NFL GAME RECAP

Titans RB Henry runs all over Giants

The Sports Xchange

December 16, 2018 at 8:44 pm.

Dec 16, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry (22) runs for a touchdown against New York Giants cornerback Janoris Jenkins (20) during the first quarter at MetLife Stadium. Photo Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Dec 16, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry (22) runs for a touchdown against New York Giants cornerback Janoris Jenkins (20) during the first quarter at MetLife Stadium. Photo Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ — Running back Derrick Henry proved unstoppable against the New York Giants defense as the Tennessee Titans recorded a 17-0 blanking Sunday on a wet and dreary day at MetLife Stadium.

The Giants, who thanks to the loss are now officially mathematically eliminated from a wild card, matched the weather with their play.

“Didn’t do anything well enough to expect to win,” New York coach Pat Shurmur said. “Didn’t make plays, we didn’t run the ball, we didn’t stay on the field on offense, we had penalties, so we didn’t play well enough there. I thought on defense, they ran the ball, we didn’t tackle as well as we did in the last few weeks, which extended drives for them, and they beat us.

“There was a turnover there that turned into points. It was a close game and we just didn’t find (the end zone), and when you don’t get in the end zone, you can’t win.”

Offensively, the Giants ran the ball just 16 times for 47 yards, with star running back Saquon Barkley failing to get his fifth straight 100-yard rushing performance on a day in which he probably should have been used more than he was.

“Yeah, my thoughts on that are they were having success running the ball, keeping drives alive, we were struggling to stay on the field, there were some runs in there,” Shurmur said.

“Early in the game and throughout the game, we weren’t able to make enough yardage on the runs and so they did a good job, but then when we chose to pass it, we had drops and we did some things that couldn’t keep drives alive.”

Giants quarterback Eli Manning finished 21 of 44 for 229 yards, his day marred by some bad throws, a horrible interception, and at least four drops by his receivers and tight ends.

“It was just tough to get things going,” Manning said. “Give credit to the Tennessee defense. They played well. They did a good job stopping the run on some early downs. The few times we actually got some things going, we had negative plays, we had penalties where we just could not sustain the drives and keep things going. They played well and we didn’t. We didn’t execute well enough or make the plays we need to make. They just outplayed us.”

Henry and the Titans, meanwhile, had no trouble slicing up the Giants run defense. Fresh off his 238-yard performance 10 days ago against the Jaguars, Henry finished the day against the Giants with 170 rushing yards on 33 carries, with 127 of those yards coming in the first half alone, including a
1-yard touchdown run in the first quarter, the only points in the game’s first 30 minutes.

“It all starts up front. Those guys did an unbelievable job,” Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota said. “With the weather, we knew it was going to be one of those games where we would take our shots here and there and make plays in the passing game when we could. But for the most part, those guys won it up front.”

The Giants finally made it into Titans territory in the third quarter, but a promising scoring drive ended with a horrible read and throw by Manning on a ball intended for Russell Shepard that was picked off by safety Kevin Byard.

The lone spark the Giants had in the first half was a perfectly executed fake punt by Riley Dixon, a play that was improvised when Dixon bobbled the snap. He alertly took off down the field, picking up 14 yards and a first down on the Giants’ final possession of the half, but the Giants couldn’t get within field goal range to get points on the board.

The Titans, who remain alive in their quest for a playoff berth, got a major break in the third quarter when on 3rd-aqnd-10, Manning was sacked and stripped of the ball by linebacker Kamalei Correa. Defensive lineman Jurrell Casey recovered the ball at the Giants 14-yard line.

The Giants appeared to stop the Titans on a 3rd-and-3 when defensive end Josh Mauro sacked Marcus Mariota for a 7-yard loss.

However, Mauro was called for a facemask that gave the Titans 1st-and-goal at the Giants 1-yard line, setting up Henry’s second touchdown run of the day to make it 14-0 with 2:20 left in the third quarter.

“We really just wanted to start fast,” Henry said. “We felt like when we started fast our momentum carries over throughout the game. That was our main focus — being efficient, finishing runs.”

The Giants had one last chance to avoid their first shutout since Dec. 24, 2017 in a game against the Cardinals, but with 4th-and-4 at the Titans 4-yard line, but Manning couldn’t connect with tight end Evan Engram in the end zone.

“I have to get it out there. Bad throw on me,” Manning said. “I have to get the ball, get turned and get it up and down before he runs out of bounds, before he goes out of bounds. Just poor throw by me.”

The Titans iced their win with a 22-yard field goal by Ryan Succop with 5:06 left.

The Giants, who since the bye week looked like they had finally put it all together, were a mess from top to bottom. One of their biggest gaffes came in the third quarter when they were forced to use their first time out of the game because the defense had 12 men on the field.

They also racked up 10 penalties a week after having just two, and unofficially, they missed about a dozen tackles on defense.

It all adds up to a blown opportunity to finally put to rest any doubts that they have turned the corner as a franchise by sneaking into the playoffs.

“It hurts,” Manning said of the blown chance. “Obviously you want to make the playoffs. We didn’t play well enough early in the year to put ourselves in a good position. I knew we still had a chance if we won out, but we didn’t play well enough today to do that.”

NOTES

Titans S Kenny Vaccaro was ruled out of the game in the first quarter with a concussion. Also, Titans LB Sharif Finch left the game in the third quarter on a cart with a shoulder ailment. For the Giants, C Spencer Pulley left the game after Manning’s sack and fumble with a calf injury. He was replaced by John Greco. Backup CB and special teamer Antonio Hamilton suffered a quad injury in the fourth quarter and was ruled out. RG guard Jamon Brown twisted his knee early in the firsts quarter but played through the game…. The Giants were last shutout on Dec. 24, 2017 in a 23-0 loss to Arizona.