What. A. Finish.
Down 11 points with just about 12 minutes to spare in the fourth quarter, the New York Giants flipped the switch and scored 17 unanswered points to take a huge road victory against the New Orleans Saints at the Caesars Superdome this season.
Though it was difficult not to notice the typical blunders fans have grown accustomed to seeing from this team, the Giants displayed a lot of improvement from start to finish, putting together their best performance of the season so far.
Even with the absence of a handful of starting offensive linemen (Shane Lemieux, Nick Gates, and Ben Bredeson) as well as two of quarterback Daniel Jones’s top receivers (Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton), the Giants found a way to succeed by using their creativity and versatility to garner big, momentum-generating plays on both sides of the ball.
There’s a lot to take away from this performance, especially the intriguing statistical results that portray how the game unfolded. On that note, here are the five most significant numbers from the Giants' 27-21 overtime victory against New Orleans.
Average Yards Per Gain
Average yards per gain is a unique statistic. Positive gains are what determine the success of an offensive drive. The bigger the gains, the greater the likelihood an offense will score and capitalize.
In short, the Giants' offense has been pretty bad to start the season when it comes to average yards per gain.
With a 5.3 average against Denver in Week 1, to 6.1 against Washington in Week 2, to 5.4 against Atlanta in Week 3, the Giants were struggling with stringing along large, positive gains consistently to move the ball down the field to create the scoring opportunities they needed.
Against the Saints, however, that all changed. New York posted a yards per gain average of 8.1 (a season-high) with 485 total yards to show for as a result.
Moreover, two of the Giants' three touchdowns went for over 50+ yards each, with receiver John Ross catching a 51-yard dime from Jones in the second quarter, followed by another 54-yard touchdown pass to Saquon Barkley a little later in the fourth quarter.
Making the most of your opportunities is the name of the game. And against the Saints, this Giants offense rose to the occasion in yards per gain and delivered an impressive offensive performance.
Opponent 3rd Down Conversions
When it comes to playing defense, preventing third-down conversions is truly game-changing. As a defense, you aim to cause the offense to face third downs situations every time they step on the field while making sure they fail to convert them simultaneously.
On the season, the Giants haven’t been all that bad on third downs, ranking 15th in the league in opponent third-down percentage (39.0).
Finishing with a 47% opponent third-down conversion rate against Denver, a 31% average against Washington, and another solid 38% performance against Atlanta, the Saints converted eight of 13 third-down attempts, equating to a 62% average on the day.
Furthermore, four of those third downs came on the 13 play, 75-yard touchdown drive that the Saints put together before halftime, while another two occurred on the 11 play, 63-yard touchdown drive that gave the Saints an 11-point lead in the fourth.
To put it simply, conceding third-down conversions are back-breaking, momentum killers that allow offenses to capitalize on second-chance opportunities. And as we saw first against the Falcons and now against the Saints, the more third-down conversions the Giants give up, the more likely the opposing offense will score.
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The Giants could be at a crossroad at running back as Saquon Barkley and Devontae Booker enter the final years of their respective deals in 2022. Might the Giants look to start adding to the cupboard with the Michigan senior?
This concerning trend has to stop if the Giants want to give themselves the best chance to win moving forward. If they don’t, the Giants could find themselves coming up short once again in close games scenarios moving forward.
In all honesty, more than one wide receiver on this Giants offense stepped up against the Saints, including both Kadarius Toney and John Ross III. But considering the demand and expectations that this offense has from Golladay, his strong receiving talent showed up when the Giants needed it the most, proving to be a big x-factor in the absence of Slayton and Shepard.
On seven targets, Golladay reeled in six receptions for a season-high 116 receiving yards on the day. His big performance included a critical 28-yard reception on a third and seven play in the fourth quarter, which set up the Giants for their game-tying field goal by Gano a few plays later.
To add to it, Golladay caught a significant 23-yard pass on a third and five play in overtime, which allowed the Giants to score their game-winning touchdown.
Golladay stepped up in a major way for this Giants offense, demonstrating just how special he can be when the game is on the line from his production to his clutch plays.
No Sacks Allowed
For the first time since Week 12 of the 2020 season, Jones did not record a single sack on the day, a very encouraging sign from an offensive line that is far from full strength.
One goal the Giants offense has been aiming toward for quite some time now is providing Jones with a group of pass blockers that can grant him the time he needs to find the best receiving options he has downfield.
A big reason Jones has been able to succeed the way he has with his passing this year is largely due to how effective his offensive line has been at protecting him in the pocket.
Against the Saints, this offensive line easily executed its best pass blocking performance of the season so far, shutting down a dangerous pass-rushing threat in Cameron Jordan while fending off a storm of blitzes that put Jones at risk throughout the game.
Add on the fact that Jones managed to produce a career-high in passing yards on the day, and this offensive line’s zero sack stat figure is but a mere microcosm of the success they achieved against the Saints.
Speaking of his career-high, single-game passing yards’ performance, what Jones managed to accomplish against the Saints provided Giants fans a small glimpse of the potential this young man truly has.
Giants fans have been waiting patiently to see their young, competitive quarterback deliver on the first-round potential he came in with when he entered the NFL in 2019. And his production against the Saints put that upside on full display.
Jones looked very poised, confident, and collected with his approach, maximizing his awareness and feel for the pocket by executing sharp, spot-on throws to his receivers. Not only did Jones rack up a whopping total of 402 yards, but he also did so with a completion percentage of 70, the first time he’s done so since Week 10 of the 2020 season.
But what makes this stat stick out the way it does, comes down to the reality that before Sunday, Jones recorded just five 300+ yard game performances since stepping into the league, with all five of those games taking place during his rookie season in 2019.
To see Jones spearhead an offensive onslaught with 402 passing yards against a Saints defense that was third in the league in opponent passer rating (67.1) leading up to this game is a very reassuring sign for this Giants offense and the potential it can reach with their young quarterback.
More from Giants Country
- Giants Notch First Win of Season, 27-21: Instant Reaction and Takeaways
- New York Giants Top Saints in Overtime, 27-21
- New York Giants Week 4 Report Card: Improvement Across the Board in Overtime Win Over Saints
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