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Giants Move Beyond ‘Almost’ and Hold Off Struggling Texans

Giants Move Beyond ‘Almost’ and Hold Off Struggling Texans


HOUSTON — After two difficult losses, Odell Beckham Jr. saw a different energy in the Giants on Sunday.

“We came out and played like we loved the game of football and we were kids just having fun,” Beckham said. “It wasn’t like, ‘We’re down, 0-2, and we’ve got to win.’ It was like, ‘Let’s go out and have fun today.’ That’s what we did, and we got the win.”

Eli Manning threw for 297 yards and two touchdowns, and the rookie Saquon Barkley added a score as the Giants earned a 27-22 victory over the struggling Houston Texans.

The Giants (1-2) were up by 14 points at halftime but had trouble moving the ball in the second half. The Texans (0-3) cut the lead to 5 before Manning threw a 7-yard touchdown pass to Sterling Shepard with about two minutes left.

“I always knew they had great resolve,” Giants Coach Pat Shurmur said of his team, adding that on Sunday, “we just made enough plays to win.”

“We went from being ‘almost’ in a lot of areas to finishing it,” he said.

Deshaun Watson threw a 4-yard touchdown pass to Lamar Miller with one second left, cutting the lead to 27-22, but the Giants recovered the onside kick.

Watson threw for 385 yards and two scores, but he also threw an interception that was one of two second-half turnovers by the Texans. Houston is off to its worst start since it dropped its first four games in 2008.

“I just try to think of ways to get us out of this,” Coach Bill O’Brien said. “I know that it starts with me.”

He added: “I’ve got to figure out how to do a better job. It’s as simple as that.”

Beckham had nine receptions for 109 yards, and Barkley finished with 82 yards rushing as the Giants finished 1 point shy of matching their total from their first two games combined.

A 54-yard field goal narrowed Houston’s deficit to 20-9 in the third quarter. The Texans forced a punt and were driving again when Miller caught a short pass and fumbled after a hit by Donte Deayon. The Giants recovered but could not move the ball and had to punt after a drive that included a sack by J. J. Watt.

But the Texans turned over the ball again, this time when Watson was intercepted in the end zone by Alec Ogletree.

Houston cut the lead to 20-15 when Will Fuller grabbed a 6-yard pass from Watson with about seven and a half minutes remaining, but the 2-point conversion attempt failed.

After leading the N.F.L. in yards rushing through the first three games, the Texans could not get anything going on the ground. They finished with 59 yards rushing, and Miller managed just 10 yards on as many carries.

The Texans took a 3-0 lead on a 23-yard field goal by Ka’imi Fairbairn on their first drive. The Giants took their first lead of the season when Barkley shed several tackles and scored on a 15-yard run, making it 7-3.

The Giants added two field goals before Manning connected with Rhett Ellison on a 16-yard touchdown, pushing the advantage to 20-3 late in the second quarter.

Watt had a strip sack on third down, making the Giants settle for the second field goal. Watt had not made a sack since Sept. 18, 2016, before taking Manning down on that play.

Houston cut the lead to 20-6 at halftime on a 28-yard field goal.

Watt, who played just eight games in the 2016 and 2017 seasons because of injuries, finished with three sacks, three tackles for losses, four quarterback hits and a forced fumble. A three-time N.F.L. defensive player of the year, Watt said he had been feeling better every week and was glad to be contributing again.

“It’s good to finally end such a long drought in that type of way,” he said, adding that “personal stats don’t matter at all in a loss.”

Manning did a good job of spreading the ball around, completing passes to six players and finding three players five or more times each.

“I think you want to get everybody involved,” he said. “We got off to a fast start and needed a big drive at the end to win the game, and we were able to do it.”

The Texans, who committed several false-start and holding penalties, are searching for a way to eliminate penalties on offense. Right tackle Julien Davenport was the worst offender, with three false-start penalties and two for holding.

“It’s the story of penalties, mistakes,” Davenport said. “I don’t know how many penalties I had, but way too much. Hurt this team badly. I’ve got to eliminate it all.”

Extra Points

Giants tight end Evan Engram (knee) left in the second quarter. … Cornerback Antonio Hamilton injured his groin in the first quarter and did not return.

A version of this article appears in print on , on Page D4 of the New York edition with the headline: Giants Move Beyond ‘Almost’ and Hold Off Struggling Texans. Order Reprints | Today’s Paper | Subscribe



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