- Who are these New York Giants and where have they been for the first third of the season?! Winless and decimated by injuries, and with their fans ready to tank, Big Blue put together their most complete performance of the season against one of the league's fiercest defenses and in one of the league's toughest venues.
How did the Giants do it? Ben McAdoo handed play-calling duties over to offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan, a strategy that McAdoo told reporters he will revisit this week, but called "a pretty good plan." Sullivan leaned on the running game, which, paced by the underrated Orleans Darkwa (21 carries, 117 yards) in the absence of Paul Perkins, finally broke out. Sans Odell, Brandon Marshall and Sterling Shepard, Eli Manning looked to rookie hybrid Evan Engram (five receptions, 82 yards), who lived up to the draft hype as a mismatch in the slot and split out wide on safeties. New York's pass rush, led by Jason Pierre-Paul's three sacks, raced by Denver's sketchy offensive line, and their run defense woke up from its season-long slumber.
- The Broncos lost this one in the trenches. Denver's emerging running game with Jamaal Charles was ineffective against a previously underwhelming Giants run defense (29th in NFL); the Broncos finished with a season-low 46 rushing yards. The Giants' offensive line, mainly right tackle Justin Pugh, kept Von Miller and Denver's lauded defense at bay for the most part; New York should be happy to surrender only three sacks.
It also didn't help that Trevor Siemian fell into bad habits early, throwing two first-half interceptions and looking uncomfortable in the face of New York's pass rush. As Denver's run game faltered, Siemian failed to pick up the offense. If Denver is to contend later on, Siemian will need to carry the team when not everything is clicking.
- Janoris Jenkins was victimized routinely on Sunday night, but got the last word against Demaryius Thomas. Jackrabbit played most of the night on Thomas (10 receptions, 133 yards), who had his first 100-plus-yard receiving game of the season. But Jenkins was involved in the two biggest takeaways of the evening. Jenkins' second-quarter pick-six extended New York's lead to two scores going into the half. Then, on a fourth-down conversion in the third quarter, Jenkins had a crucial strip of Thomas just as the wideout crossed the first-down marker.
Of New York's three stud cornerbacks, Jenkins was the only one not to get in trouble with the coaching staff this week; Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie was suspended indefinitely by the team and Eli Apple was benched against the Chargers after getting into spats with superiors. With his unit reeling, Jenkins bent, but he ended up breaking Thomas' and the Broncos' will.
- Denver will come out of this one battered and bruised in more ways than one. Demaryius Thomas (leg) and Emmanuel Sanders (ankle) both suffered injuries, though Sanders' looks to be much more serious. Siemian's shoulder injury might also be a storyline going into next week. But the real pain will come with knowing that Denver failed to take advantage of Kansas City's loss to Pittsburgh and gain ground in the AFC West.
- Brock Osweiler was back in our lives for six fleeting plays on Sunday night, and it was oh so sweet. The former and current Broncos quarterback entered the game at the end of the first half after Siemian injured his shoulder trying to prevent the Jenkins pick-six. Siemian returned to start the second half, but Osweiler's presence was a reminder that 1) he never got the credit he deserved for carrying Denver to a first-round bye during their 2015 Super Bowl season and 2) Brock will always be the bridesmaid, but never the bride.
- Big Blue's victory was shocking not only because the Giants reversed each of their season-long trends in one game, but because it came on the heels of one of the organization's most contentious weeks in recent memory. The Giants were without a win, without any playmakers and, if you asked their fans, soon to be without a coach. But amidst all the doubt, the Giants finally lived up to their preseason hype. All it took was five losses and publicized locker-room turmoil. The postseason is still seemingly out of reach, but this win will bring the team together for the remainder of a long campaign and potentially help save McAdoo's job.