The New York Giants earned their first win of the season--a27-21 overtime win, no less--against the New Orleans Saints at the Superdome. There are a number of takeaways to discuss from this week, some negative, others positive, but at the end of the day, the Giants finally have that elusive first win.
Of course, at first, it didn't look promising for the Giants, who at one point were down by 11 points with 7:14 left in the game. But after having some struggles to stop the Saints rushing attack as led by Alvin Kamara, the Giants defense came through with a big stop by Lorenzo Carter and Azeez Ojulari that forced the Saints to punt the football back to the Giants.
New York received the ball, down 21-10. Offensive coordinator Jason Garrett finally did something we've been calling to see more often: he had running back Saquon Barkley split out wide. Quarterback Daniel Jones found the talented running back in a one-on-one match-up, and Barkley made his covering defender miss and before juking through a safety for a 54-yard touchdown.
That score shifted the momentum. The Saints committed a false start penalty on the ensuing drive, and the Giants were able to pressure Jameis Winston and force a punt.
The Giants nickel-and-dimed the Saints downfield on an 11-play 59-yard drive where Graham Gano, who missed a 35-yarder earlier in the game, booted a 48-yard field goal to send the game to overtime.
Jabrill Peppers won the coin toss and stated, in an enthusiastic manner, that the Giants wanted the ball. Daniel Jones led a 9-play, 75-yard drive finished by a Saquon Barkley touchdown run and the Giants' first victory.
The win showed resilience, something the Giants needed to prove after two straight losses where the team should have probably won the football game. The Saints played a ball-control style of football, and they beat the Giants in time of possession, 37:31 to 27:35.
The Saints game plan seemed to be working. They had an 11-play, 68-yard drive, which resulted in Taysom Hill's second rushing touchdown. The Giants' defense looked tired of the physical Hill and started to allow some chunk rushing plays to Kamara. (Side note: It seemed clear the Giants missed Blake Martinez's presence because they were losing the physicality battle.)
Kamara finished the game with 26-carries for 120-yards rushing, and Hill finished with six carries for 28-yards and two touchdowns. The Saints attempted to use Deonte Harris' unique speed on quick passes, but the Giants defense did a sold job containing Harris and his eight targets.
The Giants outgained the Saints 485 to 405. For the first time in his career, Daniel Jones threw for at least 400 yards. He connected on deep passes to Barkley, John Ross, and Kenny Golladay. Jones also found Kadarius Toney on a 21-yard gain.
Toney, who saw his role increase (finally) with Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton, both sidelined with hamstring strains, did a great job not throwing an interception on a trick play where Toney was set up to pass deep.
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The Saints covered the play well, and the young player and former high school quarterback saw what was happening and wisely didn't force anything.
Kenny Golladay had his first 100-yard game with the Giants. He went six for 116 on seven targets. Barkley's involvement in the passing game has been a big sticking point among Giants fans, and even that was corrected this week, as Barkley caught five catches on six targets for 74-yards and the score.
Saints head coach Sean Payton loves using Taysom Hill all over the field, but the usage of Hill burned him when he attempted to attack the Giants deep twice.
The first pass was a long touchdown to Deonte Harris that was called back because of an obvious hold against Leonard Williams.
New York adjusted their defense and played for pass, and Payton attempted to get tricky and use Hill's arm again. This time, cornerback James Bradberry wasn't fooled, and he intercepted the quarterback in the third quarter.
The Giants offense didn't score on the ensuing drive, but it did give them a breather by stopping another lengthy Saints scoring drive.
Both the Saints and the Giants had conservative approaches to the game, but both teams attempted deep shots built off the play-action approach. The Giants attempted to settle for a field goal on a 4th-and-1 early in the game, but Gano, as previously noted, had a rare miss.
On the next drive, Saints kicker (and former Giant) Aldrick Rosas missed a 58-yard attempt wide right.
This was a much-needed win in a very hostile environment against a defense that theoretically should have dominated the trenches. Still, the Giants' offense proved to be resilient when it mattered most.
New York is now 1-3 and will look to upset the division rival Cowboys in Week 5 at Dallas.
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