Giants’ Defense and Running Game Dominate in 21-3 Victory: The past three days have been a strange odyssey for the New York Giants, but the outcome was a favorable one as the Giants defeated the Minnesota Vikings 21-3 on Monday night at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan. With the win, the Giants improved their record to 9-4 with three games left to play in the regular season.
The game marked the return of LT David Diehl, WR Hakeem Nicks, and WR Steve Smith to the playing field after all three had missed multiple games due to injuries.
The biggest downside on Monday night was injuries as LB Clint Sintim left the game with what looked to be a serious knee injury. After the game, Sintim said it might be an ACL tear. In addition, WR Steve Smith injured his hamstring and WR Mario Manningham suffered a hip pointer injury. The severity of all three injuries remains to be determined. After the game, Smith said he was not sure he would be able to play against the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday. DE Justin Tuck also hurt his ribs but said he is OK.
The Giants’ defense was magnificent, holding the Vikings to 10 first downs and 164 total net yards. All-Pro HB Adrian Peterson only rushed for 26 yards on 14 carries. And back-up QB Tarvaris Jackson only completed half of his 30 pass attempts for 118 yards.
While QB Eli Manning struggled (2 interceptions), the ground game carried New York as the Giants rushed for 213 yards. Both HB Brandon Jacobs (116 yards on 14 carries) and HB Ahmad Bradshaw (103 yards on 11 carries) went over the century mark and each scored a touchdown. Manning finished 22-of-37 for 187 yards and 1 touchdown in addition to the 2 picks.
The Giants’ offense started off very slowly as two of New York’s first three drives ended with interceptions by Manning. The first pick gave the Vikings the ball at the Giants’ 34-yard line. Minnesota was able to drive to the Giants’ 3-yard line but had to settle for a 21-yard field goal for the only points the Vikings would score on the night. The Vikings only gained four first downs after this drive until their final possession of the game. In fact, on eight Minnesota possessions, the Vikings could not pick up a first down.
Offensively, the Giants scored on their fourth and sixth possessions of the first half to take a 14-3 halftime advantage. The first scoring drive was aided tremendously by a 73-yard run by Jacobs. Four plays later, Jacobs scored from 1-yard out on 3rd-and-goal. On the second scoring drive, the Giants began their possession with 1:43 on the clock before intermission. The Giants drove the ball 71 yards in 9 plays and scored on a 6-yard touchdown pass from Manning to TE Kevin Boss with 3 seconds left on the clock.
In the second half, the defense shutout the Vikings. The Giants’ offense did not do much either except for their final touchdown drive, a 3-play, 59-yard effort where Bradshaw broke off a 48-yard touchdown run near the end of the third quarter.
Post-Game Notes: Inactive for the Giants were WR Duke Calhoun, WR/PR Darius Reynaud, OC Shaun O’Hara (foot), OL Shawn Andrews (back), OL Jamon Meredith, DT Linval Joseph, LB Phillip Dillard, and CB Michael Coe.