Wayne Gallman – © USA TODAY Sports
NEW YORK GIANTS 19 – CINCINNATI BENGALS 17…
The New York Giants narrowly defeated the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium on Sunday afternoon 19-17. It was New York’s third win in a row and improved their overall record to 4-7. It was the Giants’ first win in Cincinnati in team history and 700th regular-season win in team history.
The Giants are now tied for first place in the NFC East with the Washington Football Team, depending on the outcome of Monday night’s Seattle Seahawks-Philadelphia Eagles game. The Eagles are 3-6-1. The Giants also own the tie-breaker against Washington.
Despite the Giants dominating the game statistically, they almost lost the game due a hamstring injury to their starting quarterback, shoddy special teams play including allowing a kick return for a touchdown, and untimely mistakes on offense. New York out-gained Cincinnati in first downs (19 to 11), total offensive plays (80 to 46), total net yards (386 to 155), net yards rushing (142 to 40), net yards passing (244 to 115), time of possession (37:26 to 22:35), and turnover margin (3 to 1).
The Giants started off the game well, driving 76 yards in nine plays to take 7-0 lead on running back Wayne Gallman’s 1-yard run on 4th-and-goal. The key play on this drive was a 53-yard strike on 3rd-and-2 from quarterback Daniel Jones to tight end Evan Engram to the Cincinnati 4-yard line.
However, all of this good mojo was immediately erased when Bengals’ kickoff returner Brandon Wilson returned the ensuing kickoff 103 yards for a game-tying touchdown.
Also unfortunately for New York, their offense struggled for the rest of the first half. The next two Giants’ drives resulted in a total of two first downs and 35 yards before punting the ball away. On their fourth drive, the Giants did reach the Cincinnati 33-yard line after converting on 4th-and-1. But on the very next snap, Engram fumbled the ball away at the 15-yard line. The Bengals recovered the loose ball and returned it to their 45-yard line. Nine plays and 29 yards later, Cincinnati took a 10-7 lead on a 44-yard field goal.
The Giants did manage to tie the game again on their fifth and final drive of the first half. New York gained 44 yards on 11 plays to set up place kicker Graham Gano’s 49-yard field goal.
At the half, the game was tied 10-10 despite New York out-gaining Cincinnati 223 to 66 in total yards.
The Giants’ defense forced a three-and-out to start the 3rd quarter. New York then moved the ball from their own 6-yard line to the Cincinnati 17-yard line. The big play was another big pass to Engram for 44 yards. However, quarterback Daniel Jones came out of the game after 2-yard pass to Gallman on 3rd-and-1 with a hamstring issue (he had injured himself on a 7-yard run two plays earlier). The drive immediately stalled and the Giants settled for a 40-yard field goal. Giants 13 – Bengals 10.
Both teams exchanged punts with Jones returning for two more plays before leaving the game for good. The Giants then got the ball back near the end of the 3rd quarter when defensive end/linebacker Niko Lalos intercepted a deflected pass at the Cincinnati 40-yard line. The Giants only gained 19 yards in eight plays, including converting on 4th-and-1, but this was good enough to set up a Gano field goal from 39 yards out. Giants 16 – Bengals 10.
Both teams exchanged punts again. The Giants were then handed a golden opportunity to put the game away when safety Logan Ryan forced a fumble at the Cincinnati 24-yard line that he returned to the 19 with 4:12 left in the game. The Giants only managed to gain five yards and take 18 seconds off of the clock before Gano kicked a 32-yard field goal to make it a 19-10 game.
At this point, the New York defense failed as the Bengals, led by their Practice Squad quarterback Brandon Allen, easily drove 72 yards in seven plays to cut the score to 19-17 with 1:21 left in the game. The Bengals were aided by two defensive penalties including a 15-yard roughing-the-passer penalty on defensive end Leonard Williams and a questionable 17-yard pass interference penalty on cornerback Darnay Holmes.
It looked like the Giants had sealed the win on the ensuing drive when back-up quarterback Colt McCoy completed a 10-yard pass to Gallman on 3rd-and-4. But right tackle Cam Fleming was called for holding on the play. Punter Riley Dixon’s 61-yard punt was then returned 29 yards by the Bengals to midfield with 57 seconds left. The Bengals only needed a field goal to win the game.
The Giants’ defense ended the game on the first play of the Bengals’ attempted game-winning drive. Linebacker Jaball Sheard sacked Allen, forcing a fumble that Leonard Williams recovered at the Cincinnati 37-yard line.
Daniel Jones completed 16-of-27 passes for 213 yards, no touchdowns, and no interceptions. Colt McCoy completed 6-of-10 passes for 31 yards, no touchdowns, and no interceptions. Wide receiver Sterling Shepard caught seven passes for 64 yards while Engram caught six passes for 129 yards. Gallman rushed 24 times for 94 yards and a touchdown.
Leonard Williams was credited with a sack, three quarterback hits, and a game-winning fumble recovery. Jaball Sheard had the team’s other sack and forced the game-winning fumble. Logan Ryan forced a fumble that he recovered.
Video highlights are available on Giants.com.
PRACTICE SQUAD ACTIVATIONS, INACTIVES, AND INJURY REPORT…
DE Niko Lalos was activated from the Practice Squad for this game.
Inactive for the game were OL Kyle Murphy, DE R.J. McIntosh, LB Trent Harris, LB T.J. Brunson, S Montre Hartage, and PK Ryan Santoso.
QB Daniel Jones left the game with a right hamstring injury in the 3rd quarter; he returned for a couple of plays before sitting out for good. LB Kyler Fackrell injured his calf in the 3rd quarter too and did not return. S Nate Ebner injured his knee in the 1st quarter and did not return.
“I don’t really know much (about Jones),” Head Coach Joe Judge said after the game. “I actually talked to him on the sidelines in terms of how he was. It was at a point where he couldn’t continue in the game, which takes a hell of a lot. Daniel is a really tough dude. So, we’ll take a look and see what it is. I don’t have much more information than what you guys probably got from the TV at the point right now. He just has the doctors and to get some MRI’s – things like that are standard procedure. We kind of MRI everything around here.”
Transcripts and video clips of post-game media sessions with Head Coach Joe Judge and the following players are available in The Corner Forum and at Giants.com:
Six of the Giants’ last seven games have been decided by three points or less, including three of their four victories.
The kickoff return touchdown was the first allowed by the Giants in a road game in 30 years.
PK Graham Gano has made 25 of 26 field goal attempts this season.
WHAT’S UP NEXT…
Head Coach Joe Judge and select players will address the media by conference call on Monday.