Giants hold off Ben­gals for 4th straight vic­tory

New York hangs on to de­feat Ben­gals, 21-20, with fo­cus on end­ing 4-year play­off drought

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - FRONT PAGE - By Tom Canavan

The Giants posted their first four-game win­ning streak since 2013 by beat­ing the Ben­gals 21-20.

That four-year play­off drought could soon be near­ing an end for the New York Giants.

Rid­ing the play of their big­bucks de­fense and the gutsy play-call­ing of rookie coach Ben McA­doo , the Giants (6-3) posted their first four-game win­ning streak since 2013 by beat­ing the Cincin­nati Ben­gals 21-20 on Mon­day night.

Eli Man­ning threw three touch­down passes, with the big­gest be­ing a 3-yard toss to rookie Ster­ling Shep­ard on a fourt­hand-goal early in the fourth quar­ter with New York trail­ing 20-14.

The six wins match the Giants’ to­tal in each of the past two sea­sons un­der Tom Cough­lin, and they give New York the best record among NFC teams not lead­ing a divi­sion.

Dal­las tops the NFC East at 8-1, putting the Giants two games back.

What helps the Giants is their up­com­ing sched­ule. They have a home game against Chicago (2-7) on Sun­day and a visit to win­less Cleve­land the fol­low­ing week.

“The team is play­ing as one,” said safety Lan­don Collins, who had his fourth in­ter­cep­tion in the past three games. “We’re play­ing as a unit and play­ing

sound. We’re play­ing ev­ery week as a whole.

“We’re tak­ing it weekby-week and get­ting bet­ter.”

The Ben­gals (3-5-1) trail the first-place Ravens (5-4) in the AFC North but can still make the play­offs for a sixth straight year.

Cincin­nati has two games left with Bal­ti­more and one with the Steel­ers, so it can make up ground.

“It’s a long sea­son, but ob­vi­ously, it’s get­ting shorter,” said tight end Tyler Eifert , whose 71-yard catch-and-run set up A.J. Green’s touch­down re­cep­tion. “We’re not too far back to where we can’t find a way to get into the play­offs. So we just have to keep our heads down, keep play­ing hard and con­trol what we can con­trol.

“We have to work on win­ning games, and when we do that, we’ll put our­selves in a win­ning po­si­tion.”

Here are other things to watch:

FIN­ISH­ING

On a night when the Giants in­ducted Cough­lin into their Ring of Honor, the team played the way their for­mer coach al­ways ex­horted them: They fin­ished the game.

New York played the fourth quar­ter like a top­tier team. The Giants de­fended a one-point lead, hold­ing Cincin­nati to 37 yards in the last pe­riod.

On of­fense, they con­trolled the clock at the end, never giv­ing the ball back to the Ben­gals. “We had a

lot of pres­sure on Andy Dal­ton and got a cou­ple of sacks, and for us to get the ball and run out the clock, that’s big-time foot­ball right there,” Man­ning said.

BEN­GALS’ SLUG­GISH OF­FENSE

Cincin­nati was held to 264 to­tal yards and was only 2 of 11 on third down.

“We were in too many 3rd-and-longs and that hurt us. We’ve got to be in 3rd-and-man­age­able sit­u­a­tions,” Dal­ton said.

The Ben­gals twice had to set­tle for field goals when they got to the red zone. The first came when they started a drive at the 7 after Dre Kirk­patrick’s in­ter­cep­tion in the sec­ond quar­ter. The Ben­gals didn’t gain any yards and got a short field goal. And rookie Tyler Boyd dropped a pos­si­ble touch­down catch in the third, forc­ing Mike Nu­gent’s 38-yard field goal.

“We have op­por­tu­ni­ties on of­fense to put more points on the board and we end up hav­ing to kick field goals and that ended up prob­a­bly be­ing the dif­fer­ence in the foot­ball game,” coach Marvin Lewis said.

THE GIANTS CAN RUN THE BALL

New York’s ane­mic ground game fi­nally got go­ing against the Ben­gals and sealed the vic­tory with sev­eral clutch runs in the fi­nal min­utes. The Giants had a sea­son­high 122 yards rush­ing, the first time in six games they cracked the 100-yard bar­rier.

Rashad Jen­nings led the way with 87 yards on 15 car­ries.

BILL KOSTROUN — AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Ben­gals quar­ter­back Andy Dal­ton is sacked by Giants de­fen­sive end Olivier Ver­non dur­ing New York’s vic­tory over Cincin­nati.

SETH WENIG — AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Giants wide re­ceiver Ster­ling Shep­ard cel­e­brates with of­fen­sive tackle Bobby Hart after scor­ing a touch­down dur­ing vic­tory over Ben­gals.

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