EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — After weeks of turmoil, adversity and questions about their effort, the New York Giants showed they have some fight left in them.
Beating the AFC West-leading Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday not only gave them a good feeling, it also left many wondering if the Chiefs might have joined them on the ropes.
Roger Lewis Jr. made a spectacular catch to set up the winning 23-yard yard goal by Aldrick Rosas in overtime, and the Giants beat the anemic Chiefs 12-9 on a blustery, cold Sunday for only their second win in 10 games.
Rosas, who missed an earlier extra point, breathed a sigh of relief after the kick, then was mobbed by teammates.
“It’s joy, exuberance, just happy,” linebacker Jonathan Casillas said after the Giants snapped a three-game losing streak and won for the first time at home in five games. “It’s such a great play that Roger Lewis made to get us down in position to win the game. It’s just ecstatic, everybody is excited and the energy was there, the crowd was there. You can’t ask for a better ending than that.”
The winning kick came two plays after Lewis was yanked to the ground by cornerback Phillip Gaines on a deep pass from Eli Manning, but still caught the ball while flat on his back for a 34-yard completion on a fourth-down heave. Had he not caught it, flags flew for pass interference.
“I want 10 (Manning) to believe in me, and that’s what I got to do, make that play,” Lewis said.
Rosas, who had missed a field goal in each of the last four games, had no problem splitting the uprights from point blank range.
“To come through for my teammates and for them to put me in a position to win, it was pretty special,” said Rosas, who said the only thing he remembered after the kick was getting hit.
The Giants came into the game in turmoil, with questions about the future of coach Ben McAdoo and many wondering whether the Giants had quit in one-sided losses to the Rams and then the winless 49ers in the past two weeks.
Few expected them to beat the Chiefs, especially with Andy Reid’s record coming off a bye week. He was 16-2.
“It’s tough to win in the National Football League,” Reid said. “There is parity. It doesn’t matter if you are 1-8 or whatever it might be. There is opportunity. You have to bring you’re A-game every week and we have to get ourselves back to playing better. It’s my responsibility to do that.”
The Giants not only won, they intercepted Alex Smith twice, setting up their first nine points. Orleans Darkwa scored on a 1-yard run after Damon Harrison’s interception . Rosas kicked a 26-yard field goal to give the Giants a short-lived 9-6 lead with 1:38 left in regulation after Janoris Jenkins’ interception .
With one time out, Smith drove the Chiefs 69 yards in nine plays, the big shot a 32-yard pass to tight end Travis Kelce . Harrison Butker tied the game with a 23-yard field goal — his third short one — with :01 left in regulation. The drive was kept alive when Jenkins’ interception was nullified by a pass interference penalty against him.
“We’re out of rhythm,” said Smith, who finished 27 of 40 for 230 yards. “That’s the thing that jumps out, especially the last couple of weeks. Even when you’re stalling, there are a lot of times you are going and you’re not scoring. You’re still getting in a rhythm, and we aren’t. We got to find a way to get going earlier.
McAdoo pulled out every trick in his book, using a fake punt; a halfback option that was intercepted; an odd formation with his tackles lined up 5 yards wide; and then the decision to go on fourth-and-5 from the Chiefs 36 with just over two minutes to play.
The Giants took the lead early in the second quarter after defensive tackle Harrison intercepted a deflected shovel pass and returned it to the Kansas City 26-yard line. Led by DT Robert Thomas’ blocking, Darkwa scored from 1 yard after Marcus Peters was called for pass interference in the end zone.
Rosas’ extra point was pushed wide right by the wind.
Kansas City cut the lead in half on the next series, driving 61 yards in more than nine minutes. Butker ended up with his first 31-yard field goal.
The Giants’ unexpected performance came less than a week after co-owners John Mara and Steve Tisch said the embattled McAdoo would remain in charge through at least the end of the season. Days later, McAdoo and his team held what he termed “a brutally honest” team meeting in which mistakes and lack of effort plays were shown for all to see after the two losses by a combined 82-38 margin.
The Giants were missing two key starters. WR Sterling Shepard was out after having a career game against San Francisco, making 11 catches for 142 yards. He was added to the injury report Saturday with an illness and could not play. CB Eli Apple was at home with his mother, who had brain surgery on Thursday. “He’s My best friend, my nurse and part time ninja,” Annie Apple tweeted Sunday morning. …Thanks for being my side every step of the way.”
MANNING: Manning started his 209th consecutive game, moving into second place ahead of his brother, Peyton. Brett Favre holds the record of 297. Manning finished 19 of 35 for 205. Shane Vereen threw the Giants’ interception on the option pass.
Chiefs: Host Buffalo next Sunday.
Giants: at Washington on Thanksgiving night.