Giants 34, Texans 10: New York Overwhelms Houston

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New York Giants 34, Houston Texans 10: New York Wins Second Straight

Houston, TX (Sports Network) – Eli Manning threw for 297 yards with three touchdowns, leading the New York Giants to a 34-10 victory over the Houston Texans at Reliant Stadium.

Manning completed 27-of-42 passes with a pair of interceptions. His favorite target was Hakeem Nicks, who hauled in a career-high 12 passes for 130 yards with a pair of scores. Steve Smith also caught a touchdown pass and Brandon Jacobs ran for a TD in the victory.

"First off, I think the (offensive) line did very well up front, holding that strong front that they have," Nicks said. "(Offensive coordinator Kevin) Gilbride put together a real good scheme for us, we prepared well and we just wanted to come out here and execute."

The Giants (3-2) won their second in a row and used a strong defensive effort against the league’s second-ranked offense. The Texans (3-2) entered the contest averaging 415.5 yards per game, but were held to 195 on Sunday while the Giants had 414 total yards.

Arian Foster, the league’s leading rusher with 537 yards entering the contest, ran for only 25 yards on 11 carries and Houston finished with a franchise-low 24 rushing yards. Matt Schaub completed just 16-of-34 throws for 196 yards with an interception in defeat.

Andre Johnson was back in the lineup for the Texans after missing last week’s game with a sprained ankle and finished with five catches for 95 yards — all in the second half.

Houston managed only 11 first downs and held the ball for just over 21 minutes, while the Giants totaled 26 first downs and nearly 39 minutes of possession. The Texans were also just 2-of-11 on third down.

"I’ve never seen so many three-and-outs that we’ve had," said Texans tight end Owen Daniels. "I think we had more three-and-outs than we’ve had all seasons. Just penalties and not executing."

The Giants opened the scoring on their second offensive series, marching 85 yards in eight plays for a touchdown. Manning connected on each of his five passes during the march and Jacobs converted a short third down with a five- yard run. Manning’s six-yard toss to Nicks made it 7-0 with 5:19 left in the first quarter.

Schaub was then intercepted by Corey Webster and the Giants took over at the Houston 40. Manning needed just four plays to put New York in the end zone again, keying the short set with a 27-yard connection to Hicks to set up Jacobs’ one-yard touchdown plunge.

The Giants quickly forced a Houston punt and followed with a 55-yard scoring march. Again, it was Manning to Nicks that did most of the damage on six-play series, as the two hooked up four times for 49 yards, including the 12-yard scoring strike for a 21-0 margin just over two minutes into the second period.

Houston finally answered with a sustained drive, but nine plays netted just 35 yards before the Texans had to settle for a 38-yard Neil Rackers field goal. The Giants got those points back just before the end of the half on a 45-yard kick by Lawrence Tynes.

The Texans managed just 74 yards of offense in the opening 30 minutes, including a mere nine yards on eight carries by Foster.

Johnson’s first catch of the day was a 48-yard reception in triple coverage that gave Houston a first down at the New York 35 on its first series of the third quarter, but Schaub fumbled while being sacked by Osi Umenyiora on the very next play and Justin Tuck recovered for the Giants. Manning, though, gave it back moments later when Sherrick McManis picked off a pass near midfield.

The Giants forced another Houston punt, but Manning was intercepted by Kareem Jackson and the Texans finally found the end zone with a short field. Schaub hit Johnson with a 16-yard pass to the one-yard line and former Giant Derrick Ward scored on the next play to make it a 24-10 game with seven minutes left in the third.

Tynes drilled a 42-yard field goal on the next New York series to extend the lead to 17 and Houston failed to cross midfield on either of its next two possessions before the Giants drove 73 yards for the game-sealing score. After taking three points off the board when a defensive penalty gave the Giants a first down, Manning threw a four-yard TD pass to Smith with 4:50 remaining to account for the final margin.

New York finished with 117 rushing yards, including 67 on 16 carries for Ahmad Bradshaw and 41 on 10 carries by Jacobs…The Giants finished with three sacks, a week after totaling 10 against Chicago. Umenyiora had two sacks and Tuck added one. The Giants have now won 14 straight games, including playoffs, when Tuck records a sack…Brian Cushing returned for Houston after missing the first four games due to a league suspension and finished with nine tackles, including four solo…New York has won two of the three meetings with Houston.

vs HOU / 10.10.10 Receiving
Rec Yards Avg TD
Hakeem Nicks 12 130 10.8 2


Giants (2-2) At Texans (3-1): Kenny Phillips Has New Knee Injury

Starting safety Kenny Phillips did not practice today for the New York Giants, and the team revealed he is suffering from a sprained MCL. The new injury is to the same knee he had micro-fracture surgery on a year ago.

“It’s not a surgical issue, but he just has difficulty coming back from it,” coach Tom Coughlin said.

The Giants had to know that Phillips’ status would be a week-to-week thing this season. Still, a new injury to an already troublesome knee is not a good thing.
Full Injury Report

Out: Shaun O’Hara, Madison Hedgecock, Keith Bulluck, Mathias Kiwanuka, William Beatty

Questionable: Ahmad Bradshaw (practiced), Terrell Thomas (practiced), Kenny Phillips (DNP).

Probable: Osi Umenyiora, Adam Koets


Giants (2-2) At Texans (3-1): Fantasy Football Focus

The Giants provide a host of go-to options. Eli Manning and his receiving corps – primarily Smith and Nicks – are good picks through the air, while the emerging Ahmad Bradshaw figures to succeed on the ground against a defense that remains iffy even with Brian Cushing’s return. And the New York defense is a must-play after a 10- sack week. For the Texans, Matt Schaub’s value will hinge largely on the status of Andre Johnson. If the latter is healthy, both are solid calls. And Arian Foster is the league’s best fantasy back so far … a no-brainer starter.


Giants (2-2) At Texans (3-1): When The Texans Have The Ball

(Sports Network) - The Texans will be looking to build on recent success, as a win over New York would get Houston to 4-1 for the first time in its now nine-season history, in which the team has surpassed eight wins just once (last year). The Texans have won four of their last five against the NFC and feature an emerging star in Schaub, who’s completed 71.2 percent of his passes for 4,090 yards, 22 TDs and a 107.2 passer rating against the NFC since 2007. It’s his initial career start against the Giants. On the ground, Foster has gone for 100 or more yards in four of his last five games dating back to last season, while backfield mate Ward was a Giant for five seasons between 2004-08 and scored his first touchdown with Houston last week. He averaged 6.7 yards per carry on 12 attempts against the Raiders. Presuming full health, Johnson is an elite pass- catcher and has seven career games with 10 receptions/100 receiving yards against NFC foes. He caught nine passes for 83 yards in one matchup with the Giants.

No question, Schaub will be public enemy No. 1 for a once-again frothing ‘Big Blue’ defense. The nine sacks of Cutler in the first half were an NFL record, with ends Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora accounting for three apiece against the Bears. Not to mention Umenyiora’s two forced fumbles and Tuck’s one. Including playoff games, the Giants have won 13 straight games in which Tuck has registered at least one sack – he has 22 sacks in those games. Joining the Sunday night party, tackle Barry Cofield tied a career-best with 1.5 sacks against Chicago. As a unit, the Giants are now third in the league in total yards allowed per game, but have nonetheless allowed enough points – 18, 38, 29, 3 – in four weeks to be near the bottom of the barrel in that category. In other numbers, Umenyiora is tops among the healthy with four sacks and is equaled only by Mathias Kiwanuka, who’ll miss the game with a neck injury. Elsewhere, Tuck has a team-best 26 tackles to safety Antrel Rolle’s 25.


Giants (2-2) At Texans (3-1): When The Giants Have The Ball

(Sports Network) - Eli Manning and Co. will be trying to prolong perfection this week, sort of. The former Super Bowl MVP passer is 1-0 in his career against the Texans. He enters the week 351 yards away from 20,000 for his career, which would make him the second Giants QB (Phil Simms) to reach that milestone. NFC Offensive Player of the Week Ahmad Bradshaw had a personal highlight reel away from the defense last week, carrying the ball a career-high 23 times for 129 yards and a touchdown. He’s averaging 95.5 yards per game through four weeks. Alongside, recently maligned big man Brandon Jacobs has been a successful horse as well through the years, with his teams going 11-2 in games where he carries at least 21 times. As for the air, wideout Hakeem Nicks had a career-high eight catches for 110 yards against the Bears and is tied for the conference lead with four TDs. Also, Steve Smith has 42 catches in his last six games with AFC foes, while Mario Manningham has gone 20 yards or more on five of six career scoring plays.

As for Houston on defense, the good news is there are few places to go but up. As mentioned, the Texans enter the week last among 32 teams in yards allowed and are an only slightly less unseemly 26th of 32 in points allowed – having given up 24, 27, 27 and 24 in four games. Still, the 102 points have translated into three wins and a first-place perch upon the return of Cushing, who forced two fumbles, intercepted four passes and made 86 tackles in his initial 16 games as a pro last season. Playing the role of impact rookie this season is the aforementioned Nolan, who stepped in for the gimpy Wilson and grabbed two passes. He could be called on to reprise that role with Wilson still listed as questionable on the mid-week report. Among the healthy holdovers, former No. 1 overall pick Mario Williams has five sacks in his last five home games and 44.5 in 68 career games. Also, fellow end Antonio Smith tied a career-high with two sacks against Oakland.


New York Giants (2-2) At Houston Texans (3-1): An Overview

(Sports Network) – Who’d have guessed it would all happen in Houston?

The dream collision of unstoppable force and immovable object will apparently be occurring this weekend – sometime on Sunday after 12 p.m. CT – at the 70,000-seat Lone Star laboratory known to the non-scientific set as Reliant Stadium.

There, in an admittedly primitive 11-on-11 setting, the blue-clad control group known as the ‘New York Giants defense’ will be matched up against the white- shirted experimental group labeled as the ‘Houston Texans offense’ in an intermittent 60-minute clinical trial.

And at the end, either Gary Kubiak or Tom Coughlin becomes a 2011 Nobel Prize front-runner.

Anyone switching to NBC last weekend saw Coughlin’s Giants at their havoc- wreaking, ball-stopping best in the swamps of Jersey, battering Jay Cutler and Chicago understudy Todd Collins to the New Meadowlands turf no fewer than 10 times in a 17-3 rout.

Cutler, Collins and the rest of the Bears were snuffed to the tune of just 110 total yards and six first downs overall – including 51 passing yards and only one play beyond 20 yards – as New York leveled its record at 2-2 and remained viable atop a muddled NFC East.

“I have never seen or been a part of anything like this,” said Giants linebacker Jonathan Goff, who recorded 10 tackles and a half-sack. “The line did a great job and we all did a great job of playing together. It was scheme and execution and we put it all together. We played as one.”

On the other coast, the Texans were making do with replacement parts.

Houston escaped the silver and black hole of Oakland with a 31-24 triumph, in which it got 127 rush yards from Steve Slaton/Derrick Ward and saw six players not named Andre Johnson catch at least one pass from Matt Schaub in the absence of the balky-ankled All-Pro receiver.

Even tardy feature back Arian Foster ended up with 131 yards on the ground and another 56 on three catches after emerging from Kubiak’s don’t-be-late-for-a- position-meeting-during-the-week doghouse.

He scored twice and joined Emmitt Smith and Billy Sims as the only players in league history to have at least 500 rushing yards and 100 receiving yards through the first four games of a season.

The Texans lead the league in rushing (172.0 yards per game), are second in total offense (415.5 yards per game) and scored 30 or more points in each of their three wins.

Johnson is expected back this weekend but was listed on Wednesday’s injury report. He originally hurt the ankle two weekends ago and aggravated it in a loss to Dallas on Sept. 26.

Also back in the fold, albeit on the other side, is reigning AFC defensive rookie of the year Brian Cushing, who returned Monday after an offseason suspension for violation of the league’s PED policy.

Houston has been gashed for a league-worst 408 yards per game through four weeks.

“That’s a huge boost because he’s one of our leaders out there,” said Texans rookie Troy Nolan, who started in place of injured safety Eugene Wilson and picked off two Oakland passes. “So when he comes around it’s going to be another step up [for us]. It’s going to be a boost on our team.”


Texans' Andre Johnson a 'Game-Time Decision' Vs. Giants

Houston Texans star wide receiver Andre Johnson said Thursday he is planning to play Sunday against the New York Giants.

Texans coach Gary Kubiak is not ready to guarantee that, however.

Kubiak said that both Johnson and wide receiver Jacobs Jones will be “game-time decisions.”

" He [Johnson] was limited for practice, but he did practice and see how he comes out of it," Kubiak said. "It was very encouraging as we work toward the weekend.”


Giants At Texans: Keith Bulluck Unlikely To Play

New York Giants linebacker Keith Bulluck is not expected to play Sunday against the Houston Texas. The turf toe that kept him out against Chicago last Sunday is not improving quickly enough.

“It’s a frustrating situation for myself and I’m sure for the powers that be,” Bulluck told reporters. “I wasn’t brought here to rehab all season, so I need to hurry up and speed up my recovery.”

Just getting the recovery going, period, would be progress at this point. Tom Coughlin and Bulluck said the team is trying a new, unspecified treatment after previous strategies didn’t work.

“It hasn’t gotten worse, but it hasn’t gotten better,” Bulluck said. “I just gotta make sure I stay on top of everything, with my toe, with my football studies, with my knee. It’s just a lot. It’s early in the season.”

All Coughlin would say about Bulluck is “we’ll see if we can get him for next week.”

Bulluck, the Giants starting strong-side linebacker, would have played extensively this week against Houston. The Texans feature the NFL’s leading rusher, Arian Foster, and former Giant running back Derrick Ward.

Clint Sintim will start in Bulluck’s place, and defensive coordinator Perry Fewell expects the second-year linebacker to play much more than he did against the pass-happy Chicago Bears.

“Sintim will play a lot. Yes, he’s going to play a lot in this football game,” Fewell said. “he’s put in an excellent week of practice. We’ve liked the way he’s focused and the way he’s taken on the challenge of, hey I’m going to step up and do my part. So we’ve just got to wait until Sunday to see if he can fulfill that role.”


Former New York Giant Derrick Ward Happy As A Houston Texan

Former New York Giants running back Derrick Ward spent a miserable season-plus in Tampa Bay after opting to leave the Giants as a free agent after the 2008 season.

He is now a member of the Houston Texans, and his career seems to be on the upswing again.

Following a 2008 season in which he and Brandon Jacobs became only the fourth duo of running backs to each rush for 1,000 yards in a season, Ward signed with the Buccaneers as a free agent.
The Giants had shown interest in bringing back Ward only at a price much lower than the four-year, $17 million deal — with $6 million guaranteed — Tampa offered.

Ward never saw the last three years of that deal, as he was cut by the Bucs at the end of August after one disappointing season in which he rushed for only 409 yards and scored just three touchdowns for a 3-13 team.

“It was tough to see him that way because he’s a great back and he’s been through a lot of trials and tribulations lately,” Jacobs said of Ward’s season in Tampa. “He’s going to come through it. He just has to hang in there and show people he can still play football.”

Ward, who signed a veteran-minimum deal with Houston four days after Tampa cut him, did just that this past week against the Raiders when he rushed 12 times for 80 yards, including a 33-yard touchdown after breaking a pair of tackles. It was his best game since he rushed for 215 yards in the Giants’ overtime victory over the Panthers in Week 16 two seasons ago.

Giants fans remember Ward fondly, and appreciate what he did in New York. They just don’t want to see him do it against them. Have success, but against somebody else. Please!

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