Defense helps Giants topple Rams in London

LONDON — A strong defensive performance helped the New York Giants rebound from a slow start to top the Los Angeles Rams 17-10 in the second game of the 2016 International Series at London’s Twickenham Stadium.

Safety Landon Collins led the way for New York (4-3), coming up with two critical interceptions, including an electric pick-6. Meanwhile, the Rams (3-4) couldn’t get out of their own way as the game wore on. Los Angeles committed eight penalties on the afternoon and quarterback Case Keenum threw four interceptions, including one in the endzone with less than a minute remaining.

“I thought it was a gutsy win for our guys,” New York coach Ben McAdoo said after the game. “They played hard, they played through a lot and hung together. Defense did a great job coming up with the ball, four times for us. We hung in there on offense and found a way to get the win.”

Perhaps benefitting from the extra time spent across the pond, the Rams got off to a fast start in London. Tavon Austin caught a 10-yard touchdown pass from Keenum after E.J. Gaines picked up a fumble on New York’s opening drive, and Greg Zuerlein kicked a 36-yard field goal to give the “home” team a quick 10-0 lead.

Meanwhile, Eli Manning and the Giants struggled to get anything going early, gaining just 26 total yards and one first down in the opening quarter.

Things changed in the second quarter, though, when Manning and the New York offense went no-huddle, methodically marching up the field and finally allowing Odell Beckham Jr. and Victor Cruz to get involved. Robbie Gould topped off a 6:38 drive with a 29-yard field goal, his first as a Giant after being signed to replace Josh Brown.

Gould, who hadn’t kicked since the preseason after being released by the Chicago Bears, had a solid afternoon for New York, converting two extra points to go with the short field goal.

On the Rams’ drive following the field goal, a Keenum pass intended for Austin was tipped, and Collins came down with the ball. He then blew by the Rams defense for his first career NFL touchdown.

“If you put us on the field, we’re not going to lose the game for our team. That’s the biggest key for us,” Collins said after the game. “We want to get off the field on third downs. We want to make game-changing plays and definitely get the ball back to the offense.”

It took until the fourth quarter for either team to strike again, and once more it was Collins coming to the rescue for New York. After 10 consecutive drives ending in punts, Collins came up with another interception on a Keenum pass intended for Austin. New York topped the drive off with a Rashad Jennings touchdown to go up 17-10.

That would be the only edge New York needed to escape London with a victory. Los Angeles had a chance to tie the game, but on 3rd and 10 in the red zone, Keenum threw his fourth interception of the day on a miscommunication with receiver Kenny Britt.