DO NOT ADJUST YOUR TELEVISION SET!
THE NEW YORK GIANTS ARE INDEED ON A WINNING STREAK!
It wasn't pretty, it wasn't clean, and it definitely wasn't stress-free, but the Giants beat a team that was a touchdown favorite, in their first real, quality win since 2012. And in a change from the first three weeks, the Giants did it by winning in the fourth quarter.
Carl Banks knows a linebacker when he sees one
I had intended to focus on the fourth uarter of this game. But really, how long has it been since the Giants have had a linebacker like Devon Kennard?
Antonio Pierce? Between the ears maybe, but AP never had the athletic gifts that Kennard displays.
Jesse Armstead maybe?
Regardless, Kennard's intelligence, athleticism, hustle, and talent are a throwback to the Golden Age of New York Giants linebacking.
Kennard has generally been used going downhill, but throughout preseason Jon Beason has been singing the sophomore's praises. He had been insisting that Kennard had been improving by leaps and bounds in every facet of his game.
With 1:10 left in the first quarter, Kennard was matched up in coverage on Charles Clay down the sideline on first-and-10. Kennard got position on Clay and simply ripped the ball out of the tight end's hands to come up with the interception. Some interceptions are a poor play by the quarterback, some are a poor play by the receiver, some are a great jump by the defender. This interception was a combinatin of great play on behalf of Devon Kennard. He did a great job of getting in position, then simply wanted that ball more than Clay.
Two plays later Eli Manning found Dwayne Harris for a 21-yard touchdown to put the Giants up 10-3, and they wouldn't look back.
A Wynn Win
With the Bills at second-and-5 on the Giants' 10 yard line after a penalty and incompletion on first down, the Bills were in position to score a touchdown and close the game to 13-10. With the Giants apparently on their heels and the Bills in rhythm, Tyrod Taylor handed the ball to Karlos Williams.
All week long fantasy guru's had called Karlos Williams a smart match-up against the Giants "soft" defense. Apparently nobody told the New York Giants that their defense was soft against running backs, because Kerry Wynn came screaming in to drop Williams for a seven yard loss.
While Buffalo did manage to move the ball from there, that huge tackle from Wynn ultimately forced the Bills to go for a field goal. A field goal that Dan Carpenter missed, keeping the score at 16-3.
In 2007 the Giants defense was galvanized by a goal-line stand to help win their week 3 game against the Washington Redskins.
On Sunday it was a fourth-and-goal stand against the Buffalo Bills that seemed to galvanize the team and propel them to victory
With 12:13 left in the fourth quarter and the Bills knocking on the door to the Giants end zone, the New York defense sniffed out a quarterback run by Tyrod Taylor and limited one of the most athletic QB's in the league to a gain of 1 on a third- and-2 on the Giants 2-yard line. With the time running out and the Giants up by 13, Rex Ryan had no choice but to go for the touchdown. With his defense and the Giants spinning their wheels on offense, it made perfect sense.
With the Bills only needing a single yard, Taylor got the ball to their rookie phenom Karlos Williams, who had been averaging more than 7 yards per carry coming into Sunday's game. However the Giants defense, was having none of it. The duo of J.T. Thomas and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie came flying across the field and stopped the 230 pound running back before he could get the single yard needed to convert the fourth down and get the touchdown.
That stand, so reminiscent of the 2007 stand, seemed to light a fire under the Giants defense and push the Bills to the point of desperation.
Rashad Jennings goes #BEASTMODE
After the Giants shut the Bills out for a goal line stand on 4th and goal, they couldn't convert on 3rd down to give Buffalo back the ball with excellent field position. They responded with a long touchdown pass to running back Karlos Williams.
After Williams' touchdown, talk of the Giants' season-opening fourth quarter woes intensified, Eli Manning responded with a touchdown pass of his own. It was a short pass that Rashad Jennings turned into a 51-yard catch and run to put the Giants up by 12, which turned into a two-touchdown lead when Andre Williams bulled his way into the end zone for the 2-point conversion.
The Giants would not relinquish their 24-10 lead as the defense -- and the Bills themselves -- came through to frustrate any attempt at a fourth quarter comeback.
The New York Giants are back to .500, and in second place in the NFC East. It wasn't pretty, it was definitely stressful, but the Giants won a game where every single play seemed to be key to victory.