Mile-High Miracle; Giants Defeat Broncos For First Win
Running Game and Defense Are Keys to Giants 23-10 Victory over Broncos
The seemingly impossible is indeed possible. The New York Giants earned their first win of the season, beating the Denver Broncos 23-10 at Sports Authority Field.
With expectations being low for the Giants, they showed up big time against the powerful Broncos defense. The New York offense looked almost flawless to start up the game. The Giants would extend a 3-0 lead with a five-yard touchdown pass from Eli Manning to tight end Evan Engram early in the second quarter.
The Broncos would get on the board after a 28-yard field goal from Brandon McManus, cutting their deficit to 10-3. With the clock ticking down late in the second quarter, Denver would attempt to get into field goal range. Quarterback Trevor Siemian would attempt a short pass to receiver Bennie Fowler. However, Janoris Jenkins would jump in front of Fowler for the interception, and take it 43-yards to the house to give the Giants a 17-3 lead.
The Giants would build onto that lead with field goals from Aldrick Rosas in the second half. Despite a late Broncos touchdown from Siemian to tight end Jeff Heuerman, the Giants would hold onto a 23-10 lead. In turn, the Giants earned their first win of the season.
Now, let’s look at some of the key Giants from this game to help propel the team to victory.
The Giants running game has been virtually non-existent through the first five games of the season. However, leave it to Orleans Darwka to break out of the funk, especially against a tough Broncos defense. The fourth year rusher ran the ball 21 times for 117 yards, including one run for 47 yards.
Being the first New York running back to rush for over 100 yards this season is particularly impressive. Paul Perkins has not been able to get anything going. Shane Vereen is only used in pass-catching situations. Darkwa has been consistent in the rusher in the Giants backfield, and has shown that he can be the leading back for the remainder of the season.
With an 0-5 record, head coach Ben McAdoo decided (finally) that it was time to shake up the ineffective offensive line. A move was made that many analysts and reporters have called for. That was moving guard Justin Pugh to right tackle, and New York reaped the benefits.
Pugh, arguably the Giants’ best offensive lineman, lined himself up against former Super Bowl MVP Von Miller. Although that is a difficult task for some, Pugh stood his ground, shutting out Miller for the majority of the game. In turn, that led to openings for Engram in the passing game. The offensive line problem is still far from perfect, but the combination that they had in Denver should continue for the rest of the season.
Last season, the Giants defensive line was one of the most feared in the league. A big part of that came from Jason Pierre-Paul. Through the first five games of the season, the veteran has had a season to forget. In Denver, however, the defensive end recorded eight combined tackles (seven solo, one assisted), three sacks, and one forced fumble.
Pierre-Paul has not had the best statistical season through five weeks, but he made up for it in Denver. This was the game that the defensive end needed in order to turn it around, and he could build off of it for the remainder of the year.
Jenkins has been a matchup nightmare for wide receivers this season, with the likes of Dez Bryant, Alshon Jeffrey, and Golden Tate being held to limited receptions and yards. The sixth-year cornerback recorded five total tackles (all solo), as well as his pick-six touchdown at the end of the second quarter.
Jenkins has proven he is indeed worth the huge contract he signed in the 2016 offseason, and this game proved just that. The veteran corner is an integral part of the Giants pass defense. Consistent performances like these can help New York turn the corner this season.
Giants fans, reporters, and analysts have been calling for offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan to take over the play calling duties. McAdoo has been adamant that he can turn the offense around. However, through five weeks, the head coach was unable to do that.
So without a win, McAdoo decided to return the play calling duties to Sullivan, and the Giants benefited from it greatly. The running game was the most effective it has been all season, accumulating 148 total yards on the ground.
That was not the only story, as Sullivan was able to work around the injuries to receivers Odell Beckham Jr, Brandon Marshall, and Sterling Shepard. With Roger Lewis, Tavarres King, Travis Rudolph, and Earl Eagan slotted in as replacements, Sullivan was able to ease them into starting action. The passing game did not have a blow-away performance, but Manning did complete 11 of his 19 attempts for 128 yards. Engram accounted for five of those receptions.
It is a learning curve for sure, but after this Denver game, the offense under Sullivan is the way to go for the remainder of the season. It will only improve from here.
The Giants return home to extend their winning streak to two games against the tough Seattle Seahawks. Will the Giants be able to earn their second win of the season? Or will New York fall back to reality?
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