Nov 14, 2016; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants running back Rashad Jennings (23) celebrates his first down run during the second half at MetLife Stadium. The Giants defeated the Bengals 21-20. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports
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The New York Giants were able to defeat the Cincinnati Bengals on Monday Night Football. Who were five players that stepped up?
The New York Giants were able to get a big win on Monday Night Football against the Cincinnati Bengals. Despite being slight underdogs, the Giants were able to keep pace in the NFC East with a win against the Bengals.
For the most part, the Giants outplayed the Bengals in the game, but a few big plays led to the Bengals keeping it much closer than it should have been. The Giants started out great on their first drive, as they were able to go right down the field on the Bengals for a touchdown.
Unfortunately, that lead did not last long for the Giants, as they allowed a big play to Tyler Eifert after the Bengals confused them with a strange formation. The other Bengals score in the first half would come because of an Eli Manning interception, but the defense held them to just three points despite starting in the red zone.
The third quarter was not good for the Giants, as they appeared to be on the verge of getting a loss after a big kick return switched the momentum completely in the second half. The Giants were able to weather the storm of the Bengals in the third quarter and responded with a good final quarter to get the win.
There were multiple players who played well for the Giants, but a few were clearly difference makers. Here are six players who stepped up for the Giants on Monday Night Football.
Nov 14, 2016; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants strong safety Landon Collins (21) intercepts a pass from Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton (14) (not shown) during the second half at MetLife Stadium. The Giants defeated the Bengals 21-20. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports
Since being drafted Giants safety Landon Collins has taken a lot of criticism for his inability to cover in the secondary. At times, Collins has looked lost in pass coverage, and mistakes by him have hurt the Giants in the past.
This is just the second season for Collins in the NFL, and in recent weeks he has begun to emerge as a difference-maker in the secondary. Starting in London against the Los Angeles Rams, Collins has been playing his best stretch of football since being drafted by the Giants. In the win overseas, Collins totaled two interceptions, one of which he was able to return for a touchdown.
In the Giants last game against the Philadelphia Eagles, Collins was able to intercept another pass in addition to his 12 tackles. On Monday Night Football, Collins was able to intercept his fourth pass in three games on Andy Dalton in the fourth quarter. The timing of the turnover came at a great time for the Giants, as Collins helped prevent a fourth quarter comeback for the Bengals.
Collins is playing at an extremely high level for the Giants the past few weeks. If this type of play continues, the Giants have a budding star in the middle of their secondary.
Oct 21, 2016; Brentford, United Kingdom; New York Giants defensive tackle Damon Harrison takes a selfie at press conference at the Syon House prior to game 16 of the NFL International Series against the Los Angeles Rams. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
One of the biggest signings for the Giants in the offseason was getting defensive tackle Damon Harrison to switch teams in New York. For a few seasons, Harrison was a dominant run-stuffer for the New York Jets, and he showed that on the bright lights of Monday night football.
The Bengals have a very nice duo in their backfield with Giovani Bernard and Jeremy Hill, but the Giants did an excellent job containing the Bengals on the ground. As a team, the Bengals only totaled 78 rushing yards on 23 carries.
Hill was the team’s leading rusher with 46 rushing yards on 15 carries, but that is a rather unimpressive 3.1 yards per carry. Bernard didn’t do any better, as he was limited to 17 rushing yards on seven carries.
Part of the reason for both of the Bengals running backs having a tough night was the play of Harrison in the middle. In the win, Harrison totaled eight tackles, 0.5 sacks, and 1.5 tackles for loss.
Last season, the Giants had one of the worst defenses in the NFL. Stopping the run was a major issue for them, but on Monday night, it was one of the reasons why they won the game. Harrison was a force in the middle and was one of the Giants defensive linemen that played very well in the win.
Oct 23, 2016; London, United Kingdom; Los Angeles Rams quarterback Case Keenum (17) is tackled by New York Giants defensive end Olivier Vernon (54) and defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul (90) during game 16 of the NFL International Series at Twickenham Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Part of the Giants spending spree of the offseason went to the signing of defensive end Olivier Vernon. This offseason, Vernon was one of the biggest prizes on the defensive side of the ball in free agency, and the Giants were ecstatic to bring him in.
In 2015 with the Miami Dolphins, Vernon totaled 7.5 sacks and was becoming one of the bright young defensive ends in the league. Despite the spending, this offseason, sacking the quarterback has been an issue for the Giants. Vernon has taken some criticism from fans and the media for his lack of production so far this season, but he has played better than his numbers would indicate.
On Monday night, Vernon was able to have arguably his best game of the season. In the win, Vernon led the Giants in tackles with 10, and he also totaled one sack with two tackles for losses. Vernon played very well against both the pass and the run for the Giants against the Bengals, as he was part of a great performance by their defensive line.
There was a lot to like about how the Giants defense performed on Monday. If Vernon is starting to find his groove with his new team, the Giants will be poised for a great second-half of the season.
Nov 14, 2016; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (13) dances during warmups before a game against the Cincinnati Bengals at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Odell Beckham Jr.
Coming into Monday Night Football, all eyes were on two of the best wide receivers in the NFL. A.J. Green and Odell Beckham Jr. are without a doubt two of the best players in the league, and the head-to-head showdown was a good one.
On the bright lights of Monday night, Green played very well for the Bengals. In the loss, he totaled seven receptions, 68 receiving yards, and one receiving touchdown. The numbers might have been better for Green if he didn’t get a little banged up in the fourth quarter, as he was noticeably limping around.
Even though Green played well, it was Beckham who won the matchup on Monday night. In the win, Beckham totaled 10 receptions, 97 receiving yards, and one receiving touchdown. On Beckham’s touchdown, he also won some style points by breaking out into Michael Jackson’s Thriller dance.
During the game, Beckham was able to reach a milestone, as he became the youngest player to reach 3,500 receiving yards in NFL history. In just his third season, Beckham continues to amaze for the Giants. It might not have been his best game, but Beckham was able to play well in the win without having Victor Cruz in the lineup.
Nov 14, 2016; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants running back Rashad Jennings (23) celebrates with New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning (10) after running for a game-ending first down against the Cincinnati Bengals during the fourth quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
If the Giants have had one glaring weakness this season, it has been their inability to run the football. Due to injuries to Rashad Jennings and Shane Vereen, the Giants came into Monday night averaging the fewest rushing yards per game in the NFL.
The Giants don’t have a great offensive line to run behind either, and it was weaker against the Bengals without Justin Pugh. Despite struggling to run the ball for most of the season, Jennings was able to ice the game for the Giants with a few huge runs at the end of the game.
Having just a one-point lead in the fourth quarter led many to believe that the Giants were going to be hard pressed to run the clock down on the Bengals. However, Jennings and the offensive line were able to get the job done with a few minutes left on the clock to earn the win.
In the win, Jennings totaled 87 rushing yards on 15 carries for a really impressive 5.8 yards per carry average. The 87 rushing yards was the most in a game for Jennings this season, as he has really been held back by injuries so far. If this is a sign of things to come for the Giants offense, closing out games will become much easier with their defense and new-found running game.