HOUSTON -- Here are some thoughts on the Giants 34-10 win over the Texans.
What it means: Don’t look now but the Giants are on a roll. They have won two straight and this was a quality victory on the road at Houston. The Giants suffocated a Texans’ offense that ranked first in the run and second in total offense overall. The Giants' offense exposed a weak Houston secondary and Hakeem Nicks continued his emergence into a serious playmaker.
A Perry good effort: Defensive coordinator Perry Fewell had his defense going for the second straight game. One game after knocking out two quarterbacks and getting 10 sacks against Chicago, the Giants shut down the best offense in the league in the first half and held Houston to three points by the break. Arian Foster came into the game as the NFL’s leading rusher and was held to nine yards on eight carries and zero first downs in the first half. Andre Johnson also was held without a catch in the first half and the Giants intercepted Matt Schaub once to go into halftime with a 24-3 cushion. The pass rush got good pressure on Schaub while Fewell kept changing his personnel and moving safeties and corners all around. At times, cornerback Aaron Ross lined up at linebacker and defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul rushed from linebacker as well.
Hakeem the Dream: Houston knows a little something about a Nicks playing well down here. Nicks had his dream shake going as the Texans simply could not cover him. He exploded for 12 catches for 130 yards and two touchdowns. He had seven receptions for 97 yards and two scores in the first half alone as he single-handedly exposed the Texans’ poor safety play.
Holding the line: The offensive line, playing with Adam Koets at center for the third straight game, provided great protection for Eli Manning in the first half. After throwing two incomplete passes, Manning converted on 11 straight passes in the first half. He had time in the pocket for the most part outside of a few rushes from Brian Cushing. The line also did a terrific job on defensive end Mario Williams. The Giants utilized Shawn Andrews quite a bit at tight end. In the second half, Houston adjusted and brought more heat and Manning threw two picks under pressure. But by then, the Giants had built a big enough lead.
Special coverage: The Giants may have had their best special teams outing of the season. The coverage was very good and Lawrence Tynes made two field goals as the Giants went with a new holder in Sage Rosenfels. Rookie punter Matt Dodge got better as the game went on. But the return game is still a mess.
High and tight: After fumbling in two consecutive games inside the 5, Ahmad Bradshaw spent all week walking around with a ball high and tight in his right arm like Tiki Barber used to hold the ball. And it may have worked. Bradshaw didn’t fumble. Bradshaw didn’t come near the 129 yards he had last week against Chicago but he and Brandon Jacobs did enough. Jacobs scored a touchdown for the second straight week.
What's next: The Lions arrive in town with big-play weapons in Calvin “Megatron” Johnson and Jahvid Best. It remains to be seen whether Matthew Stafford will return from injury but the Giants must take care of this home game before the NFC East portion of the schedule begins. Of course, the Giants don’t want to get caught looking ahead to their matchup with Dallas on the following Monday.