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Jennings, defense carry Giants past Texans

Sep 21, 2014 - 10:47 PM East Rutherford, NJ ( - Rashad Jennings rushed for a career- high 176 yards and a touchdown, and the New York Giants turned the tables on the Houston Texans to post a 30-17 win at MetLife Stadium.

Houston entered this Week 3 clash with a plus-five turnover ratio en route to a mildly surprising 2-0 start, while the Giants were a league-worst minus-six in that category while dropping their first two games.

However, New York (1-2) came up with three interceptions of Ryan Fitzpatrick and got a mistake-free performance out of Eli Manning to aid Jennings' huge 34-carry effort.

Manning finished a sharp 21-of-28 for 234 yards and two touchdowns in by far his best outing of the young season. Victor Cruz also stepped up for New York, generating 107 yards and a touchdown on five catches.

"Nice to win, nice to do a lot of good things in the process," Giants head coach Tom Coughlin remarked. "A lot of guys played well, I'm looking forward to looking at this tape."

Fitzgerald managed to both throw and run for a touchdown in the second half, but hit on just 20-of-34 throws for 289 yards. DeAndre Hopkins amassed 116 yards on six catches for Houston (2-1).

"We're not going to win any games if we play like that, especially with the turnovers," Fitzpatrick said. "Sometimes interceptions happen, but it was poor play by me."

Rookie Alfred Blue, subbing for an injured Arian Foster, had 78 rushing yards on 13 attempts in the loss.

After failing to record points on a pair of red-zone opportunities earlier, the Giants broke a scoreless deadlock by putting together a 9-play, 83-yard touchdown drive that started midway through the second quarter.

Manning completed his final five passes on the series, with Cruz hauling in the last and side-stepping a defender en route to a 26-yard touchdown with 3:21 remaining in the first half.

Cruz had gone without a touchdown catch in 12 straight games.

"It's been a long time since I got in that end zone," he said. "It felt good to dance again, but my hips hurt from dancing."

Fitzpatrick was then intercepted on the ensuing possession by Antrel Rolle, who returned the pick 25 yards to the Houston two to set up Jennings' 1-yard burst into the end zone that gave New York a 14-0 advantage entering the intermission.

The margin could have been greater if not for two Giant miscues with the team in scoring range.

Larry Donnell had the ball jarred loose by Texans safety Kendrick Lewis on the Houston 4-yard line on New York's second drive. Later on, a 61-yard catch-and- run by Cruz led to a field goal try that came up empty when long snapper Zak DeOssie's relay bounced past holder Steve Weatherford.

Houston never threatened over the first two quarters, mustering a paltry 83 total yards and four first downs. Fitzpatrick hit on just 4-of-13 attempts for 39 yards and was picked off twice.

"He's got to make better decisions. He knows that," Texans head coach Bill O'Brien said of Fitzpatrick.

Those offensive woes continued into the initial stages of the second half, as Blue was stuffed for loss on 4th-and-1 on the Texans' opening sequence to give New York the ball at the opposing 45. Runs by Jennings of 10 and 13 yards put Josh Brown in position to hit a 39-yard field goal that extended the lead to 17-0.

Houston finally garnered some momentum by virtue of a 9-play, 71-yard trek that culminated in Randy Bullock's 27-yard field goal with 6:09 left in the third quarter. Hopkins had three catches totaling 43 yards on the march.

Weatherford pinned the Texans back on their own seven on their next possession, but Blue broke off a 46-yard run into New York territory and Damaris Johnson got behind the secondary to cradle in Fitzpatrick's well- thrown deep strike for a 44-yard touchdown that suddenly trimmed the deficit to 17-10 late in the third.

Manning calmly directed another long series, however, with he and Jennings moving the Giants 66 yards in 10 plays to allow Brown to knock through a 29- yard field goal with 12:19 to play.

Houston had its fate sealed shortly afterward, as New York's Damontre Moore blocked a punt that landed out of bounds at the Texans' 29. Three plays later, Daniel Fells made a diving 9-yard touchdown grab from Manning that staked the Giants to a 27-10 cushion.

Fitzpatrick's third interception of the day, produced by Dominique Rodgers- Cromartie deep in Houston territory, got Brown in range to hit a 31-yard field goal attempt with just over 5 1/2 minutes left.

Hopkins' 49-yard catch and a pass interference call on New York's Prince Amukamara led to Fitzpatrick's 1-yard plunge that capped the scoring at the two-minute warning.

Game Notes

The Texans were held to a 2-of-12 conversion rate on third down ... Foster was declared inactive due to a hamstring injury after being listed questionable to play ... Jennings' previous career best of 150 yards also came against the Texans, while then with the Raiders on Nov. 17 of last season ... Cruz's touchdown catch also was his first at home since the 2012 regular-season finale against Philadelphia ... Blue caught a 10-yard pass from punter Shane Lechler on a successful fake in the first quarter.