Giants’ defense playing with ‘nasty mentality’ in recent weeks

New York Giants defensive end Leonard Williams (99) gestures to the crowd before a fourth down during the fourth quarter against the Washington Commanders at MetLife Stadium
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants’ defense has been playing at a high level through the past several weeks. After a slow start to the season, the Giants are turning things around behind the performance of their defensive unit.

The Giants’ defense has been dominant in recent weeks

The Giants had not forced a turnover heading into the fifth week of the season. But through their last three games, Big Blue has forced six turnovers; a key statistic that has contributed to the team’s improved play in recent weeks.

Against the Buffalo Bills in Week 6, the Giants’ defense really started to heat up. They held All-Pro quarterback Josh Allen to only 169 passing yards. In Week 7, they once again surrendered less than 200 yards, as Washington Commanders quarterback Sam Howell threw for only 197 yards in the contest.

Playing with a “nasty mentality”

Coming off a spectacular performance in Big Blue’s Week 7 win over the Washington Commanders, defensive lineman Leonard Williams praised defensive coordinator Wink Martindale and opened up to The New York Post about the “nasty mentality” that the Giants’ defense is playing with.

“We like to be known as hunters and people who get after it — and we are like a pack. To instill that mindset in a defense and have that as a group really creates a nasty mentality.”

Leonard Williams via the New York Post

Martindale certainly has “hunters” in his defense. The Giants are blitzing 41.6% of the time this season (the third-highest rate in the NFL). After failing to record a sack through the first two weeks of the season, Big Blue’s defensive wrecking crew has come alive, amassing 11 sacks in their last five games.

In Week 7, New York sacked Howell six times en route to a 14–7 win. Martindale’s unit has turned up the heat and is helping turn the season around. If the Giants want to make an improbable playoff push, they will need their defense to continue playing with that nasty mentality.

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