After six weeks of disappointment, the New York Giants (1-6) finally got their first win of the season against the Minnesota Vikings (1-5) at home, 23-7. This game was ripe for the picking for the Giants because Vikings’ coach Leslie Frazier decided to start Josh Freeman at quarterback. Freeman was recently cut by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and was signed by the Vikings last week. His unfamiliarity with the Vikings’ playbook and not having enough time to practice timing with his receivers proved to be costly.
Giants’ first priority on defense was to stop the run, especially knowing that Freeman hasn’t been able to learn the Vikings’ offense as of yet. They were able to hold Adrian Peterson to just 28 yards rushing off of 13 carries and forced Freeman to throw the ball 53 times. Of those 53 attempts, he was only able to complete 20 of those passes and looked terrible throwing the ball.
The only touchdown the Giants gave up in the game came from a Marcus Sherels 86 yard punt return in the 1st quarter. Vikings’ offense were unable to put up any points on the board and the Giants defense can claim a shutout, even though the final score says otherwise.
Giants began the game going on a 17 play, 68 yard drive which resulted in a Josh Brown 35 yard FG to take the lead, 3-0. During that drive, Eli Manning barely overthrew Hakeem Nicks for a touchdown. Despite being held to a field goal, the Giants showed a lot of positive signs. The offensive line protected Manning well and instead of going for the big play, Manning threw short, quick passes to negate the Vikings’ pass rush. There was also great balance on offense which kept the Vikings’ defense on their toes.
In the 2nd quarter, Giants took the lead on their second drive. Manning was able to throw the ball up to Reuben Randle to the left, who caught the ball over a defender for a 24 yard touchdown. On the drive, the Giants were able to take advantage of a pass interference call on Xavier Rhodes who grabbed Nicks on a deep pass play. The Giants went into the half with a 10-7 lead.
One of the Giants’ Achilles heel this season has been turnovers. They’ve turned over the ball 23 times this season and the turnover bug reared it’s ugly head in the 3rd quarter. After the Giants defense forced the Vikings into a three and out to start the quarter, Randle fumbled the ball off the punt return and the ball was recovered by Vikings’ long snapper Cullen Loeffler. Fortunately for the Giants, Freeman gave the ball right back by throwing an interception to Antrel Rolle.
Later in the quarter, Sherels fell to the ground on a punt return and fumbled the ball as he hit the ground. Giants’ long snapper Zak DeOssie was able to recover the ball on the MIN 3 yard line and they capitalized on the turnover with a Peyton Hillis 1 yard touchdown run. Giants went into the 4th quarter with a 17-7 lead.
The lead increased to 13 as the Giants went on a long 16 play, 75 yard drive which ended with a J. Brown 23 yard FG. During the drive, Victor Cruz dropped a sure touchdown.
After the score, J. Brown kicked it short to prevent Cordarrelle Patterson from returning the kick. Sharrif Floyd ends up returning the kick and fumbles the ball into the air. Jacquian Williams was able to recover the fumble by catching it out of the air while being dragged down by Vikings players. J. Brown kicks a 36 yard FG to score the last points of the game.
The Giants will look to make it two wins in a row next week against bitter rivals, the Philadelphia Eagles. Giants are known to be a streaky team and this win may propel them to perform against the Eagles; hopefully they can go into the bye week with two straight wins and some positive vibes under their belt.
Key Stats: Eli Manning had a decent game with 23 completions from 39 pass attempts for 200 yards and a touchdown. Peyton Hills only managed 36 yards off of 18 carries and a touchdown. Victor Cruz led the Giants with 5 receptions for 50 yards and Reuben Randle had 3 receptions for 40 yards and a touchdown.
Jon Beason led the Giants defense with 9 tackles. Antrel Rolle contributed with 6 tackles and a interception. Justin Tuck had the only sack of the game for the Giants and had 4 tackles.
Josh Freeman had a terrible passing game, only completing 20 of 53 passing attempts for 190 yards and a interception. Adrian Peterson could only manage 28 yards off of 13 carries. Greg Jennings was the leading receiver for the Vikings with 4 receptions for 41 yards.
Vikings defense had three players with double digit tackles. Erin Henderson led the team with 14 tackles and a sack. Jamarca Sanford had 12 tackles and Chad Greenway had 10 tackles. Jared Allen and Kevin Williams also contributed with a half sack each.
Check out game highlights here.