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Kerry Wynn, undermanned Giants defense are doing just enough so far

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- New York Giants cornerback Prince Amukamara, the team's 2011 first-round pick, was chatting with teammate Kerry Wynn on Sunday and asked Wynn, "What round did we draft you in?"

Wynn, who made the team as an undrafted free agent defensive end out of the University of Richmond in 2014, thought Amukamara was messing with him.

"Because he's starting, right?" Amukamara said. "He's one of our starting defense ends, an undrafted guy, and look what he's doing."

Wynn had eight tackles in Sunday's victory over the Bills, two for loss. He was at the forefront of a run defense that stifled the Bills' run game and helped the Giants take control of the game in the first half. Wynn isn't a big-time pass-rusher at this stage of his career, but his instincts, toughness and determination when playing the run have been a big part of the reason the Giants are allowing a league-low 69.8 rushing yards per game this year.

Without the injured Jason Pierre-Paul, the Giants' defense lacks star power and high-impact playmakers. But the way guys like Wynn are playing -- the way the Giants are flying to the ball and making tackles and finding a way to keep guys like Karlos Willams and Tyrod Taylor out of the end zone when they're on the one-yard line and the game's still in doubt -- that covers up a lot of flaws.

"It's been done before, no-name defense," linebacker Jon Beason said. "We've got some journeymen, some guys who've been around. But we're just buying into a mentality spearheaded by our defensive coordinator and our position coaches, and guys are doing it collectively."

There's a lot of bend-don't-break going on with this Giants defense. They definitely appeared to be wearing down in the second half Sunday, and the lack of a real pass rush shows up when the opposing quarterback gets into a fourth-quarter rhythm. This isn't a problem that's going away anytime soon. How do you combat it? You lean hard on what you can do. If your defensive linemen are run-stuffers and not pass-rushers, you give the opponent nothing at all against the run and force them into an uncomfortable game plan. They did it in Week 3 against Washington, which was the No. 1 rushing offense in the league coming into that game. They did it Sunday against Buffalo, which by then had assumed the No. 1 spot.

"We don't pay attention to what everybody says about us," Wynn said. "We know what we have in that room and we have each other's back, and we fly around for each other and play for each other and when we do, stuff like this happens."

Give defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo credit. He spent the offseason trying to instill pride and intensity in his players, educating them on great Giants defensive players of years past and convincing them they're part of something bigger than themselves. So far, the intensity and emotion has helped push aside the flaws and has the Giants sitting at 2-2 and headed into a soft portion of their schedule. No superstars? No problem. Find a way to get fired up to get it done each week. The past two weeks, it's worked quite well.