This was the Giants’ performance everyone has been expecting all year.
At least, defensively it was.
Offensively, it was one that proved to be effective throughout most of the game that gave the Giants a 12-9 overtime win over the now reeling Kansas City Chiefs at Met Life Stadium.
Yet, it seemed like a no-frills, businesslike effort, one the Giants needed. Head coach Ben McAdoo called for the fan’ support and the win Friday afternoon.
“The players responded,” deadpanned McAdoo afterwards. “Tremendous team effort.”
The offense had its own new wrinkles. Defensive tackle Robert Thomas was the lead blocker for Orleans Darkwa’s touchdown run. Shane Vereen’s halfback option pass near the goal line unfortunately was in the air too long and was intercepted. Nat Behre took an inside snap on a fourth down and ran for a first down.
Still, the ground game accumulated 112 yards behind Darkwa’s 74, and Eli Manning hit 10 different receivers on his 19-for-35, 205-yard day.
“It feels good,” said Manning about the win. “We have been down and we haven’t been able to finish games. This was a great team effort in every phase.”
At the start, though, it looked like it would be another long Sunday for the 1-8 Giants.
Kansas City, which entered Met Life losers of three of their last four games, showed why there are the league’s fifth-best offense when quarterback Alex Smith found tight end Travis Kelce open for a 22-yard completion.
From there, though, the Giants’ secondary allowed three more passes over 20 yards down field and kept the Chiefs’ receivers in front of them all afternoon. Overall, it arguably was the best performance all season ranking alongside their previous lone victory, a 23-10 triumph at Denver Oct. 16. Damon Harrison snared a shuttle pass and Landon Collins stopped a drive down field with a pick. and Janoris Jenkins’ apparent interception was reversed, leading to the Chiefs tying the game at nine.
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“We have to keep working it,” said Collins. “We came out with a sense of urgency today. We played defense like we did last year and we have to keep that.”
Manning, who was adequate most of the afternoon, showed his character later when he guided his team down the field for the winning field goal, completing 4 of 5 attempts for 60 yards to set up Aldrick Rosas’ 23-yard winning field goal. Roger Lewis made a highlight reel catch while on the ground on a fourth-and-5.
Lewis and teammates are ready to shake the doldrums of the first half of the season. They have a quick turnaround with a game in Washington Thanksgiving night.
“All I wanted to do is have 10 (Manning) trust me,” said Lewis. “I want to make plays. We were all down and nobody believed in us. But now it is our time.”