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