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Houston at New York

Jennings rushes for 176 yards, Giants beat Texans

By TOM CANAVAN
AP Sports Writer
  •  

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) With his team desperate to win, Tom Coughlin lightened the mood for the New York Giants during the week.

There was music - certainly not from the 68-year-old coach's era - at practice. A punt catching competition was held and there were some laughs. It turned to smiles and a W on Sunday against the Houston Texans with some old-fashioned football.

Rashad Jennings ran for a career-high 176 yards and a touchdown and Eli Manning threw two TD passes as the Giants overcame some early mistakes and beat the suddenly error-prone Texans 30-17.

The victory not only put some life back into the Giants (1-2), it also ended any chance of a second straight 0-6 start for Coughlin's team, which has missed the playoffs the past two seasons.

''It's good to get that first win,'' said Manning, who was 21 of 28 for 234 yards and no interceptions. ''We didn't want to go through (0-6) again. The coaches and everybody didn't get too uptight. With coach keeping his cool, bringing a little excitement to practice, it helped the players just relax. We said: `It's Sunday. Just go play football. Don't worry about being perfect or doing everything exactly. Just play the game you love.'''

Manning joked about the music played on Friday.

''We just stole it off Coach Coughlin's iPad,'' he said. ''You know, early `90s rap.''

The Giants got a lot of contributions. Victor Cruz made a 26-yard touchdown catch, his first since Game 4 of last season, and danced the salsa. The defense intercepted three of Ryan Fitzpatrick's passes, and the special teams unit blocked a punt, setting up Manning's second TD.

''This was huge for us, knowing we had to get this game and get this one under our belts with a short week and not wanting to look ahead,'' said Cruz, who quipped that he had to remember how to salsa after his score. ''We had to take care of this one and get ready for Washington (Thursday night).''

Fitzpatrick, who had not thrown an interception this season, threw a 44-yard scoring pass to Damaris Johnson and ran for another score for the Texans (2-1), who played without halfback Arian Foster (hamstring).

Houston came in tied for the league lead with a plus-5 turnover differential. The Giants were at the other end of the spectrum at minus-6 with no takeaways.

''We're not going to win any games when I play like that, especially in the first half with the turnovers,'' said Fitzpatrick, who was 20 of 34 for 289 yards. ''Sometimes interceptions happen, but it was just poor play by me.''

On Sunday, the Giants won the turnover battle, got pressure from their front four and dominated the Texans' defensive front in rushing for 193 yards in a much-needed win.

New York outgained Houston 262-83 in the first half in taking a 14-0 lead on the touchdown pass to Cruz and a 1-yard run by Jennings, which was set up by Antrel Rolle's 25-yard interception return to the Texans 2.

The lead should have been a larger. Tight end Larry Donnell fumbled at the Texans 4 in the first quarter after a reception, and Pro Bowl long snapper Zak DeOssie rolled one past holder Steve Weatherford on a short field-goal attempt in the second.

Houston added to its woes early in the third quarter, going for a first down on a fourth-and-1 from its own 46 and failing.

Brown hit a 39-yard field goal to make it 17-0 before Houston rallied behind Fitzpatrick. Three passes to DeAndre Hopkins set up a field goal, and Johnson's TD closed the gap to 17-10 with 2:13 left in the quarter.

Jennings, who carried 34 times, had three rushes for 28 yards as the Giants drove for a field goal to extend the lead to 20-10 early in the fourth.

Damontre Moore blocked Shane Lechler's punt to give New York the ball at the Houston 29, and Manning and Fells hooked up for touchdown for the second straight week.

Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie intercepted Fitzpatrick on the next series, setting up Brown's final field goal.

NOTES: Jennings' previous career high was 150 yards vs. Houston last season while playing for Oakland. ... The Texans had not allowed a sack in their first two games. The Giants got two and had five quarterback hurries. ... Jameel McClain, who replaced Jon Beason at middle linebacker had a team-high 11 tackles and half a sack. ... New Jersey native Brian Cushing had a game-high 17 tackles. ... J.J. Watt had a sack and two tackles for losses. ... Alfred Blue had 78 yards on 13 carries, starting for Foster. ... Prince Amukamara also had an interception for New York. ... Johnathan Joseph had a fumble recovery for the Texans.

---

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC is strictly prohibited.
 
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Sun. Sept. 21Final
Houston
(2-1)
0010717
01431330
TexansGiants
Pass: R. Fitzpatrick (20-34, 289) E. Manning (21-28, 234)
Rush: A. Blue (13-78) R. Jennings (34-176)
Rec: D. Hopkins (6-116) V. Cruz (5-107)
Scoring Summary
1ST QUARTER
None
2ND QUARTER
TDVictor Cruz catches a 26 yard pass from Eli Manning (Josh Brown kick is good). Drive: 9 plays, 83 yards in 4:23.
TDRashad Jennings runs for 1 yard (Josh Brown kick is good). Drive: 3 plays, 2 yards in 0:41.
3RD QUARTER
FGJosh Brown makes 39 yard kick. Drive: 6 plays, 24 yards in 2:34.
FGRandy Bullock makes 27 yard kick. Drive: 9 plays, 71 yards in 4:30.
TDDamaris Johnson catches a 44 yard pass from Ryan Fitzpatrick (Randy Bullock kick is good). Drive: 4 plays, 93 yards in 2:03.
4TH QUARTER
FGJosh Brown makes 29 yard kick. Drive: 10 plays, 66 yards in 4:54.
TDDaniel Fells catches a 9 yard pass from Eli Manning (Josh Brown kick is good). Drive: 3 plays, 29 yards in 1:06.
FGJosh Brown makes 31 yard kick. Drive: 7 plays, 16 yards in 3:39.
TDRyan Fitzpatrick runs for 1 yard (Randy Bullock kick is good). Drive: 8 plays, 80 yards in 3:33.

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Players of the Game
New York

E. Manning
Att 28
Comp 21
Yds 234
TD 2
Houston

D. Hopkins
Rec 6
Yds 116
Avg 19.3
TD 0
 
Houston
PassingCP/ATYDSTDINT
R. Fitzpatrick20/3428913
S. Lechler1/11000
RushingATTYDSTDLG
A. Blue1378046
R. Fitzpatrick73418
J. Grimes1505
R. Brown3201
D. Johnson1000
ReceivingRECYDSTDLG
D. Hopkins6116049
D. Johnson256144
G. Graham541011
J. Grimes131031
A. Johnson424011
K. Martin116016
A. Blue110010
R. Brown1505
New York
PassingCP/ATYDSTDINT
E. Manning21/2823420
RushingATTYDSTDLG
R. Jennings34176118
A. Williams61805
S. Weatherford1000
E. Manning1-10-1
ReceivingRECYDSTDLG
V. Cruz5107161
L. Donnell645018
P. Parker333013
R. Randle52709
D. Fells222113
Complete Player Stats
Other Games
TB 14 Final
ATL 56
SD 22 Final
BUF 10
TEN 7 Final
CIN 33
BAL 23 Final
CLE 21
GB 7 Final
DET 19
IND 44 Final
JAC 17
OAK 9 Final
NE 16
MIN 9 Final
NO 20
WAS 34 Final
PHI 37
DAL 34 Final
STL 31
SF 14 Final
ARI 23
KC 34 Final
MIA 15
DEN 20 Final
SEA 26
PIT 37 Final
CAR 19
CHI 27 Final
NYJ 19