The Giants made the trek to London for the second time in franchise history and, like in 2007, came back victorious with a 17-10 win over the Los Angeles Rams. In 2007, the Giants' 13-10 win against Miami across the pond served as a galvanizing event for the Giants, who would find themselves knocking off the undefeated New England Patriots several months later in Super Bowl XLII.
Whether or not this win affects the team the same way remains to be seen. One would have to say it probably won't if you consider this team's shortcomings. The Giants have found ways to win four of their first seven games without a productive pass rush, an anemic rushing game, a -7 takeaway ratio, curious play calling, shoddy execution, negative time of possession and allowing opponents to covert on third downs 43 percent of the time.
Sunday, the Giants turned the tide on some of those alarming stats. The offense did not click early but did enough to put up 10 points, which the defense made stand.
The sacks finally came, three of them, and so did the turnovers - four INTs altogether. The penalties were down, only three on the week, a category in which they had been averaging over six per game this season.
Here are some other observations from Sunday:
Fact: The Giants rushed for only 36 yards, two less than they had last week vs. Baltimore. It was their lowest rushing total in a victory since Sept. 12, 1999, when they ran for 27 yards at Tampa Bay.
The running game has gotten to the point where they are not expecting to establish it early in games. Their offense is way out of balance. They have passed the ball 70 percent of the time over the past three games. They are gaining just 3.3 yards per attempt on the ground this season and possess a league-low 70.3 yards per game. Is it the blocking? The personnel? The scheme? Yes, to all.
Fact: The Giants held their opponent scoreless in the second half for the first time since Dec. 29, 2013, when they led Washington at halftime, 10-6, and won, 20-6. This was the second time this season the Giants did not allow a second half touchdown. On Oct. 9 in Green Bay, they held the Packers to a pair of field goals in the final two quarters but lost, 23-16.
The biggest concern coming into this season was learning from last year and closing out games. Last season, the Giants would have blown this game either because they lacked the personnel or they were gassed. They would naturally prefer to have a two score lead late in the game and simply run out the clock, but without a running game, that has become difficult to do.
Fact: Safety Landon Collins and CB Dominique Rodgers Cromartie are the first pair of teammates with multiple interceptions each in a single game since Seattle's Byron Maxwell and Richard Sherman in Week 15 of the 2013 season ironically, against the Giants in MetLife Stadium. They are the first Giants duo to accomplish the feat since Kenny Hill and Terry Kinard vs. San Diego on Sept. 14, 1986.
What do those other two teams have in common you may ask? They both went on to win the Super Bowl in those years. The Giants benefited from poor decisions and inaccuracy from Rams QB Case Keenum, who is a backup placeholder until top Jared Goff is ready to take over. They all count, though, whether they come off deflections, tips or are gift-wrapped. Collins and DRC were in the right place at the right time, something Giant defenders have rarely been the past few seasons.
Fact: Keenum threw 53 passes (completing 32), the highest total by a Giants opponent since Oct. 21, 2013, when Minnesota's Josh Freeman also had 53 attempts - but he completed only 20.
The game was close and it would have behooved the Rams to run the ball with Todd Gurley, but the Giants took that away. They held Gurley to 57 yards on 15 carries. That forced the Rams to throw, and Keenum had few options there as well:
"No corner was targeted more than Rodgers-Cromartie this week, with 15 passes thrown his way in New York's win over the Rams in London - two more than any other player," reports Sam Monson of Pro Football Focus. "He allowed just seven of them to be caught (46.7 percent), for 53 yards, and he notched two interceptions, including the game-ending one that was lofted right to him as the receiver and QB Case Keenum were on different pages. When thrown at, Rodgers-Cromartie gave up a passer rating of just 16.1."
Fact: The Giants finished with a season-low 13 first downs, their lowest total in a victory since Oct. 25, 2015 against Dallas.
QB Eli Manning had just three completions over ten yards, was not sacked and did not throw a touchdown or an interception despite going 24-for-37 in slippery conditions. Again, they cannot drive the football for some reason. For the second consecutive week, they lost the time of possession battle by over ten minutes. The running game needs to get going, that is painfully apparent, but the passing game has lost its teeth as well. They are running short, quick routes to limit the time Eli has the ball in his hands. It is clear they are not confident in the ability of the offensive line to protect him and he no longer has the tolerance to sacrifice his body for the team. And who can blame him? Without him, the Giants would truly be nowhere.