The Giants’ defense kept the Saints at bay, Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley turned up the temperature on offense, and Big Blue came from behind to secure a 27-21 overtime victory over New Orleans at the Caesars Superdome on Oct. 3.
Facing criticism for conservative play calls, the shorthanded Giants’ offense — without injured receivers Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton — found success mixing in some deeper passes, including a crucial 51-yard scoring play in the second quarter when Jones connected with receiver John Ross to put the Giants on top, 7-0.
Ross appeared to fumble the ball as he reached the goal line, but he nonetheless recovered — and was credited with scoring before he lost control of the ball.
That lead, however, would be short-lived, as Jameis Winston and the Saints moved down the field with a 13-play, 90-yard touchdown drive with 23 seconds to go in the half to tie the game at 7-7. New Orleans tacked on another touchdown early in the third quarter before Giants kicker Graham Gano — whose streak of 37 straight field goals was snapped in the first half — drilled a 23-yarder to pull the Giants within four.
The Saints’ Taysom Hill, after scoring on an eight-yard touchdown rush in the third quarter, followed up with another eight-yard score in the fourth quarter, giving his squad a 21-10 edge with just over 12 minutes to go in the game.
The Giants initially struggled to keep up in the second half as they watched the Saints go on a 21-3 run, but New York did not go down with a whimper. Down by 11 with seven minutes remaining in the game, Jones needed just one play to drop a short pass to Saquon Barkley, who maneuvered his way down the field for a 54-yard touchdown reception. Jones ran in the two-point conversion to make it a three-point game.
Minutes later, Jones and the Giants were back on out on the field following a crucial stop by the Giants on defense. New York put together an 11-play drive, which included a 28-yard strike to Kenny Golladay, sending the Giants into field goal range. Gano knocked in a 48-yarder to tie the game with 36 seconds left, setting up overtime.
The Giants received the opening kickoff in overtime and Jones immediately got to work. He spread the ball around to Ross, Barkley, and Golladay to help the Giants move the chains and inch closer to a game-winning score. Barkley capped off the drive with a six-yard touchdown run, delivering the Giants their first victory of the season.
Jones finished 28 of 40 for 402 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception — by far his most passing yards this season after previously throwing a season-high 267 yards in the season-opening loss to the Broncos. He also ran the ball four times for 27 yards.
Barkley, meanwhile, lacked explosiveness on the ground, but kicked into gear later in the game when the team needed him the most — and he wound up with 74 yards receiving to go along with 52 yards rushing.
The Giants’ passing attack was buoyed by Golladay, who finished with six catches for 116 yards, and Kadarius Toney, who hauled in six grabs for 78 yards. Evan Engram chipped in five catches for 27 yards during a game when Jones threw passes of at least 20 yards to five different receivers.
The Saints, on the other hand, failed to put the Giants away when the opportunity arose. Alvin Kamara led the team with 120 yards rushing, but New Orleans never got much going through the air outside of a 58-yard pass to Marquez Callaway, who registered just two catches.
The 1-3 Giants return to action at 4:25 p.m. next Sunday in a key divisional battle against the 3-1 Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium.