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Giants' defense has displayed its growth in last few weeks

Darnay Holmes #30 of the Giants intercepts a

Darnay Holmes #30 of the Giants intercepts a pass intended for Byron Pringle #13 of Kansas City that was later overturned during the second half at Arrowhead Stadium on November 01, 2021 in Kansas City,. Credit: Getty Images/Jamie Squire

Darnay Holmes is an example of how well the Giants defense has been playing of late and also of how far they have to go. He was the cornerback who intercepted Patrick Mahomes late in the fourth quarter of Monday night’s game only to have the takeaway overturned because linebacker Oshane Ximines was offsides.

"It’s part of the journey," he told Newsday of his would-be game-changing play. "At the end of the day we will all learn from it as an organization for sure."

The penalty and loss aside, though, Holmes’ interception-that-wasn’t was actually a bright spot for a defense that held Kansas City to 20 points — seven of them coming on a 13-yard "drive" after Daniel Jones was picked off in the first quarter — and has allowed 23 points in the past two games combined.

"We’re all out there being who we know we’re supposed to be," Holmes said. "We’re hitting on cylinders we may not have been hitting on earlier just because of the process of the season. We’ve been detail oriented and are sticking to our assignments."

On Sunday they’ll be tested in that by the Raiders and Derek Carr who, the last time he played before his bye week, completed 31 of 34 passes for 323 yards against Philadelphia.

"That game against the Eagles was a clinic, an offensive clinic," safety Logan Ryan said. "You’ve got to give him his respect. We’ve got to make it difficult on him pre-snap in what he does and what he’s seeing and not let it be the truth all the time, only the truth some of the times. Make him hopefully check in some plays that aren’t ideal so he does worse than 31 of 34."

Maybe even lure him into an interception, as Holmes did to Mahomes. Veteran teammates Ryan and James Bradberry both spoke about how Holmes had been seeing that play in games and practices and on Monday was able to anticipate it and defend it.

"The biggest thing we talk about is that proper fundamentals lead to big plays," Holmes said. "I placed myself in the right position based on the fundamentals at that time, and I was able to come up with the play."

Momentarily, anyway.

"There are no ‘attaboys,’ " Ryan said. "We played well on defense, but not well enough to win. There was some unfortunate stuff at the end… We’ll take from the good and we’ll learn from some of the bad that we’ve got to clean up."

The Holmes play, it turned out, had both of those elements.

Notes & quotes: With injuries to wide receivers and returners continuing to mount — Kenny Golladay (knee), Sterling Shepard (quad) and Dante Pettis (shoulder) were listed as non-participants in Wednesday’s walk-through workout while Kadarius Toney (thumb) was limited — the Giants signed veteran Pharoh Cooper and Alex Bachman to their practice squad. Golladay has missed three games and may return to practicing this week but Shepard and Pettis, who were hurt in Monday night’s game are not expected back until after the bye next week … Besides the receivers and those sidelined by COVID protocols, LB Lorenzo Carter (ankle) and DB Nate Ebner (ankle) did not practice.

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