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Giants D-Line stifles Bengals in crunch time

Posted Nov 15, 2016

Olivier Vernon led the Giants D-Line with a performance that would make Justin Tuck proud:

The Giants did Justin Tuck proud.

On the night the only player in NFL history to record multiple sacks in multiple Super Bowls was inducted into the team’s Ring of Honor, the pass rush helped seal a 21-20 victory over the Bengals. After linebacker Jonathan Casillas and defensive tackle Damon Harrison got to quarterback Andy Dalton on second down with under four minutes left in the game, defensive end Olivier Vernon sacked him again on third-and-17.

Cincinnati was forced to punt and never got the ball back.

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“We expect anybody on the defense to make plays,” Vernon said. “We’ve got a lot of playmakers that can do special things. To come out with a win, it was a great performance. We’ve got a lot to look forward to next week.”

The primetime win was just what general manager Jerry Reese and company had in mind over the offseason when they hauled in big-ticket free agents like Vernon.

The former Dolphin led the Giants with 10 tackles last night while extending his team-high tackles for loss to eight on the season. Coupled with Jason Pierre-Paul’s five tackles, two batted passes, and a pair of quarterback hits, Tuck sees that defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo has the talent for more “special things” down the road.

“I think they need to learn how to play with each other,” Tuck said before the game. “That’s evident. It took me, [Michael Strahan], and Osi [Umenyiora] a couple of turns to figure out where our strengths were playing with each other. We knew our strengths individually, but when you throw that much talent on the field at the same time, you have to figure out how to add those together and not be subtractions. A lot of times, you have two bookends, that can be a subtraction, not an addition.

“I talked to JPP [Sunday] night. It’s just learning how to play with each other. Me and Osi had signs and we didn’t have to say a word. We would look at each other and depending on what part of my jersey I touched, he knew what I was going to do. That chemistry stuff goes a long way. Hopefully as they continue to play with each other, that whole D-line, the talent is there to duplicate what we did. Spags loves it, and I know he wants to unleash that.”

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After having four sacks and two interceptions in the first five games, the Giants now have 10 of the former and seven of the latter in the last four outings. That’s no coincidence.

“It is supposed to work at stages,” said safety Landon Collins, who recorded an interception in his third consecutive game. “It starts with the D-line. We always say that it starts with the D-line. If they get a pressure or a push back, then it is going to be a tackle for loss or a play in the backfield that gives us an interception or something like that, and it starts with them. When they get going, we all get going.”

At 6-3 after four wins in a row, the Giants are doing just that.