East Rutherford, NJ—-One thing the NY Giants have mastered this year is to play 60 minutes of football competing on every down.
The G-Men upped their record to 7-2 on Sunday, defeating the pesky 1-7-1 Houston Texans, 24-16 at MetLife Stadium.
The Giants improved their best nine-game record since they were 8-1 in 2008. They have won more than six games in a season for the first time since their 11-5 run in 2016.
New York rushed for 191 yards and one touchdown on 47 attempts making it their fourth-highest total of the season (262 vs. Chicago, 238 at Tennessee and 236 at Jacksonville). In their last match-up against the Seahawks, the Giants ran for a season-low 78 yards at Seattle.
It was a win by committee but Dexter Lawrence was a total beast making Texans quarterback Davis Mills uncomfortable in the pocket all game long.
His drive was unstoppable recording five tackles (one for a loss), one pass defended, five quarterback hits, and one sack.
Giants defensive coordinator Wink Martindale, who has been around the NFL block a few dozen times, wasn’t being coy when he called Lawrence his most “favorite player’’ he’s ever coached.
“Dex’ has been in quarterbacks’ faces this whole damn season,’’ Giants defensive Jihad Ward said. “He’s definitely the core of the defense. He’s a big, bad mother—-ing core, and I’m proud of him.’’
Saquon Barkley carried the workload for the Giants. He rushed a career-high 35 times for 152 yards. Barkley now has 16 career 100-yard rushing games, four of those this season. His previous career-high in carries came in Week 4 of this season, carrying 31 times for 146 yards in a 20-12 victory over the Bears.
Giants’ quarterback Daniel Jones completed 13 of 17 passes for 197 yards and two touchdowns. He had a passer rating of 153.3 and was sacked three times.
“It’s never gonna be easy. We want to be cleaner, for sure. That’s kind of the goal, to have clean games. But, this is this is our style of game right now,” said safety Julian Love. “What we did today is just getting after it, making some plays, getting some three-and-outs early. I thought we were fanatical on defense today. And the offense made plays when we needed to.”
The Texans had plenty of chances in the red zone but shot themselves in the foot by turnovers. Dameon Pierce gashed the Giants defense for some huge runs. Pierce finished the game with 94-yards on 17 carries.
On second-and-goal from the New York’s 10-yard line Pierce got hit, fumbled the ball, and linebacker Jaylon Smith recovered with 14:09 to play in the contest.
With 9:49 on the clock, Dane Belton intercepted a Davis Mills pass in the end zone. That came one play after a 19-yard Mills to Brandin Cooks touchdown pass was negated by a holding penalty on guard Kenyon Green.
Houston trimmed the lead to 21-13, when Ka’imi Fairbairn booted a 34-yard field goal with 2:22 on the clock. Tight-end Lawrence Cager recovered the onside kick and Graham Gano smashed a long 49-yard field goal with 1:55 left to make it 24-13. Another long Fairbairn field goal with :07 left made the score 24-16. Adoree’ Jackson recovered the ensuing onside kick to ice the victory.
The Giants got a 9-yard touchdown catch by Cager, a 54-yard touchdown catch and run by Darius Slayton, and a 2-yard touchdown run by Barkley.
Mills, who was 22 of 37 for 319 yards, threw a 12-yard touchdown pass to Nico Collins. Fairbairn kicked field goals of 38, 34, and 46 yards for the Texans.
“Obviously, the frustration is there,” Mills said. “No one likes losing, especially me. That’s probably the worst feeling I can ever imagine, is losing something when you’re putting in all the hours to go out there and win games and it’s just not happening.”
Darius Slayton finished with three catches for 95 yards.
“You’re always happy. It beats the alternative. It’s hard to win this league. There’s a lot of good coaches, a lot of good teams,” said Giants head coach Brian Daboll. “Like I said earlier in the week, if you play well, you have a chance, doesn’t guarantee you anything. If you do the things that cause you to lose, you’re probably gonna lose no matter what team you are.
“Our job is just to focus on things that we can do each drive, each play, each day to practice not get too far ahead of ourselves in terms of where the results are. Just stay in the moment.”
Texans: Return home to play the Commanders on Sunday.
Giants: Host Lions on Sunday.