The New York Giants defense stepped up to hold Buffalo to 10 points in Sunday’s victory.
The league’s 13th-ranked unit in terms of points allowed through four games has been a key reason for why the Giants are 2-2 and alive in the NFC East race.
The defense lacks a lot of star power, but according to veteran linebacker Jon Beason, that’s also why it has been so successful.
“The imprint of a great defense is the guys playing fast, physical, being relentless and swarming,” Beason said in a conference call Monday.
“We don’t really care about stats, long as we’re doing it together, I think that’s what makes us special, and you watch the film and it’s an example of football. You don’t know which guy it’s going to be, but everyone is playing hard, getting to the ball, and good things are happening.”
Beason was one of the stalwarts on the defense that missed time so far this season. As has cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, and of course, the unit is playing without its top player Jason Pierre-Paul.
Injuries and absences of certain players have helped other players find roles in the defense. Now everyone is playing a part in the unit’s success.
“Guys are embracing their roles,” Beason explained. “We have multiple packages where we are getting guys on the field who do things well and we’re creating a niche for those guys. You go out and play four or five different personnel groups and all the linebackers are involved, and all the secondary guys are involved, you don’t see that happen much.
“We thought we have a unique skillset; coaches are doing a great job recognizing what guys do well, and putting them in position to make plays.”
Though the defense has been a strength in each of the Giants’ wins the past weeks, there have been times when the unit caved.
Yes, the Giants surrendered fourth-quarter leads against both Dallas and Atlanta, but the defense was lifted by the confidence exhibited in it by coach Tom Coughlin.
“He’s come in with more energy, more enthusiasm, and a guy who’s 69 years old,” Beason said of his coach. “He comes in, he’s doing jumping jacks in the meetings, it’s always a joy to see how much he loves to do what he does, and how much of a competitor he is. It’s easy to get up and go out and fight for a guy like that.”
Giants head coach Tom Coughlin spoke with the media on Monday. Here are five things we learned…
1.) T Ereck Flowers (ankle) made it through Sunday’s game okay, and looked very good when he was at the Giants complex Monday morning.
2.) There is no update on WR Victor Cruz, who re-aggravated his calf injury last week.
3.) Coughlin has no information that DE Jason Pierre-Paul is scheduled to come in any time soon.
4.) The team does not yet have a roster move in the wake of TE Daniel Fells being placed on IR.
5.) Coughlin blamed Eli Manning‘s interception on Sunday on himself, saying it was his fault for trying to force a touchdown in that spot.
TE Daniel Fells has been placed on season-ending IR due to a staph infection in his ankle that requires treatment, the Giants announced (Oct. 5)
Fells, who had been dealing with chronic foot and ankle issues, had surgery on his foot this past week, according to Ian Rapoport (Oct. 5).
Fells played in two games this season, with six catches for 60 yards.
The Giants signed TE Will Tye from the practice squad after Fells did not travel with the team for Sunday’s game against the Buffalo Bills. Tye, 23, is a rookie who spent two seasons with Stony Brook, where he recorded 79 catches for 1,015 yards and nine touchdowns.
John Fennelly, Lead Writer
Is it time to make a trade, or sign a free agent? If there ever was a time to bring in a TE from the outside, this is it.
Tye dropped his only target in Sunday’s win in Buffalo. Jerome Cunningham has a knee as continues to be held out and Larry Donnell, although productive Sunday with five receptions, continues to be a liability as a blocker in the run game.
He also is not one to get yards after the catch, usually doing a somersault to avoid contact and losing the football. He has regressed and the Giants have to come to the realization that Donnell might simply plateau as a backup at best.
There’s not much out there, so GM Jerry Reese has to work some magic here.
The Giants evened their record to 2-2 with a 24-10 defeat of the Bills Sunday in Orchard Park, N.Y.
The Giants are now 8-1 against the AFC East under Tom Coughlin.
Here’s how the Giants graded out, according to Pro Football Focus.
Eli Manning threw for 212 yards, three touchdowns and an interception (his first of the season), but PFF handed him a -5.4. Manning got rid of the ball quickly — an average of 1.82 seconds per throw — while the league average is 2.1 seconds per throw through the first month of the season.
The offensive line stood tall against the stout Bills defensive front. Justin Pugh led the way with a +3.3 grade as he returned back to guard and finished with the one of the best grades for a guard in the NFL in Week 4. Geoff Schwartz earned a +2.2.
Devon Kennard finished 2014 with a +6.0 grade in six starts and has continued to impress. The linebacker has a +3.5 overall grade through four games and had the career day against Buffalo. Kennard ripped a pass away from tight end Charles Clay and had an interception for a +3.7 grade on the day.
Additionally, Landon Collins finished with a +2.5 and Jon Beason earned a +2.1
The Giants achieved a number of milestones in Sunday’s 24-10 win over the Bills in Buffalo as well as some other firsts. Here’a a quick breakdown of yesterday’s news notes and stats.
The Giants improved to 8-1 in regular-season games vs. AFC East opponents under Tom Coughlin The only loss was to the Patriots in the 2007 season finale, a defeat the Giants avenged five weeks later in Super Bowl XLII.
The victory was the 166th of Coughlin’s career, tying him with Hall of Famer Paul Brown for for 12th in NFL history. (Brown recorded 216 wins including his AAFC career.) Including his 12 postseason victories, Coughlin has 178 in his 20-year career.
Laundry Day: The teams combined for 28 accepted penalties (11 by the Giants, 17 by Buffalo), the highest total in a Giants game since the Giants and Washington combined for 32 penalties (15 by the Giants) on Sept. 21, 2003. The previous high total in Coughlin’s 12-year tenure with the team was 25 penalties vs. Chicago on Nov. 7, 2004 (14 for the Giants).
The Giants and Bills combined for 220 penalty yards, the highest total in the Giants game since Oct. 6, 2013 vs Philadelphia (224, including 136 by the Giants).
Buffalo’s 17 penalties were the highest total by a Giants opponent in the Coughlin era and the most since Washington had 17 on Sept. 21, 2003.
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John Fennelly, Lead Writer
After an 0-2 start, the Giants have rallied to even their record here at the quarter pole of the 2015 season. In the NFC East these days, that’s good enough for a share of first place.
If one were to examine their season to date, they could make a case the Giants could be 4-0. Then there are others that will claim they could be 1-3 or 0-4.
“Win a game, get it started,” coach Tom Coughlin said after the team’s 24-10 win over the Bills. “The process is to work hard during the week, have a great preparation, execute it on the weekend. That never stops. We’re 0-2, fight, keep fighting. That’s what we do. That’s what the thing is all about.”
And fight they have. They have held commanding leads in the fourth quarter in each of their first four games. But with no pass rush to speak of, the defense has gotten tired as the games have worn on and the offense has not been able to drive the football to sufficiently sustain drives and wind down the clock.
Sunday in Buffalo, the Giants were on their way to another collapse. This time, the defense, aided by Bills penalties, help up with two staunch red zone shutouts.
“We’re 2-2 instead of 0-2, so we’ve got some confidence going,” defensive lineman Cullen Jenkins said. “We’re finally starting to see some benefits from the hard work. The first two weeks we were working hard and we were doing good things, but we weren’t able to reap any rewards from it, because we were giving the games away at the end. Now we’re getting wins, so it’s just helping confidence-wise, mentally. It’s showing us the right way to do it and keep improving that way.”
The Giants may continue improving over the next few weeks. In league where there are few, if any, dominant teams, the Giants will line up against a slew of sub-.500 teams they should fare well against: San Francisco, Philadelphia, Dallas, New Orleans and Tampa Bay, before hosting New England in Week 10.
“You feel like you’re back in the mix,” quarterback Eli Manning said.
Giants running back Rashad Jennings discusses Big Blue’s convincing win over the Bills and the ways in which the team can still improve.