The offense gained 5,687 yards, a 474-yard decline from the team-record 6,161 yards the 2011 offense produced (which was the second consecutive 6,000-yard season, the only two in franchise history). The Giants dipped from eighth in total offense (385.1 yards a game) to 14th (355.4).
But while the yardage went down, the points went up. In 2012, the Giants scored 429 points, the second-highest total in franchise history (the 1963 Giants scored 448 points). The 2011 Giants team that won Super Bowl XLVI scored 394 regular-season points.
The Giants scored precisely the same number of touchdowns in 2011 and 2012 – 47. But in 2012 they kicked 33 field goals, compared to 19 the previous season. The other scoring differences: the Giants kicked three more extra points and had three fewer two-point conversions and two fewer safeties in 2012.
The 2012 season was the fifth in the 88-year history of the franchise in which the Giants scored more than 400 points. Four of them have occurred since Tom Coughlin became head coach in 2004: 2012 (429 points), 2008 (427), 2005 (422) and 2009 (402).
*The defense allowed 6,134 yards, or 383.4 yards a game, both the highest figures in franchise history (the defense gave up 6,022 yards in the 2011 championship season, the only two seasons in which the Giants allowed 6,000 yards in their history). The unit was ranked 31st in the NFL. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it is the first time the Giants’ defense was ranked second-to-last in the NFL since 1966.
The biggest reason for the inflated opposing yardage total was the difficulty the Giants’ defense had in preventing long pass plays. The Giants allowed 60 passes of 20 or more yards (the NFL’s fourth-highest total), 29 passes of at least 30 yards (led the NFL) and 13 passes of 40 or more yards (second in the league).
But while the defense allowed a lot of yards, it was relatively stingy when it came to giving up points. Giants opponents scored 344 points, or 56 fewer than their foes scored in 2011. That left them tied for 12th in scoring defense. The Giants were not the only NFL team to finish 19 slots better in scoring defense than yardage allowed. The Atlanta Falcons, the NFC’s top seed, were 24th in total defense, but fifth in points given up.
Two significant reasons for the improvement in scoring defense were the defense’s performance in the red zone and takeaways.
In 2011, the Giants surrendered 34 touchdowns on 61 opposing trips inside their 20-yard line, a 55.7 touchdown percentage that left them tied with their Super Bowl opponents, New England, for 21st in the league. This season, the Giants allowed only 23 touchdowns on 50 opposing possessions in the red zone, a 46.0 percentage that was sixth in the NFL.
The Giants were fourth in the NFL in both takeaways (35, four more than they had in 2011) and turnover differential (plus-14, a significant improvement over 2011’s plus-7).
The plus-14 was the Giants’ best turnover differential since they were plus-25 in 1997. The Giants intercepted 21 passes in 2012, their highest total since they had 27 picks, also in 1997.
*The Giants’ impressive turnover differential left Coughlin had plus-61 in his 17-year career as an NFL head coach (including plus-27 with the Giants). That places him third among active head coaches, behind New England’s Bill Belichick (plus-126) and Green Bay’s Mike McCarthy (plus-76).
*The Giants punted 58 times in 2012, their lowest total ever in a 16-game season and their lowest total in a non-strike season since they had 47 punts in a 14-game season in 1972 (they had 49 punts in the strike-shortened, nine-game season in 1982).
Their previous low total in a 16-game season was 64 punts in 1991, 2008 and 2009.
for any Giant since Tiki Barber had 2,127 in 2006. It was not, however, the highest total by an NFL rookie this season. That honor went to Tampa Bay’s Doug Martin – who was selected immediately prior to Wilson in the 2012 NFL Draft – who had … 1,926 total yards.
Wilson’s 227 kickoff return yards vs. New Orleans on Dec. 9 were the most by an NFL player in a game this season.
*The Giants’ 33 field goals were the fourth-highest total in franchise history; in 1983, 2005 and 2008, the Giants kicked 35 field goals.
*Manning’s 510-yard passing performance vs. Tampa Bay on Sept. 16 was the second-highest total by an NFL quarterback in 2012 – and the highest total in a game that was completed in four quarters. Houston’s Matt Schaub threw for 527 yards in an overtime victory over Jacksonville on Nov. 18.
*Manning continues to rise on the NFL’s all-time passing lists. His 211 career touchdown passes leave him in 26th place, just one behind Hall of Famer Terry Bradshaw. Manning’s 31,527 career yards place him 33rd in history, just 21 yards behind No. 32 John Brodie. Manning is 32nd in pass attempts (4,457, 18 passes behind Ken Anderson) and 30th in completions (2,612, 42 behind Anderson).
*Bradshaw’s 200-yard rushing outing vs. Cleveland on Oct. 7 was one of eight 200-yard games by NFL runners in 2012. Players from NFC teams accounted for six of the eight 200-yard games, including two by Minnesota’s Adrian Peterson.
*Esoteric stat of the year: the Giants set a franchise record in 2012 with 37 first downs by penalty, break the former mark of 36, set in 1997.