Giants defense roars to life in win over Rams
Four interceptions help power New York to 17-10 victory over Rams
After six frustrating weeks, the Giants defense snared four interceptions in the team's 17-10 win in London.
LONDON >> For six frustrating weeks, the New York Giants defense wondered why they couldn’t get their hands on the ball. They finally found it in London — and hope to bring that turnover mojo back home.
The Giants had four interceptions Sunday against the Los Angeles Rams, tripling their season total, as turnovers and pressure up front proved decisive in a 1710 win .
Landon Collins returned the first pick 44 yards for a touchdown, the second 18 yards into Rams territory to set up his team’s only touchdown on offense. He’d managed only one interception in his previous 22 games. Dominique Antonio-Cromartie batted cleanup, catching two ill-advised Case Keenum lobs into the end zone to kill the Rams’ final bids for a comeback.
And all afternoon, a swarming front four and linebacker corps kept Todd Gurley under control
and Keenum scrambling for space.
Keenum said he was surprised at the aggressiveness of the Giants’ pass rush, with ‘backers and safeties coming more frequently on blitzes than the Rams had expected based on game tape. He was sacked three times and fumbled twice, recovering both.
“They came after us numerous times (with) zero coverage behind it,” Keenum said. “I thought our line did a good job of seeing some of that stuff, but when they bring more than we can block, there’s nothing that we can do.”
McAdoo said quarterback pressures, hurries and sacks “usually come in bunches ... and today was the day.”
Defensive end Olivier Vernon said creating turnovers “was just something that we had to work on. Things have started to come to fruition now.”
Cornerback Eli Apple said the defense was “definitely hot right now, and we just have to keep it going.”
Collins had the game of his two-year career. The former second-round pick out of Alabama led the team with eight solo tackles and knocked down two other passes alongside his two crucial picks.
On his 44-yard touchdown return, Collins fielded Tavon Austin’s high-tipped pass, darted to the right and cut back. Rams tight end Lance Kendricks lunged at his legs, but Collins kept his feet and turned upfield, barreling over center Tim Barnes at the 2-yard line.
Collins “looked like a running back. For him to be able to tuck the ball away and push the pile through the end zone shows a lot,” McAdoo said.
“I was looking for a block for him,” said defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, “but he did it on his own.”
Other takeaways from Sunday’s London game:
GIANTS STRIKE GOULD
Sitting alone at his locker, Robbie Gould reflected on his first points as a Giant — and his unexpected opportunity out of the Big Blue.
“It’s really an unbelievable place, and it’s great to come overseas and get a win,” said Gould, who set Chicago’s alltime scoring record in 11 seasons as a Bear before this year’s preseason cut in a salary-cap move.
Six weeks later, he was taking his 3-year-old son to the swimming pool when the Giants came calling in search of a veteran replacement for Josh Brown . Three days and a transatlantic flight later, Gould kicked two extra points and a 29-yard field goal in Sunday’s win.
Gould has no idea how long the Giants will want him to stay as the NFL investigates new evidence of Brown’s abusive treatment of his then-wife.
“It’s a great opportunity, whether it lasts one game or another 11 years,” said the 34-year-old Gould. “It’s a pretty special weekend.”
RAMS EYE OFFENSIVE CHANGES
After a four-interception performance, Rams coach Jeff Fisher is under pressure to make a dramatic change to the Rams’ sputtering offense — perhaps to give No. 1 overall pick Jared Goff a try at quarterback.
But Fisher is adamant:
The last person on offense he might consider benching right now is Keenum. As far as he’s concerned, others belong on the hot seat.
“Jared is going to play when we feel Jared is ready,” Fisher said, dismissing calls for Goff to replace Keenum as a kneejerk reaction to a close loss.
“But we didn’t lose this game because of quarterback play today. We lost at some other positions,” Fisher said, listing the reasons for the four picks, including Tavon Austin’s two-handed tip on the first pick and two other receivers’ blown audible adjustments on the final turnover. “I’ll make changes at receiver before I make a change at quarterback,” he said.
Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz runs with the ball during Sunday’s game against the Rams at Twickenham Stadium in London.
Giants defensive tackle Damon Harrison tackles Rams quarterback Case Keenum.