AT A GLANCE
The Giants are rolling!
An outstanding performance by the defense enabled the Giants to overcome an injury to Daniel Jones and defeat the Cincinnati Bengals Sunday in Paul Brown Stadium, 19-17. The Giants scored a touchdown on their first offensive possession before adding four field goals.
Cincinnati had a chance to win the game when it took possession after a Giants punt at midfield with 57 seconds remaining. But on the first play of the series, quarterback Brandon Allen was sacked by Jaball Sheard, who forced a fumble that was recovered by Leonard Williams to secure the victory.
The Giants improved to 4-7 with their third consecutive victory – their longest streak since they won six in a row from Oct. 16-Nov. 27, 2016. That was the NFL's longest active streak without three consecutive victories. The Giants also won for the first time this season outside the NFC East and for the first time in seven games in Cincinnati.
More importantly, the Giants moved into a first-place tie with Washington atop the NFC East – but the Giants own the tiebreaker by virtue of their two victories over their division rivals. The Philadelphia Eagles can move back ahead of them with a victory tomorrow night against Seattle.
Six of the Giants' last seven games have been decided by three points or less, including three of their four victories.
The Giants will travel again next week and for the second time this season it will be to the west coast. They will visit the Seattle Seahawks in newly renamed Lumen Field. The series is tied, 9-9, but the Seahawks have a four-game winning streak with victories in 2011, 2013, 2014 and 2017 - only the 2014 game was played in Seattle. The teams last met on Oct. 22, 2017, when the Giants' early seven-point lead dissolved as Russell Wilson threw for 334 yards and three touchdowns. The Giants and Seahawks last faced each other in Seattle on Nov. 9, 2014, a 38-17 victory for the home team. Marshawn Lynch ran for four touchdowns in that game. The Giants are 3-5 in Seattle, including 1-3 since Lumen Field opened in 2002.
WHAT WE LEARNED ABOUT THE OFFENSE
Someone other than Daniel Jones played quarterback for the first time this season. Jones suffered a lower body injury on a seven-yard run in the third quarter. He participated in two more plays, including a two-yard pass to Wayne Gallman that he threw without moving his legs, before going to the ground in pain. Jones was replaced by Colt McCoy, the 11-year veteran and first-season Giant, who made his first appearance of the season with 9:39 remaining in the third quarter.
McCoy had last played on Oct. 6, 2019, when he started for Washington against New England. In his only action of the 2019 season, McCoy completed 18 of 27 passes for 122 yards, no touchdowns and one interception.
Jones returned for the start of the Giants' next offensive series. But he lasted just two plays and one pass and left the game for good after grabbing his right hamstring on an incompletion to Evan Engram.
For the second game in a row and third time this season, the Giants scored a touchdown on their first offensive possession when Gallman powered his way into the end zone from a yard out on fourth-and-goal. All three first-series scores have been on the ground, including Daniel Jones' 34-yard run two weeks ago vs. Philadelphia and Engram's three-yard run in Dallas on Oct. 11.
Gallman's touchdown was set up by Daniel Jones' 53-yard pass to Engram, the Giants' longest gain through the air this season. The previous long was Jones' 50-yard throw to Austin Mack at Washington on Nov. 8. The play was the Giants' second-longest of the year; Jones ran for 80 yards in Philadelphia on Oct. 22.
Engram lost a fumble at the Bengals' 15-yard line after an 18-yard gain when safety Vonn Bell punched the ball out of his hands, picked it up and returned it 30 yards with 8:35 remaining in the second quarter. The giveaway led to a field goal by Randy Bullock that gave Cincinnati a 10-7 lead. The turnover was the Giants' first since Jones threw an interception in the fourth quarter against Tampa Bay on Nov. 2. The Giants played 28 offensive series and ran 190 plays in 90:19 of possession time between turnovers.
Gallman finished with career-high totals of 24 carries and 94 yards. Engram caught six passes for a career-best 129 yards.
Shane Lemieux started his fourth consecutive game at left guard. Will Hernandez, the starter for 39 consecutive games before he went on the Reserve/Covid-19 list on Oct. 29, first entered the game for the third offensive series as part of Joe Judge's promised offensive line rotation.
View photos from the Week 12 matchup between the Giants and Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium.
WHAT WE LEARNED ABOUT THE DEFENSE
The Giants' defense played perhaps its best game of the season, holding their opponents without an offensive touchdown until 2:33 remaining in the game – and that after a questionable pass interference penalty on Darnay Holmes.
The Bengals gained only 155 yards, the lowest total by a Giants opponent since the Chicago Bears totaled 110 yards on Oct. 3, 2010. It was the smallest yardage total allowed by the Giants in a road game since Sept. 27, 2009, when the Buccaneers gained only 86 yards at Tampa Bay.
Leonard Williams continues to be a force on the Giants' defensive line – and not just because he came up with the game-clinching fumble recovery. Williams sacked Allen for an eight-yard loss on the first quarter. It was his sixth sack of the season, the second-highest total of his six-year career and one shy of his career-best 7.0 with the Jets in 2016.
Defensive end Nikos Lalos made his NFL debut a memorable one as he intercepted a Brandon Allen pass with 32 seconds remaining in the third quarter. Lalos, a rookie free agent from Dartmouth, was signed off the Giants' practice squad yesterday.
Safeties Jabrill Peppers and Logan Ryan each had a team-high six tackles.
Giants.com hands out game balls to the top performers from the Giants' 19-17 win over the Bengals in Week 12.
WHAT WE LEARNED ABOUT SPECIAL TEAMS
An event that seldom occurs in a Giants game took place early in the first quarter when Brandon Wilson returned a kickoff 103 yards for a touchdown that tied the score at 7-7. Wilson was the first Giants opponent to score on a kickoff return since Sept. 24, 2015, when Washington's Rashad Ross brought one back 101 yards in MetLife Stadium. It was the first kickoff return touchdown allowed by the Giants in a road game in 30 years. On Sept. 16, 1990, Dallas rookie Alexander Wright returned a kickoff 90 yards for the Cowboys' only score in a 28-7 Giants victory in Texas Stadium. Wilson's touchdown was the fifth via kickoff return in the NFL this season.
Wilson's return was the longest play in Bengals history by one yard. It was the longest touchdown allowed by the Giants since Chicago's Devin Hester returned a missed field goal 108 yards for a score on Nov. 12, 2006
Graham Gano kicked field goals of 49 yards in the second quarter, 40 yards in the third and 39 and 32 in the fourth to extend his streak to 24 consecutive made attempts. The first field goal broke a tie with Aldrick Rosas (20 in a row from 2018-19) for the second-longest streak in Giants history. Josh Brown holds the franchise record with 29 success in a row from 2014-15.
In addition to the kickoff return, the Giants were victimized for a seven-yard gain on a fake punt in the third quarter. The ball was snapped directly to up-back Shawn Williams.
NYG: Quarterback Daniel Jones left the game with a right hamstring injury in the third quarter. Safety/special teamer Nate Ebner suffered a knee injury in the first quarter and did not return. Linebacker Kyler Fackrell injured his quad in the third quarter and was unable to return.
CIN: None reported.
NYG: The Giants' inactive players were kicker Ryan Santoso, linebackers TJ Brunson and Trent Harris, defensive back Montre Hartage, offensive lineman Kyle Murphy and defensive lineman RJ McIntosh.
CIN: Cincinnati's inactive players were kicker Austin Seibert, wide receiver Mike Thomas, center B.J. Finney, guard Keaton Sutherland and tackle Fred Johnson.
CIN: Brandon Allen made his fourth career start and first of the season at quarterback for Cincinnati. He placed Joe Burrow, the No. 1 overall selection in the 2020 NFL Draft, who suffered a serious knee injury last week in Washington.