Three Giants writers give their take on the team's 12-9 overtime win over the Chiefs:
In this week's Cover 3, our writers break down the New York Giants' 12-9 overtime victory over the Kansas City Chiefs.
In last week's Cover 3, I said that nothing else mattered until the Giants' defense got its act together. For at least one game, they did. The most important number in this game was: two. That is the advantage the Giants had in the turnover margin thanks to three interceptions. They showed great discipline when they picked off Travis Kelce's pass on a trick play. They intercepted Alex Smith two more times, twice as many as he has had all year. The defense controlled Kareem Hunt, who had just 76 total yards. The Chiefs had only two plays of 30 yards or more and no runs of 20 yards or more. The wind may have worked in the defense's favor, but to hold a team to no touchdowns, no matter the conditions, is an impressive feat. The Giants' defense will have to continue this level of play moving forward to get more results in the win column.
When the Giants lost their top four wide receivers in Week 5, Roger Lewis was presented with a golden opportunity. However, he had just one catch in each of the next three games and hauled in an inconsequential touchdown in the Giants' loss to the previously winless 49ers. In the meantime, Sterling Shepard, the only one of the four receivers whose season didn't end against the Chargers, got healthy, while tight end Evan Engram emerged as one of the best rookies in the league. Those circumstances put Lewis on the backburner – until Sunday.
Shepard was a late addition to the injury report due to an illness and did not suit up against the Chiefs. Again, opportunity presented itself for Lewis, and he took full advantage of it. It took 68 minutes into an overtime game, but Lewis eventually came down with the key play to set up the winning field goal. In a game where the Giants emptied the playbook and maximized all 46 players on their game-day roster, Lewis did his job to help seal a much-needed victory.
When you consider some of the most explosive offenses in the NFL, the Chiefs certainly come to mind given they have at least one weapon in every skill group who can take it the distance. Before Sunday, containing explosive plays had been a problem for the Giants. In the previous two weeks combined, the Rams and 49ers recorded 13 plays of 20 or more yards, including five touchdowns. That number dipped to two against the Chiefs (both of which came through the air, none on the ground) and they kept Kansas City out of the end zone. After their first nine games of the season, the Chiefs ranked fifth in the NFL in total offense and fifth in scoring offense, averaging 28 points per game. Despite the ups and downs of the Giants' defense this season, the fact that it was able to force the Chiefs to rely on a more dink-and-dunk offense says a lot about the discipline on the back end.
The defensive unit as a whole seemed to be running around the field much more aggressively and was able to finish plays, especially in open space. That was a huge difference from the previous two games. On top of that, Steve Spagnuolo's crew was opportunistic against the best team in the NFL when it comes to protecting the football. The Chiefs had committed just four turnovers in their first nine games yet they had three (all interceptions) against the Giants. To put things in perspective, Alex Smith had just one interception on the season. He doubled that total in Week 11. That gave the offense a short field and Eli Manning and company capitalized by scoring nine points off those takeaways.