against Kansas City, and he came away with a game-winning play here against the Raiders.

Play(s) 3: Defensive stands

The Giants forced four Raiders’ field-goal attempts, and kicker Daniel Carlson only converted on three. The defense came up with multiple stops on third and manageable situations.

James Bradberry knocks the ball away from Darren Waller (83) on this third-and-goal attempt. Waller attempts a quick inside pivot route, but Bradberry doesn’t bite and gets his right hand into the catch point to force the Raiders into their first field goal attempt.

The Giants were fortunate that this wasn’t a touchdown to Waller. The tight end was open, but Carr wasn’t on target. Carr couldn’t fully step into this throw; he was falling away and seemed to be shying away from Reggie Ragland’s (55) pressure on the LB/EDGE STUNT upfront. That pressure may have been enough to force the errant throw, which prevented an easy touchdown for the Raiders.

The Giants drop eight on this third-and-3 and get pressure due largely to Leonard Williams’ ability to bull-rush upfront. Carr put the ball up in the air for Waller, but it was high and uncatchable. The Giants played man coverage with both safeties playing the seams. This was the 14th play of a 15-play, 85-yard drive. To only allow three points on this drive is a success by this Giants’ defense.

Logan Ryan (23) came up with this huge tackle on Josh Jacobs (28) in man coverage on third-and-6. The Raiders run a mesh concept with two drags over the middle of the field. Ryan does a good job avoiding the trash and sticking to the upfield hip of Jacobs. Once the running back catches the ball, Ryan gets to his outside hip, forces him to turn inside and finishes the tackle for only a 3-yard gain. Carlson missed the field goal, so the Giants held the Raiders to an eight-play, 70-yard drive with zero points.

Play 4: 30-yard TD to Evan Engram

The Giants weren’t an offensive powerhouse against the Raiders. However, Jason Garrett established the run with Devontae Booker, who had a great game. Booker finished with 99 yards on 21 carries. He was incredibly goo. The only touchdown drive by the Giants’ offense was their first drive of the game.

New York made an opening statement on offense after a lackluster game against the Chiefs on Monday Night Football. Engram runs an out and up from the No. 2 receiver spot, with Collin Johnson (15) running a deep post from the No. 1 spot. The post occupies the deep safety, giving the Giants a mismatch on the outside with their big athletic tight end against Johnathan Abram (24).

Daniel Jones throws a great high pass over the top of Abram, and Engram makes an impressive contested catch. Engram showed good concentration and body control to stay in bounds, locate the ball, and find the end zone on the play.

Play(s) 5: Two third-and-8 conversions

With the score 17-16 towards the end of the third quarter, the Giants’ offense mounted a 13-play, 62-yard drive that ended in a 32-yard field goal. Ideally, the Giants would score a touchdown in this scenario, but their offense ranks in the bottom five in red zone efficacy. During that 13-play drive, the Giants were faced with two third-and-8 situations that were both converted.

Daniel Jones stood in the pocket under duress, as the Raiders sent six rushers, and with two men in his face, he delivered a strike to Kenny Golladay (19) for the first down on dig route over the middle. Three plays later, the Giants find themselves in another third-and-8 situation.

New York uses the reduced BUNCH look with the No. 3 receiver motioning at the snap - a common formation out of the shotgun for Garrett. Both Golladay and Darius Slayton (86) release inside (Golladay going vertical) with Kadarius Toney (89) isolated against a defender with all the space between the hash and the boundary to work. Toney causally releases vertical before exploding outside on a flat route against a linebacker. It was the mismatch the Giants wanted, and they took advantage.

These two conversions ultimately only led to three points. However, that extended the Giants lead to 20-16 as the fourth quarter began. That meant the Raiders needed a touchdown to take the lead. The Giants defense prevented Derek Carr and the Raiders from scoring again in the game, thanks, in large part, to the missed Carlson field goal. Nevertheless, New York did enough to squeak past a quality opponent at home. The Giants now enter a much-needed bye week before facing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Monday Night Football.