The Giants finally got their name stamped in the W column, scoring the final 20 points of Monday night’s affair to beat Minnesota 23-7. If you favor clean football this certainly wasn’t the contest for you. In fact, the game was borderline unwatchable for much of the 60 minutes. But as they say, “a win’s a win”. The highlights and lowlights of victory:
- The Giants opening drive lasted 9:36, the team’s longest march (in terms of time) since 1993 and the longest drive of the 2013 NFL season through seven weeks. After 16 plays (eight run/eight pass) and a trio of third-down conversion, the Jints kicked a field goal to get on the board first.
- Center David Baas exited the game after one drive with a knee injury. He did not return. Baas missed the prior three contests with a neck injury. So much for five years $27.5 million.
- Hakeem Nicks was targeted ten times, catching two balls for 28 yards. He has developed a mental block on catching the football, literally. It looks like he has oven mitts for hands. It should be noted that Nicks also drew a pass interference flag, and Manning overshot him on a would-be touchdown during the first drive (if he hung onto it). Victor Cruz brought in five of seven targets but also dropped a touchdown that would have extended the lead to three scores in the fourth quarter.
- The Jekyll and Hyde qualities of Rueben Randle never fail to rear their ugly head. He made a great play on his touchdown catch, going up and attacking the ball in-flight, but of course had to even the ledger and cough up a punt.
- Both Michael Cox and Peyton Hillis put the ball on the ground, and both recovered. Combined they rushed 29 times for 59 yards. Hillis caught five passes for 45 yards, battering through a tired Minnesota defense in the second half. Cox looked explosive with far too much dancing. Hillis looked painfully slow.
- Eli Manning was constantly under pressure. Will Beatty was owned by Jared Allen, and James Brewer was embarrassed when brought in as an extra blocker.
- The defensive front was closing in on Josh Freeman all night, but the pressure only got home once. Justin Tuck finally escaped fraction territory, recording his first full sack of 2013.
- For a welcome change of pace, the Giants tackled securely for the duration (excluding special teams). Will Hill and Antrel Rolle made key tackles preventing receivers from getting to the first-down marker. Hill continues to put on a clinic, putting ball carriers on their backside.
- Minnesota totaled 220 yards of offense at a clip of 3.2 per play. 52 of those yards came in absolute garbage time as well. The Giants showed zero respect for Minnesota’s passing game, bottling up Adrian Peterson for 13/28, with a long run eight yards.
- Josh Freeman looked like anything but an NFL quarterback in his Vikings debut. Truth be told, he’s actually looked like this all season – mentally psyched out. He overthrew his receivers on 13 of 33 incompletions. The one time he dropped in a perfect ball, Jerome Simpson dropped a TD.
- It was an eventful evening for Minnesota cornerback Marcus Sherels. He returned a punt 86 yards for a score in the first quarter, and a dropped a surefire pick-six in the third quarter. On the subsequent punt, Sherels fumbled at his own three-yard line without getting touched. The punt return for a TD was the third allowed by the Giants this year. The NFL record for punts returns allowed in a season is four. The Jints also allowed a 69-yard kickoff return to Cordarrelle Patterson.
- Damontre Moore finally saw defensive action on the final series, getting close to Freeman on three occasions but no statistical results. He left the field winded after four plays. Moore also committed a personal foul on special teams.
The Giants return home to play the Oakland Raiders Week 10 for the first game of a three game home stand. To see any of these games live, get your New York Giants tickets here.