Giants edge Patriots and their woeful quarterbacks 10-7, aided by late missed field goal
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — The New England Patriots have a problem at quarterback, and the New York Giants took advantage of it in winning consecutive games for the first time this season.
Xavier McKinney set up Randy Bullock's go-ahead 42-yard field goal midway through the fourth quarter with New York's third interception of New England's woeful QBs, and the Giants held on to beat the Patriots 10-7 on Sunday.
The Giants (4-8) have forced nine turnovers during their first winning streak, with six coming last weekend against Washington. They picked off Patriots starter Mac Jones twice in the first half and McKinney got the other in the fourth quarter against Bailey Zappe, who relieved Jones to start the second half.
“It’s definitely showing all the work that we put in throughout the week,” McKinney said. “So it’s been good to see. It’s fun, it’s always fun when we're getting turnovers.”
New York Giants quarterback Tommy DeVito (15) celebrates with wide receiver Isaiah Hodgins (18) after Hodgins caught a touchdown pass against the New England Patriots during the third quarter of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 26, 2023, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
McKinney said the Patriots (2-9 and the losers of four straight) had used to same pattern earlier in the game, and he read it when he stepped in front of receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster.
“We turned the ball over too many times,” said Patriots coach Bill Belichick, who created some suspense by not naming his starting quarterback until game time. "Got away from us, even the few times we didn’t turn it over. We missed an opportunity at the end of the game to put it into overtime. Not good enough."
Belichick left himself open to second-guessing by playing for overtime after the Patriots got a first down at the Giants 22 with about a minute to play in regulation. New England didn't take a shot at the end zone, and Chad Ryland missed a 35-yard field goal attempt with 3 seconds left that would have tied the game.
Giants linebacker Kayvon Thibodeaux was getting ready for OT when things changed.
“That was a blessing,” he said after pushing his sack total to 11. "That was God’s gift right there.”
Tommy DeVito threw a touchdown pass for New York and the Giants' defense limited Jones and Zappe to 143 yards passing on 35 attempts, and 4 of 14 on third down while playing without Pro Bowl tackle Dexter Lawrence.
Rhamondre Stevenson, who rushed for 98 yards on 21 carries, scored on a 7-yard run for New England at the start of the second half after Zappe took over for Jones, as he has several times this season.
DeVito, the undrafted rookie free agent who has created excitement with Daniel Jones and Tyrod Taylor injured, finished 17 of 25 for 191 yards and didn't throw an interception for the second straight week. Rookie receiver Jalin Hyatt had five catches for a career-high 109 yards.
Zappe finished 9 of 14 for 54 yards. Jones, who has started every game for New England this season, was 12 of 21 for 89 yards.
Zappe got a break when Bullock's kickoff to start the second half went out of bounds. The Patriots took over at their 40 and Zappe made two big third-down plays to set up a game-tying 7-yard touchdown run by Stevenson.
The Giants took a 7-0 lead late in the first half when a 55-yard interception and return by linebacker Bobby Okereke set up a 12-yard, third-down touchdown pass from DeVito to Isaiah Hodgins.
New York Giants cornerback Deonte Banks (25) celebrates with teammates after intercepting pass against the New England Patriots during the first quarter of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 26, 2023, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)
The Giants squandered a scoring chance on the opening drive of the game. A 14-yard run by Saquon Barkley and a 29-yard pass from DeVito to Hyatt helped get New York to the Patriots 26. On second down, DeVito and receiver Wan'Dale Robinson botched a handoff and Jabill Peppers recovered, a lost fumble that was charged to DeVito.
Rookie cornerback Deonte Banks made his second interception of the season late in the first quarter for the Giants' first takeaway.
DABOLL AND MARTINDALE
Giants coach Brian Daboll seemed to shoot down a report by Fox Sports that he and defensive coordinator Wink Martindale are in a bad place and there is so much tension they may part company soon.
“The biggest argument Wink and I have had is over who gets the last piece of pizza,” Daboll said.
Martindale was given a game ball Sunday.
Giants: Special teams star and LB Carter Coughlin was ruled out with a hip injury in. He had a big hit on Ty Montgomery late in the first half on a kickoff return after the Hodgins' score. Lawrence missed his first game of the season after injuring a hamstring last weekend.
Patriots: WR/KR Demario Douglas sustained an apparent concussion on fourth-quarter punt return and was ruled out.
Giants: After a bye, host Green Bay on Dec. 11.
Patriots: Host the Los Angeles Chargers next Sunday.