The sacks usually come more often for Jason Pierre-Paul after the kickoff to the second half of the season. But he attacked for a career high-tying three sacks at Denver last Sunday as the Giants broke through for their first victory in six tries.
JPP wasn’t satisfied with his play during the winless start. The three sacks gave the eighth-year defensive end a team-high 4 1⁄2. But perhaps his night was a positive sign. Coming into the season, he had posted only 20 of his 50 career regular-season sacks in September or October. He hasn’t had this many in the first six weeks since 2011, when he had 7 1⁄2 on the way to a career-high 16 1⁄2.
His pass-rushing skills will be put to a more challenging October test when the Giants face Seattle on Sunday at MetLife Stadium because Russell Wilson presents a problem. The quarterback often fails to remain tucked inside the pocket.
“You’ve got to keep him contained,” Pierre-Paul said Friday. “He’s a fast guy . . . If you look, he’s a special kind of guy. He’ll be falling down and he’ll throw the ball downfield and he gets it complete.”
The 5-11 Wilson also buys time and throws strikes on the run.
“He’s like Houdini,” safety Darian Thompson said.
Besides firing for 1,222 yards and eight touchdowns, Wilson is the second-leading rusher for the Seahawks (3-2) with 154 yards on 30 carries. The Giants have yielded 94 yards on 22 carries by quarterbacks, and Wilson moves better than most.
“Last thing we want to do is give him a vertical lane where he can step up and run through the defense,” coach Ben McAdoo said. “He’s very dangerous when he can create.”
Defensive end Olivier Vernon will miss his third straight game with an ankle injury, so the Giants need Pierre-Paul to play the way he did in the mile-high air.
“His juice, his energy, it fuels the team, I think, especially on the defensive side of the ball,” defensive line coach Patrick Graham said. “He needs to be consistent. He knows that, and he’s working toward that.”
JPP said he strives for defensive player of the year every year.
“I’m going to bring the juice no matter what,” he said. “At the end of the day, we’ve been counted out. I’ve been counted out plenty of times. But can’t nobody tell you when it’s your time.”
Notes & quotes: RB Paul Perkins (ribs), C Weston Richburg (concussion) and LBs Jonathan Casillas (neck) and Calvin Munson (quadriceps) are out. WR Sterling Shepard (ankle) is questionable after missing the Denver game, but he has made progress. He said he will “see how it feels on game day.”