DENVER (AP) — Eli Manning ignored the loss of four wide receivers, and the reeling New York Giants capped a stormy week of injuries and infighting by stunning the Denver Broncos 23-10 on Sunday night.
The Giants (1-5) pulled off one of the season’s biggest upsets by dominating Denver in every phase from start to finish. The Broncos (3-2) blew a golden opportunity to close in on Kansas City in the AFC West after the Steelers knocked off the last unbeaten team in the league earlier Sunday.
Visiting teams went 8-5 in Week 6 and are 46-44 overall this upside-down NFL season.
Jason Pierre-Paul had a trio of sacks for the Giants, who came into Denver tottering from a tumultuous week in which three wide receivers landed on injured reserve, five other starters were sidelined with injuries and cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie was suspended for insubordination.
It was a wipe-out, all right, just not the one everyone was expecting.
“Nobody is giving us a chance in hell to win this ballgame,” coach Ben McAdoo said as he prepared to bring his team to Denver, where the Broncos were healthy, coming off a bye and leading the league in defense.
Yet the Giants had a goal-line stand to go with four sacks and two interceptions, double their season total. And it was the Broncos who bumbled their way through a nightmarish night filled with muffs and mistakes, flags and frustration.
Quarterback Trevor Siemian was knocked out of the game briefly, and he lost his right tackle Menelik Watson (calf) along with receivers Emmanuel Sanders and rookie Isaiah McKenzie to ankle injuries.
Before being soundly booed as they retreated to the locker room trailing 17-3 at the half, the Broncos kept hollering at each other in the huddle, couldn’t convert third downs and gave up more big plays than they had all season.
The biggest came when Siemian, who earlier threw into triple and even quadruple coverage while overlooking open targets, threw a pick-six to cornerback Janoris Jenkins . His 43-yard interception return for a touchdown with 48 seconds left before halftime gave New York a two-touchdown cushion and left Siemian writhing in pain.
Siemian dived at Jenkins as he scooted past him near the goal line, and Siemian jammed his left shoulder into the ground. It’s the same shoulder that bothered him almost all of last year and required surgery in January. He was replaced by Brock Osweiler but returned to start the second half.
On this night, it was the Broncos who were the team in turmoil, falling behind 20-3 before Siemian hit Jeff Heuerman from 13 yards out with four minutes remaining.
Aldrick Rosas hit a 40-yard field goal in the final minute, and then made the tackle of Brendan Langley after a 47-yard kickoff return.
FIRST QUARTER FOLLIES: Denver hadn’t allowed any points and just two first downs in the first quarter before yielding a 13-play, 69-yard drive that ate up seven minutes and ended with a 25-yard field goal that gave the Giants a 3-0 lead.
The Broncos surrendered four first downs on the drive that set the tone for the game.
KICKING WOES: Brandon McManus’ miss from 35 yards out, his fourth missed chip shot of the season, was an ominous sign for Denver. He also had a 53-yard attempt that was blocked.
McManus has been anything but money since signing an $11.25 million extension last month. His 53-yarder blocked by Kerry Wynn was his fifth miss in 13 tries. Last year, he missed five times in 34 tries.
Adam Gotsis returned the favor by blocking Rosas’ 49-yard field goal try.
BIG GAIN: The Broncos were allowing just 50.8 yards rushing per game. Orleans Darkwa gained almost that many on one run in the second quarter when he knifed right up the middle and wasn’t pulled down until safety Justin Simmons caught up with him 47 yards later.
That set up Manning’s 5-yard TD toss to tight end Evan Engram that gave New York a 10-0 lead.
Darkwa finished with 117 yards, the most this season against Denver, which had shut down Melvin Gordon, Ezekiel Elliott, LeSean McCoy and Marshawn Lynch before their bye.
M*A*S*H UNIT: In addition to being without star Odell Beckham Jr., the Giants didn’t have five other starters. Defensive end Olivier Vernon (ankle) and linebacker Jonathan Casillas (neck) were missing from a defense that was already without Rodgers-Cromartie, who was suspended indefinitely.
Center Weston Richburg (concussion), running back Paul Perkins (ribs) and receiver Sterling Shepard (ankle) were also missing on offense.
Not that the Giants missed any of them on this night.
New York returns home to host the Seattle Seahawks before a bye week.
The Broncos visit the Los Angeles Chargers in the first of three consecutive road games.
(Copyright 2017 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)