On Monday night, the New York Giants ended the six-game losing streak that haunted the start of their 2013 season as they were finally able to get their first win of the season by defeating the Minnesota Vikings 23-7.
It was a rather ugly game for both teams, but in a showdown of a 1-4 team playing an 0-6 team on national television, the Giants were able to show the world that they were the better of the two teams and would not allow themselves to drop to 0-7 on the season.
The Giants got the ball first, took it 17 plays for 68 yards and ground 9:36 off the clock to start the game, although the result ended up being a 35-yard field goal for Josh Brown, who had not attempted a field goal in two games, but Brown made the kick and got the Giants up 3-0.
With 23 seconds left to go in the first quarter, Marcus Sherels received a 51-yard punt by Steve Weatherford and took it back 86 yards for a touchdown and this was the only time the Vikings had a lead in the game, as they were up 7-3 in the game. For a brief moment though, Giants fans everywhere were thinking that a 0-7 start could have been a reality.
The Giants were able to respond early in the second quarter, as Manning drove the field on the Vikings defense, going 82 yards on seven plays, which ended up with the Giants quarterback finding Rueben Randle for a 24-yard touchdown strike, and the Giants went back up 10-7.
Both offenses though would struggle to generate any kind of offense for the rest of the first half, although the Giants holding Adrian Peterson to eight carries for nine yards was an extremely impressive job for Perry Fewell's group.
In the third quarter, the Giants caught a break after Randle coughed up a punt return which was recovered by the Vikings on the Giants 31-yard line, but two plays later, Josh Freeman, who was signed by the team this past week, was intercepted by Antrel Rolle and prevented the Vikings from taking the lead or at least tying the game with a field goal attempt.
With nine minutes left to go in the game, the Giants punted to Sherels, who fumbled the ball on Minnesota's own 13 yard line and the ball ended up in the arms of Zak DeOssie on the Giants own three-yard line, giving the Giants excellent field position on their next drive. Two plays later, Peyton Hillis marched in from one-yard out to score his first touchdown of the 2013 season and put the Giants up 17-7 in the game.
In the end of the third quarter and heading into the fourth quarter, the Giants were able to put together a 16-play, 75-yard drive that saw the Giants go 3-for-4 on third down plays, but Brown had to come out again and convert on a 23-yard field goal, which put the Giants up 20-7 with 12:19 left in the game.
On the next kickoff, Brown short-kicked it, which ended up being picked up by Vikings defensive tackle Shariff Floyd, who proceeded to fumble the ball when Damontre Moore knocked the ball loose and was picked up by Jacquian Williams at the Vikings 23 yard line, giving the Giants another chance to add to their lead.
The Giants weren't able to move the ball much on the drive, but Brown did connect on his third field goal, a 36-yard conversion to put the Giants up 23-7 with 11:07 to go in the game.
After that, the Vikings got the ball back on three series, and the Giants defense was able to force Freeman and company to turn the ball over on downs every single time, the final one with :19 left in the game. Manning came back onto the field and took one final knee, and the Giants were able to watch the final 19 second tick off the clock and the team was able to get their first win by beating Minnesota 23-7 on Monday night.
One of the most impressive things the Giants were able to do was hold Adrian Peterson to 13 carries for 28 yards and no touchdowns along with two receptions for 28 yards and no touchdowns. Holding the best running back in the league to 56 total yards is a great job for a defense that has been under a lot of fire the entire season and pitched a shutout of the Vikings offense in this one.
The Giants also forced the newly-signed Freeman to go 20-for-53 with 190 yards and no touchdowns with one interception. 33 incompletions and no offensive points is why the broadcasters on ESPN were wondering why Freeman didn't get benched for anyone else. Both Jon Gruden and Mike Tirico couldn't have expressed enough adjectives on how poorly Freeman played for the Vikings in this game, but with his poor play, it allowed the Giants to get the win and go to 1-6.
One of the biggest positives for the Giants was that Manning did not throw a pick in his first game all season; as he went 23-for-39 for 200 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions. Heading into the game, Manning lead the NFL with 15 picks, but did not allow himself to get picked off in this game.
Now off their first victory of the season and able to avoid going 0-7, the now 1-6 Giants will get a re-match with one of their NFC East rivals who beat them three weeks earlier in the Philadelphia Eagles, who are coming off a 17-3 loss to the Dallas Cowboys this past week and dropped to 3-4. With the Eagles looking dreadful on offense, the Giants might be able to head into the "City of Brotherly Love" with some momentum on their side and a chance to extract revenge on the Eagles.
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