Big Blue fresh off the bye and their best start in a decade, the Giants opened the second half of their season with a 24-16 victory over the Houston Texans. The Giants improved to 7-2 while the Texans fell to 1-7-1. This gives the Giants a historical record against the Texans of: 5-1-0.
What We Learned About The Giants
The New York Giants stuck with a run-heavy script, rushing 45 times compared to just 17 passes. Saquon Barkley had 17 carries for 75 yards in the first half alone. He went on to record his 16th career 100-yard game on the ground, finishing with 35 carries for 152 yards (fourth-most of career) and a touchdown.
Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley both put together one of their most productive outings of the season in the win. Meanwhile, on the other side of the ball, the defense picked up four sacks and two turnovers in order to help the Giants secure the victory.
“I think certainly after the game, you got to enjoy the wins and reflect a little bit on where we are,” said Jones. “Certainly, it’s a lot better on this side of it than how we’ve been in years past. You got to enjoy that and appreciate it, but at the same time, know there’s still a lot we need to improve on, there’s a lot still out there for us to do, especially on offense. That’s where we’re focused.” Daniel Jones – New York Giants
Starting strong has been an issue for the Giants this season, but not on Sunday. The defense began the game with a three-and-out, including a sack, and quickly got the ball into the offense’s hands. The offense responded with a 10-play, 68-yard touchdown drive that ended with Daniel Jones finding Lawrence Cager for his first career touchdown from nine yards out.
Then when the Giants got the ball to start the second half, Barkley and Jones led the offense down the field quickly, with Darius Slayton making a catch and taking it 54 yards into the end zone for a score.
“Good to get another win,” Coach Brian Daboll said after the game. “(It was a) hard fought game. I thought we did a lot of things well. (There’s) some things, obviously, to clean up on like there always is. But today’s my youngest daughter’s birthday, so I was asking her what she wanted for a present the other day. And she said, ‘A win. Give me a football with my name on it, dad.’ That’s pressure more than anything else. So, I want to wish her a happy birthday, and good to get a win. The guys played hard, played physical. (They) made some timely turnovers. (They) came out in the second half (and) had an opening drive touchdown. (They) stalled a couple times in the fringe. (They) got hit on some bigger plays in the second half, but overall (it) was a good team win. (We’ll) get ready to play (the) Detroit (Lions).“ Brian Daboll – New York Giants
As good as the offense was at converting on third down, the defense did an even better job of stopping Houston in the same situation. Wink Martindale’s unit was able to hold the Texans to just three conversions on ten attempts. The defense has been able to find a ton of success when it comes to situational football this season. Heading into Week 10, the Giants ranked fourth in the NFL in third down defense (33 percent).
The unit also continued its red zone defense success. Houston got the ball inside the Giants 20-yard line on four occasions on Sunday, but was able to punch it into the end zone only once. Martindale’s defense went into this game allowing a touchdown on just 42.9 percent of opponents’ trips inside the red zone, good for the third-best mark in the league.
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For the fourth consecutive game, the defense as able to register a turnover. In fact, they did it on back-to-back Houston possessions. First, defensive lineman Leonard Williams punched the ball out of Texans RB Dameon Pierce’s hands, which linebacker Jaylon Smith recovered. Just four plays into Houston’s next drive, rookie safety Dane Belton leaped up and snagged a Davis Mills pass in the end zone for his first career interception.
“Dane’s smart. That’s why we drafted him,” said Daboll. “We thought he was a good player, and he’s very intelligent. So, you’re always going to miss your captains, your really good players, like X is. But I thought throughout the week, Dane was practicing well. He was ready to go. We had no choice. That’s what we expect.” Brian Daboll – New York Giants
Dexter Lawrence is in the middle of his best season since joining the Giants in the 2019 draft. On Sunday, he kept the momentum going with yet another dominant outing. The fourth-year defensive lineman picked up another sack to go with a pass breakup and an impressive five quarterback hits. Lawrence broke two career-highs with today’s performance as he now has five sacks and 16 quarterback hits on the year (previous highs were four sacks and 11 QB hits).
“No, I wouldn’t say I’m surprised at all by the level of success he’s had this year,” Jones said about Lawrence. “He’s played really well, I think, since he’s been here. This year, he probably has a couple more sacks and getting a couple more pressures, but he’s been extremely consistent for us since we came in here. He’s a heck of a player and hats off to him.“ Daniel Jones – New York Giants
Lawrence wasn’t the only defensive lineman to enjoy a strong game. Leonard Williams played a big role in the run defense’s success, finishing with a team-high nine tackles (five solo) while adding a half-sack. Additionally, outside linebacker Jihad Ward picked up his second sack of the season, while safety Jason Pinnock had 1.5 sacks.
“Two good players for us. Two good leaders,” Daboll said about Lawrence and Williams. “I think, if I’m not mistaken, Leo got that first one out (to force a fumble) in there in the pile there. And then (safety Dane) Belton made a big play after they hit a couple good plays. Red zone defense, we’ve been playing it fairly well this year. This was in the fringe area, high red zone. Good plays. Everything starts up front, whether it’s the defensive line or the offensive line. And Dexter and Leo, along with some other guys that have been playing in there, have been doing a good job for us. We’re going to continue to need that.” Brian Daboll – New York Giants
With Safety Xavier McKinney now on injured reserve, safety Julian Love wore the green dot on defense for the first time in his career. This meant he relayed defensive coordinator Wink Martindale’s calls to the players on the field. Julian Love performed well in this role, finishing second on the team with seven total tackles (four solo).
Starting cornerback Adoree’ Jackson handled punt return duties after Richie James lost two fumbles in the team’s last game before the bye week. James also suffered a concussion on the second play but was active on Sunday. Jackson had not returned a punt since 2019 with the Titans.
Kicker Graham Gano made his long field goal attempt from 49 yards to give the Giants a two-possession lead with 1:55 remaining in the game.
Yes, the Giants opened the second half of their season with a 24-16 victory over the Houston Texans improving their seasons’ ranking to 7-2. They will stay home for week 11 to take on the 3-6 Lions. The Lions may be 3-6 yet have won their last two divisional games so the Giants can’t afford to sleep through the first half of the game to win this one. Today the Giants showed improvement in their first-half gamesmenship, however the Lions are a well rounded team playing both sides of the ball so they can’t afford holding back at any point against them next week to secure the win. And that’s…”The Lex Of It”