DENVER -- Struck by a wave of injuries in the past week, the New York Giants regrouped behind an invigorated defense and steady offensive play.
Cornerback Janoris Jenkins returned an interception 43 yards for a touchdown, and New York's defense produced a key goal-line stand in the fourth quarter, leading the previously winless Giants past the Denver Broncos 23-10 on Sunday night.
New York quarterback Eli Manning threw for just 128 yards, but tossed a touchdown pass to rookie tight end Evan Engram. Aldrick Rosas kicked three field goals for the Giants (1-5), who came in as a heavy underdog after being battered by injuries. They opened the game with seven starting lineup changes, including running back, wide receiver and a revamped offensive line.
On the line, Justin Pugh moved from left guard to right tackle replacing Bobby Hart, John Jerry went from right guard to left guard and D.J. Fluker started at right guard. In addition, head coach Ben McAdoo, who had been calling offensive plays since becoming the team's offensive coordinator in 2014 and then head coach last year, ceded those duties to offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan.
"It's a special win," Manning said. "With everything going on, losing four receivers last week, and coming into this week, there could be a lot of people that wrote us off for this game. I don't think anyone picked us to win this game. But just for the preparation all week, the commitment all week to come in here, there was no giving up, no laying down.
"We knew the circumstance that we were in, but the only thing you can do is be responsible for how you handle the situation. We handled our business tonight and played well enough to win."
The Giants' defense was a critical difference-maker, stopping C.J. Anderson for no gain on a fourth-and-goal from the 1-yard line midway through the fourth quarter. The unit also exerted tremendous pressure on Denver quarterback Trevor Siemian, who was sacked four times, three of them by defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul.
"We found ourselves in the position where we were in the lead, and (before) we let it go," Pierre-Paul said. "This time, we had the lead and we just put our foot on the pedal and kept it going and kept driving no matter what. It was relentless effort."
Siemian left the game briefly near the end of the second quarter with a left shoulder injury, but he returned to open the third. He finished with 376 yards passing, completing 29 of 50 attempts, including a 13-yard touchdown pass to tight end Jeff Heuerman with 4:07 remaining. He was intercepted twice as the Broncos (3-2) lost coming off their bye week.
"I think we hurt ourselves," Siemian said. "We didn't score in the red zone and I turned it over. It's tough to win that way. You're already playing a good team; you can't play against yourself as well."
Anderson said the Broncos were simply outplayed by the Giants.
"We just got our butts kicked," Anderson said. "I don't know what else to say. It's plain and simple. It was bad execution and bad football. It's on us. The good thing is we know it's on us and it can be corrected."
The Broncos also lost a key offensive player when wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders was sidelined by an ankle injury in the third quarter.
Up by 14 at the half, the Giants stretched their lead to 20-3 on Rosas' second field goal, a 51-yarder midway through the third quarter. He added a 40-yarder with 27 seconds left to play.
Both teams had third-quarter field-goal attempts blocked.
The Giants led 17-3 at halftime, getting a defensive touchdown on top of a surprisingly productive offensive showing despite a siege of injuries that practically wiped out their receiving corps.
Odell Beckham Jr., Brandon Marshall and Dwayne Harris all were placed on injured reserve last week after going down with season-ending injuries. In addition, wide receiver Sterling Shepard was among the team's inactive players against Denver because of an ankle injury.
New York led 10-3 in the last minute of the second quarter before Jenkins stepped in front of wide receiver Bennie Fowler to intercept a Siemian pass. Jenkins went down the right sideline largely unopposed, stepping out of the Denver quarterback's diving attempt to stop him just before crossing the goal line for the score.
On the Giants' opening possession, Manning drove the team to a 25-yard Rosas field goal.
Early in the second quarter, Manning later hit Engram with a 5-yard touchdown pass. Running back Orleans Darkwa (21 carries, 117 yards) helped put the Giants in scoring position on the touchdown drive, breaking free on a run up the middle for a 47-yard gain to the Broncos 13-yard line.
Denver's Brandon McManus, who missed wide right with his first field-goal try, from 35 yards, connected on a 28-yarder with 4:12 remaining in the second quarter.
NOTES: The Giants' injury-riddled receiver corps was not the only area of the team hit hard by injuries. RB Orleans Darkwa started in place of inactive RB Paul Perkins (ribs), and C Brett Jones started in place of inactive Weston Richburg (concussion). On defense, the Giants were without LB Jonathan Casillas (neck) and DE Olivier Vernon (ankle). ... QB Eli Manning played in his 207th game as a Giant, tying Howard Cross for the second-most games in team history. Michael Strahan leads with 216 games in his Giants career. ... Broncos CB Chris Harris Jr. played in his 100th career game. ... Broncos RT Menelik Watson left the game in the first half with a calf injury and did not return. ... Giants LB Calvin Munson was ruled out for the remainder of the game after sustaining a quad injury in the first half.