Safety Landon Collins
Collins’ play has digressed as of late. However, he was back to his All-Pro, Pro Bowl self against the Chiefs. He led the Giants with 15 tackles and also chipped in an interception and a defended pass. Collins was causing havoc all over the field and instrumental in holding one of the NFL’s most explosive offenses to nine points. He has been the Giants’ best defensive player since he was drafted and Sunday he reminded everyone what he’s capable of.
Cornerback Janoris Jenkins
Let’s be honest: Jackrabbit did not have a good game in last week’s loss to the San Francisco 49ers. His day was so awful, so unJackrabbitlike, that head coach Ben McAdoo called out his effort without necessarily calling out his name. No one questioned Jenkins’ effort against the Chiefs. Even when plays didn’t go his way, you could see that Jenkins was out to prove the 49ers game was just an aberration. His biggest contribution to the game were the two interceptions were vintage Jackrabbit: ball snatched, dreadlocks flying underneath his helmet as defense quickly turned into offense. Notice the words “two interceptions”. The first one was right before the two-minute warning in the fourth quarter that set up a Giants field goal. The second one was with 1:38 left in the game that would have sealed a Giants victory in regulation had it not been wiped out by a pass interference call. I’m not sure why that call was reversed because the offensive player had no chance of catching the ball…but I digress.
Wide receiver Roger Lewis
Lewis was, perhaps, best known for catching the 300th touchdown pass of Eli Manning’s career last season. Other than that, his NFL career was a blip. He was only in the game against the Chiefs because of the injuries that have ravaged the Giants receiving corps. Lewis led the Giants with 55 receiving yards on three catches. It was his final catch, a 34-yard grab on his backside that drew a pass interference call on Chiefs cornerback Phillip Gaines, that sealed the Giants’ victory. Lewis is showing that he can make plays downfield if the coaching staff is willing to take that chance. He definitely showed he can more than just a blip against the Chiefs.
Quarterback Eli Manning
Manning started his 209th consecutive regular season game Sunday, passing his brother Peyton for second all-time and only a mere 86 games behind the Hall of Famer Brett Favre. His numbers didn’t exactly qualify for the All-Madden Team: 19-of-35 for 205 yards, a quarterback rating of 71.7 and QBR of 75.8. No. 10, however, played the game in the way you’d expect from a two-time Super Bowl winning quarterback. Manning made the plays the Giants needed at the exact moment they needed them. He reminded the world that it takes more than gaudy stats to win a game in the NFL, especially with a wide receiving corps missing their top three receivers.
Tight end Evan Engram
Engram was pretty quiet Sunday, which is surprising considering that no one will confuse the Chiefs defense with the ’85 Bears. He had one catch for nine yards on six targets. In Engram’s defense, what would have been a huge play was negated by a pass interference call that could be best described as questionable. At the same time, he should have had a field day in this game and didn’t do so. He’s still a rookie and games like this are going to happen. Let’s hope they are few and far between.
Defensive tackle Jason Pierre-Paul
JPP did have some moments against the Chiefs, specifically one of his two defended passes that ended up picked off by Damon Harrison. For the most part, Pierre-Paul was quiet Sunday. He only had five tackles with no sacks or quarterback hits. Pierre-Paul hasn’t been himself as of late, even with his running mate Olivier Vernon in the lineup. If the Giants defense is going to muster some semblance of its 2016 form, it begins with the defensive line and JPP. It’s been said Pierre-Paul does more with eight and a half fingers than most defensive ends can do with two good hands. Unfortunately, he hasn’t been showing that lately.
Kicker Aldrick Rosas
On one hand, Rosas did kick two field goals including the game winner in overtime. On the other hand, it’s the kick that Rosas missed that perhaps made overtime happen in the first place. After Orleans Darkwa scored the game’s only touchdown, Rosas missed the point after attempt. It’s uncertain if he missed the kick because of the windy conditions at MetLife Stadium or if he just flubbed it. Rosas has missed a kick in his last five games: four field goals and one PAT. His once dependence foot is looking more and more suspect. The Giants walked away with their first home win of the season, but Rosas’ inconsistent leg cannot be ignored.
The trick plays on both sides that were intercepted
Both the Giants and Chiefs turned the ball over on trick plays. The Giants turned the ball over on a halfback option thrown by Shane Vereen while former high school quarterback Travis Kelce threw one for the Chiefs. Football prides itself on being an intellectual chess match played by gladiators who sacrifice their bodies for the game. It doesn’t help when Ben McAdoo and Andy Reid, in the words of Rodney Harrison, “get too cute” and start trying things that I wouldn’t do with a controller in my hand.
The game itself
The ugliness of the game is not an insult to the players or coaches. It was a gritty, grimy contest that reminded me of the way football used to be played. They weren’t very many highlights of this game (with the exceptions of Jenkins’ picks and Lewis channeling his inner Beckham to set up the game-winning field goal) because it wasn’t very pretty. After all, the Giants and Chiefs combined for 21 points in a game that wasn’t clinched until the 1:54 mark in overtime. NFL teams frequently run up the score and sometimes a fan is confused as to whether or not it’s Saturday or Sunday. The ugliness of this game is an example of the beauty of how football was once played…before the analytics and rules changed made the NFL into a real-life video game.