The New York Giants defeated the Minnesota Vikings 23-7 for their first win after opening the National Football League season with six consecutive losses -- their worst start in 37 years.
Eli Manning threw a 24-yard touchdown pass to Rueben Randle, Peyton Hillis scored a touchdown in his Giants debut and New York took advantage of three turnovers by the Vikings last night at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
“Despite our record, we’ve been fighting hard for six weeks and unfortunately we’ve been coming up short,” Giants safety Antrel Rolle said in a televised interview. “It’s good to go back to having fun.”
The Giants improved their record to 1-6 and dropped the Vikings, whose only score came in the first quarter on an 86-yard punt return by Marcus Sherels, to 1-5.
Sherels later fumbled a punt at the Vikings’ 3-yard line that set up a 1-yard touchdown run by Hillis, putting the Giants up 17-7 midway through the third quarter. Hillis signed with the Giants last week after injuries to David Wilson and Brandon Jacobs, who was inactive for last night’s game.
Hillis finished with 36 yards rushing on 18 carries, while rookie Michael Cox had 23 yards on 11 rushes. Hillis also caught five passes for 45 yards.
“He did a good job, especially being here only a week,” Manning said of Hillis. “He did a good job just understanding protections, blocking guys when he had to, getting out in the routes. He ran the ball hard, so he’s going to be a help for us down the road.”
Manning completed 23 of 39 passes for 200 yards against a Vikings defense that entered the game allowing the third-most yards passing on average in the NFL this season. Manning didn’t throw an interception for the first time this year.
Josh Freeman got the start at quarterback for the Vikings, just over two weeks after being cut by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and completed 20 of 53 pass attempts for 190 yards and was intercepted once. It was the fifth-fewest completions by any quarterback to attempt at least 50 passes in an NFL game, according to ESPN.
“We’re putting this one behind us and moving forward,” Freeman said. “I was just a hair off in timing, getting the rhythm and getting comfortable back there.”
The Giants’ defense also limited running back Adrian Peterson to 28 yards on 13 carries.
New York’s 0-6 start had been the franchise’s worst since opening the 1976 season with nine losses in a row.