Giants beat Raiders for third straight

Patti Traina, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange


EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- New York Giants cornerback Terrell Thomas, playing in his first season after two consecutive ACL surgeries, picked off Oakland Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor in the third quarter to help spark a 24-20 win at MetLife Stadium on Sunday.
Thomas returned an interception 65 yards to set up a go-ahead 1-yard touchdown run by fellow comebacker, running back Andre Brown, playing in his first game this season.
The Giants (3-6) won their third straight game.
It was the first interception for Thomas, the NFC Defensive Player of the Week in Week 8, since 2010, when he recorded five interceptions.
Brown got his first regular-season touchdown run since Nov. 25, 2012, the last time he played before suffering a broken leg that ultimately ended his season.
Brown finished with a career-high 30 carries for 115 yards, and the touchdown four days after his head coach joked with the media that 40 carries wouldn't be out of the question for Brown.
"He gave us what we needed," Giants coach Tom Coughlin said of Brown. "He had a little spark out there, there was no doubt. (He had) some power runs and just, by a little bit, almost broke free as well on a couple."
The Giants managed to overcome a shaky first half that saw the Raiders score their 17 first-half points on three drives that totaled 10 yards and which saw the Giants' shaky special teams play continue.
Jerrel Jernigan fumbled away the opening kickoff for the Giants to set the stage for Pryor's 1-yard touchdown run to get his team on the board after just 53 seconds.
Pryor, who entered the game as the Raiders' leading rusher with 485 yards on 63 carries, only ran five times for 19 yards Sunday, appearing to move gingerly thanks to a knee injury suffered in last week's loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.
Pryor admitted that his knee might have affected his play.
"My knee's banged up. It got worse through the week," he said. "My leg was very sore and I was out there trying to do my best, (but) I wasn't myself."
Later in the first quarter, Giants rookie defensive end Damontre Moore blocked a punt, which was recovered and returned by safety Cooper Taylor 21 yards to tie the game at 7-7.
The blocked punt was the second for Moore, who against Kansas City managed to chip a punt that he might have blocked had his technique been better.
"Coach was telling me after Kansas City to, 'Lift your feet, and keep your hands below your eyes and run through it, keeping your head up,'" Moore said. "So I practiced it that way ever since and I've been like, 'Man I gotta get it,' so I saw that opportunity and coach put me in a great position, I was able to get it done."
The Raiders would take the lead in the first quarter on a 33-yard field goal by Sebastian Janikowski after the Giants turned the ball over on a fumble by running back Peyton Hillis on a third-and-20.
New York battle back to take a 14-10 lead in the second quarter on a 5-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Eli Manning to wide receiver Rueben Randle, but then Manning threw his 16th interception of the year to Raiders cornerback Tracy Porter, who returned it 43 yards to give the Raiders a 17-14 halftime lead.
After Janikowski extended the Raiders' lead to 20-14 on his second field goal of the day, Thomas came up with the momentum-shifting play with his interception.
"The guy made a good play," Pryor said of Thomas' interception. "It was Cover-2, it's a sight read and the guy faked like he was going in, and I was like, 'Ok, go ahead to the outside guy.' He just made a great play."
Thomas was brought down on the Raiders' 5-yard-line, and initially appeared to have fumbled the ball out of the back of the end zone, but the replay official upheld the initial ruling on the field and the turnover stood.
Brown then scored two plays later following a pass interference call.
With the win, the Giants improved to 3-6 and will now await the outcome of the Sunday night game between Dallas and New Orleans. If the Saints defeat the Cowboys, the Giants could potentially be facing their NFC East rivals in two weeks for first place in the NFC East if New York can get past Green Bay next week.
The Raiders, who fell to 3-6, remain in last place in the AFC West, and have now lost eight straight games on the road. They will try to snap their losing streak on the road next week at Houston.
NOTES: With the return of RB Andre Brown to the lineup, the Giants have now started a record-high of eight differed backs, including six running backs and two fullbacks, this season per the Elias Sports Bureau. ... The Raiders finished with 213 yards on offense, their lowest total of the season to date. ... The blocked punt for a touchdown by the Giants was their first one in 408 games, the last time being Sept. 5, 1988 against Washington. ... The Raiders won the turnover battle for only the third time this season.

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