HOUSTON -- Quarterback Eli Manning completed 25-of-29 passes for 297 yards and two touchdowns behind a revamped offensive line as the New York Giants spoiled the Houston Texans' home opener with a 27-22 victory on Sunday.
The Giants, looking to avoid their second straight 0-3 start, shook things up on offense, benching right tackle Ereck Flowers, their 2015 first-round draft pick, and inserting undrafted free agent Chad Wheeler, who mostly went against Texans pass rusher J.J. Watt, into the lineup.
New York also used veteran John Greco at center in place of injured Jon Halapio, who was lost for the season last week.
The Texans, who got on the board first with the first of kicker Ka'imi Fairbairn's three field goals, this one from 23 yards, soon relinquished the lead to the Giants after running back Saquon Barkley scored on a 15-yard rush.
Barkley's score and the ensuing PAT gave the Giants a 7-3 lead, their first lead of the season.
The Giants' offense finally ran like a well-oiled machine, scoring on all four of their first-half possessions, thanks to two field goals by Aldrick Rosas and a 16-yard touchdown reception by tight end Rhett Ellison.
The Giants, who converted 5-of-7 third-down attempts in the first half, also managed to strike a nice balance on offense in the first half, rushing 18 times and passing 14 as they jumped out to a 20-6 lead in the half.
"We went from being almost in a lot of areas to finishing," Giants head coach Pat Shurmur said after the game. "It was a team victory. We found a way to move the ball to score early, which was important."
The Texans had their opportunities but ended up squandering them thanks to penalties. Second-year offensive tackle Julie'n Davenport was flagged five times in this game, three for a false start and two for holding. His final two penalties were especially painful, as a false start turned a second-and-5 from the Giants' 5-yard line into a second-and-10 while his holding penalty in the fourth quarter wiped a touchdown off the board.
Watt, who had been looking for his first sack since 2016, managed to get three against Wheeler. He also finished third on the team with eight tackles and had three tackles for a loss, four quarterback hits and had a forced fumble in what was his most productive game yet.
Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson was forced to carry his team's offense on his shoulders after the Texans realized they weren't going to have much luck running the ball against a stout Giants defensive front led by nose tackle Damon Harrison. The Giants held the Texans to 59 yards on 19 carries
Watson, meanwhile, completed 24-of-40 passes for 385 yards and two touchdowns. He was also sacked three times and picked off once while using his legs to get himself out of trouble a few times.
The Texans shut the Giants out in the third quarter as they continued on a roll, scoring 12 straight points on two Fairbairn field goals and a 6-yard touchdown catch by receiver Will Fuller to make it 20-15.
However, the Giants' defense came up with two big turnovers to snuff out second-half Texans scoring drives. None was bigger than inside linebacker Alec Ogletree's fourth-quarter interception in the end zone on a pass intended for running back Lamar Miller.
Earlier in the game, defensive end Kerry Wynn forced a fumble after Miller caught a 6-yard pass from Watson at the Giants' 27-yard line. The loose ball was pounced upon by Giants cornerback Donte Deayon to snuff out yet another Texans scoring drive.
The Giants increased their lead on a 7-yard touchdown reception by receiver Sterling Shepard to cap a nine-play, 77-yard scoring drive with 5:29 left in the game.
The Texans managed to get a 4-yard touchdown reception from running back Lamar Miller in garbage time. That score came with one second left to close out the scoring at 27-22.
NOTES: Giants TE Evan Engram (knee) was forced from the game in the first half. Engram appeared to take a helmet to his right knee and while he tried to get back to the field, he later came out to receive further evaluation. Engram, who last week dealt with an ankle issue, was spotted in the postgame locker room with a brace on his knee. He is set to have an MRI on Monday. ... The Giants also lost reserve CB Antonio Hamilton, who hurt a groin during warmups. That's not good news for a cornerback group that was already missing starter Eli Apple (groin).