There's nothing quite like that first victory of the season, especially after three heartbreaking losses. And while the New York Giants 27-21 overtime win against the New Orleans Saints is just a first step on a very long road this Giants team needs to take if it's to gets its critics to start taking it seriously, it is a big step in the right direction.
The challenge moving forward will be to start stacking these types of performance on top of one another. The Giants will get their chance to build on this momentum starting next week when they visit the Dallas Cowboys for a division game the Giants can ill-afford to drop.
Now on to the grades.
Giants Run Offense: B+
New York managed just 83 yards on 20 carries on the ground, the revamped offensive line having early game issues with opening holes in between the tackles. Still, a 4.0 average and one rushing touchdown against a Saints run defense that, coming into this game, was ranked third in the league (60.3 rushing yards allowed) is worthy of a higher grade.
And kudos to an alert Kyle Rudolph for pouncing on a rare Saquon Barkley fumble during the overtime period.
Passing Offense: A
This is what the Giants need from Daniel Jones and the passing game every week: 402 yards, two touchdowns, a 70 percent completion rate, and zero sacks. (That one interception on Jones's stat line, by the way, came on a Hail Mary and isn't even worth commenting on).
And how about the game plan to get Kenny Golladay and Kadarius Toney more involved? The Giants averaged a season-high 10.1 yards per pass attempt, and seven of their top-10 biggest chunk plays (20+ yards) came via the air. Impressive right? But let's go back to the offensive line, which, despite playing in the thunder dome, didn't give up a single sack despite allowing six quarterback hits against a Saints pass rush that came in, averaging two sacks per game.
The one glaring wart this week was Evan Engram's dropped pass on a third-down on a ball thrown slightly behind him but still one he needed to haul in.
Run Defense: C
Alvin Karama finished with 120 rushing yards on 26 carries (the Saints coming in with 170 total rushing yards), but the Giants did a good job of keeping him out of the end zone.
The same, however, can't be said of Taysom Hill, who had six carries for 28 yards, including two touchdown runs up the gut, one of those touchdowns coming when at least four Giants defenders missed tackles.
Pass Defense: C+
The Giants were shut out on the stat sheet in the sacks department and didn't even get a sniff of Jameis Winston, who was kept clean this week.
Otherwise, they did well to keep everything in front of them and not get burned for large chunk plays through the air. The longest play allowed was a 58-yarder to Marquez Callaway in the third quarter on a play where he beat Giants cornerback James Bradberry (who appeared to be expecting safety help).
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That completion set up a touchdown, but again, other than for that play, the Giants weren't beaten deep by Winston's arm.
Special Teams: B
This week, the Giants' special teams' showing was a mixed bag filled with more good than bad. Getting the bad out of the way, you have Graham Gano's 35-yard wide left attempt that ended his streak of 37 consecutive made field goals dating back to last season. How any kicker mishits anything inside the pristine conditions of a dome is a head scratcher.
Jabrill Peppers made a head-scratching decision for a fair catch on a ball that he fielded at the 6-yard line instead of letting it hit and roll back for a touchback. Even if the Saints downed the ball, the odds were still in his favor that the punt would have been a touchback.
Now for the good. Gano nailed his other two field-goal attempts, including the game-tying one from 48 yards out. C.J. Board, taking over for Peppers on punt returns when he strained his hamstring. And the coverage units were fine as Deonte Harris only had one punt return for nine yards and two kickoff returns for 40 yards.
Again much better for the most part. We'll start with Jason Garrett's play-calling, and deployment of Saquon Barkley split out wide, which paid off dividends.
And how about the job done by offensive line coach Rob Sale in getting the Giants' fourth different starting offensive line combination ready to play in the loud Superdome, no less? If you missed the note from above, the Giants allowed zero sacks in one of their best performances of the season.
Just a couple of small gripes in the grand scheme of things. First, not sure why Judge decided to kick the field goal on a 4th-and-1 from the Saints 16-yard line. The Giants had attempted a deep shot on the play before, so why not trust the offense to get the first down? Then again, when your kicker is usually reliable--which he wasn't at that particular junction of the game, maybe it's not such a hard decision.
But what about the use of the timeouts in the first half? Had he done so, the offense would have surely had more than 23 seconds left to move the ball downfield; instead, they had to attempt an unsuccessful Hail Mary.
Finally, raise your hand if you saw the jet sweep to tight end Evan Engram coming when the Giants made it down to the 2-yard line.
All that said, the coaching was far more solid than it's been all season and a part of the win.
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
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