Barely nine minutes had passed Sunday night in Denver when Jason Pierre-Paul first took down Trevor Siemian, stripping the Broncos quarterback of the ball.
Later, as the Broncos attempted to cut a third quarter deficit, the Giants defensive end wrapped up Siemian again at midfield, helping stall another drive, before tying his career-high with a third sack in the fourth quarter.
It was Pierre-Paul at his peak — strong, and fast, and changing the game the way few of his teammates can — and the Giants’ defense at its best. The Giants held Denver to a season-low 10 points in the 23-10 upset win, after having allowed an average of 24.4 over the first five weeks.
It was Pierre-Paul, as the Giants desperately need him to be.
“His juice, his energy, it fuels the team, especially on the defensive side of the ball,” defensive line coach Pat Graham said. “He’s a pleasure to be around because when that energy comes … when he has the juice, it’s just contagious. Guys get excited.
“His juice is always a positive and guys will feed off that, but we need it to be every week. It needs to be consistent and he knows that, and he’s working towards that. I think last week there were some steps in practice, especially, that are going to help transfer on the field.”
Pierre-Paul had admitted he wasn’t pleased with his play to start the season, having recorded just 1.5 sacks through the first five games of the first year of his four-year, $62 million contract. But in the win over the Broncos, Pierre-Paul resembled the star who recorded 16.5 sacks in 2011, with the 28-year-old adding a season-high eight tackles (seven solo).
“I don’t look at what I did last week or what I’m about to do,” Pierre-Paul said Friday. “Whatever opponent is in front of me, I figure him out and that’s when I get to work.
“I’m gonna bring the juice no matter what. At the end of the day, we’ve been counted out. I’ve been counted out plenty of times, but nobody can tell you when it’s your time. I’m gonna continue playing football the best way I can, stopping the run and getting to the quarterback and pressuring the quarterback. I’m gonna do everything I can to help my team win this game.”
With the Seahawks coming to MetLife Stadium on Sunday, Pierre-Paul is in the difficult position of trying to pressure Russell Wilson — but not by chasing the mobile quarterback out of the pocket.
“You’ve got to keep him contained,” Pierre-Paul said. “He’s a fast guy, played with him before. We’ve got to keep him contained and do your assignments well. … He’s a tougher quarterback, he makes things happen. If you look, he’s a special kind of guy. He can be falling down and he throws the ball downfield and gets it complete, so we really have to get there.
“I look forward to going out this week and putting a great performance on but at the same time, doing my assignments as well. … You can’t just go out there and free-ball the whole defense, but I’m just ready to go out there and play my game.”
And attempt to make an impact beyond his play, giving advice to rookie Avery Moss, who has helped fill in at defensive end, with Olivier Vernon set to miss his third straight game.
“I try to coach him up here and there on the field, but I think he gets it,” Pierre-Paul said. “[I tell him,] ‘Don’t try to think too much about what’s going on. You’re going to mess up.’ That’s just the part of the game.”