Minnesota's defense denied Odell Beckham Jr. all night and forced two turnovers that led to 10 points, and the Vikings mystified Eli Manning yet again during a 24-10 victory Monday over the New York Giants.
Sam Bradford threw a touchdown pass to tight end Kyle Rudolph for the third straight game and kept his turnover-free streak intact, helping the Vikings (4-0) lead from start to finish after falling behind in each of their first three wins.
Beckham, who has yet to score this season, was smothered by cornerback Xavier Rhodes and had 23 yards on three catches. Victor Cruz and Sterling Shepard were quiet, too, and Manning was erratic as ever while finishing 25 for 45 for just 261 yards. Rhodes picked him off in the third quarter, the 15th interception for Manning in eight career starts against the Vikings. He's 2-6 with only five touchdown passes.
Matt Asiata and Jerick McKinnon each ran for a touchdown as the Vikings rushed for a season-high 104 yards. Bradford went 26 for 36 for 262 yards.
The Vikings, who have allowed only 50 points in four games, have an NFL-best turnover margin of plus-10. The Giants (2-2) dropped to minus-8 for the season. >> Read more
Copyright 2016 by The Associated Press
Manning and the Giants have certainly had worse days against the Minnesota Vikings. But this will still not be remembered as one of their better efforts.
The Giants' offense, which once believed it would be one of the top 5 in the NFL, slogged through this game against one of the league's stingiest defenses. Really, they were one 67-yard screen pass to rookie Paul Perkins away from doing basically nothing all game long. Almost all of Manning's passes were short and quick, and he didn't have nearly the protection -- nor the will, apparently -- to throw the ball downfield. As a result, Beckham (3 catches, 23 yards) was basically a bystander all game long.
They just can't win that way. Beckham is by far the best weapon they have, and if he and Manning are out of sync -- as they clearly were -- the Giants offense just doesn't have a chance. They're short some weapons to begin with -- running backs Rashad Jennings and Shane Vereen were out, and tight end Larry Donnell left with a concussion. If their most dangerous weapon becomes useless, they're done.
They had other problems, too. The pass rush was, again, pretty nonexistent, and the secondary struggled without cornerbacks Eli Apple (hamstring) and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (groin), and safeties Darian Thompson (foot) and Nat Berhe (concussion). The Vikings really did their best to pick on CB Trevin Wade.
But the problem for the Giants in this game was an offense that could never get in gear. Maybe it was the crowd noise that led to problems along the offensive line, which forced Manning to throw quickly far too many times. Whatever it was, the only thing that seemed to work was a rushing attack that Ben McAdoo seemed to abandon far too early.
And now the Giants have erased a promising 2-0 start and are sitting at 2-2 facing a short week and a dangerous trip to Green Bay, where their banged up secondary will have to deal with Aaron Rodgers and his array of receivers. I said last week that this was the first big test for McAdoo, facing his first real crisis as the coach of the Giants.
This wasn't a one-week test. The crisis continues. McAdoo now has even more pressure on him to find a way to pull the Giants out of their funk before they dig too big of a hole.
The Giants can't expect to win when they go 2 for 12 on third down, 0 for 2 on fourth down and don't record a sack or takeaway. Plus their only completion over 20 yards was on a screen pass.
Their secondary was in flux due to the injuries to Rodgers-Cromartie and Apple, and the Vikings hit several big passing plays that led to scores. A Dwayne Harris fumble on a punt return and an interception on a play in which Manning and Beckham were on different pages also fed into the loss.
The Giants' offense appeared to play scared for most of the game. Manning looked as if he gave up too early on a few plays, spiking the ball rather than finding a receiver. Their conservative approach was certainly a hindrance.
Beckham was unhinged again, battling with Rhodes, drawing another personal foul and catching just three passes for 23 yards.
The play of the night was the 67-yard catch and run by Perkins which led to an Orleans Darkwa touchdown. The disturbing part is the Giants have yet to generate a pass rush with their expensive new defensive line.