Giants finally win first game of season over Vikings

 

Giants head coach Tom Coughlin is quick to explain that earning a win in the NFL, regardless of the opponent’s record, is a big deal, so he’ll gladly take the sloppy 23-7 win over the hapless Vikings.

“It’ll be good to win and correct, which in my opinion is a much better way to teach,” said Coughlin. “I’m happy for our players, our coaches and our owners. It’s nice to get one again and say, ‘Oh, this is what it feels like.’”

New York (1-6) got back to that winning feeling by using a surprisingly staunch defense that throttled the league’s defending rushing champion Adrian Peterson and harassed newly signed quarterback Josh Freeman all night. Peterson could only muster 28 yards for the Vikings (1-5), while Freeman was wildly inaccurate in going 20-of-53 for 190 yards, no touchdowns and an interception.

Peterson, who is the league’s reigning MVP, has been underused in recent weeks as he followed up last week’s 10-carry afternoon with just 13 totes Monday night. Part of that frustration was undoubtedly because the scoreboard dictated a pass-heavy game plan, as the Giants defense technically pitched a shutout.

But Peterson’s angst was also caused by a Big Blue defense that made it their sole mission to make the running back black and blue.

“We came with a lot of purpose,” said safety Antrel Rolle. “He’s an MVP and the best running back in the league, so for us to hold him to such short yardage speaks volume of our defense. It was a mentality.”

The Giants’ mentality on the offensive end was to use a ball-control tempo and minimize mistakes. Both were accomplished as quarterback Eli Manning was efficient and methodical in going 23-of-39 for 200 yards and one touchdown. And even more importantly, he had no turnovers for the first time all season.

The running game didn’t offer much support, but newly signed tailback Peyton Hillis (36 yards on 18 carries) and rookie Michael Cox (23 yards on 11 carries) provided just enough. Hillis scored a touchdown and registered a couple of key safety-valve catches out of the backfield (five catches for 45 yards), while Cox was hot early in tallying all but one of his yards on the opening drive.

“We had 32 attempts, not a lot of yards, but we continued to try and run the ball which balances things out. It’s better for us that way,” said Coughlin. “Peyton Hillis did a nice job of coming right off the [free-agent] workout and onto the field for us. Michael Cox did a god job, too. To go from scout squad to playing on Monday night is quite an achievement.”

Manning was also appreciative of the way those two new faces in the huddle played — particularly the veteran Hillis, who was unemployed just a week ago.

“I thought Peyton played really well in a week’s notice. He understood [pass] protections, knew when to chip and knew when to get out in the routes and get check-downs on third downs,” said Manning. “He’ll be good for us [because] he’s a big, strong athletic running back and it’ll be good to have him going forward down the road.”

Before the Giants look forward, they are happy to look back on nearly a calendar year between winning games that count in the standings. Heading into their Monday night matchup it had been 295 days since the Giants enjoyed the satisfaction of winning a meaningful game.

Rolle said there was both relief and joy in finally getting off the schneid.

“It’s a little bit of everything [emotionally]. We’ve been fighting hard for six weeks despite our record and coming up short. But it was good to just have fun tonight,” Rolle said. “All we need to do is believe, keep this wonderful feeling of winning and get back to work. … We have a great opponent coming up in Philly.”

The NFC East-rival Eagles (3-4) are indeed next on the docket, which means there will be little time for the Giants to pat themselves on the back.

“It’s good to be smiling and having a little excitement after a game,” said Manning. “It was good to get that winning feeling again. It can be frustrating when we work so hard in practice and compete in games, but not get the results we wanted. We needed one, so hopefully we can keep it going.”

Big Blue notes …

» The Giants have allowed three punt-return touchdowns this season. The rest of the NFL has allowed four total. Vikings cornerback Marcus Sherels returned a Steve Weatherford punt 86 yards for a touchdown to get Minnesota on the board for its only points.

Vikings rookie wideout Cordarrelle Patterson also almost got into the end zone as he returned a kickoff 69 yards before getting bumped out of bounds by Rolle.

Follow Giants beat writer Tony Williams on Twitter @MetroNYSports.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Bloomberg: Going green will grant you longer life…

Former NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg tells Metro that cities are where fighting global warming can make a difference, and increase people’s lifespan.

International

Ban Ki Moon: "Climate change is an issue…

My message to you is: make your voice heard and your actions count. Change is in the air. Solutions exist. The race is on. It’s time to lead.

Local

Earth Day New York food toolkits to help…

Hundreds of classrooms across New York City already have indoor container gardens that allow students to grow food right where they learn. But Earth Day…

Local

NYPD announces street closures for United Nations General…

The United Nations representatives are in town, and multiple city streets will be closed to traffic through Saturday, Sept. 26. The NYPD is urging those…

Television

10 Facts you won’t learn about Frankie Grande…

Frankie Grande is the worst and/or the best. Whether or not you're a fan, you'll want to know these facts about the polarizing player from "Big Brother 16."

Movies

Antoine Fuqua can kill someone with just a…

It's amazing what you can get done with the right tools. In designing the climactic battle in "the Equalizer," in which Denzel Washington's retired special…

Movies

Guess Ben Kingsley's worst filmmaking experience

Here's a fun game: Sir Ben Kingsley has made a lot of films since "Gandhi" in 1982, but at least one of them was a…

Books

Does Lena Dunham have any secrets left?

Get a sneak peek at her new book to determine if it’s worth the read.

NFL

3 things that went wrong in Jets loss…

The Jets have very little room for error with a far-from-explosive offense.

NFL

Eli Manning finally feeling good in West Coast…

The Giants have very little time before their next game, but they still took a moment to relish the team’s biggest offensive outburst since Week 1 of 2013.

College

College football top 25 poll: Oregon, Alabama close…

College football top 25 poll: Oregon, Alabama close in on FSU

NFL

Jay Cutler takes Marc Trestman's coaching to heart

While Jay Cutler turned to an autobiography on the man who would be his head coach, Trestman had personal experience with the player.

Wellbeing

Exercising leads to more drinking — and we…

  We’re rewarding ourselves with more than dessert on days we exercise, according to a new study. On days when people exercise more, typically Thursday…

Wellbeing

5 gadgets to protect you from sharks, concussions,…

The medical industry is inundated with devices looking after all aspects of your wellbeing, from monitoring your sleep patterns to warding off shark attacks. We…

Wellbeing

Narcissism and the ugly side of vanity

I have a friend who constantly talks about herself and rarely asks any questions about my life. She is constantly preening, obsessed with her body,…

Wellbeing

Lacking new ideas, Apple Watch disappoints health experts

Technology pundits were quick to predict the demise of most fitness wristbands and smartwatches when the Apple Watch was announced. But health care professionals and…