NEW ORLEANS – The Giants have insisted throughout the offseason that they believe in Daniel Jones. On Sunday Jones proved they weren’t blowing smoke. Jones might be the real deal after all. It certainly looked like it against the Saints on Sunday.
Everything was against Jones. He was without two of his best targets (Sterling Shepard, Darius Slayton), his offensive line was in shambles with injuries. The noise from the crowd was deafening at the Superdome. The Giants were big underdogs on the road. They lost 21-10 at the start of the fourth quarter.
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But Jones has stood up to one of the best defenses in the NFL. He found Saquon Barkley on a long touchdown pass. He guided the Giants on a scoring campaign to tie the game at the end of the fourth quarter, ending with a field goal from Graham Gano.
The Giants won 27-21 in overtime after Jones led the field offense and scored on a Barkley run.
Jones was simply stellar. And if the Giants have any hope for the rest of the season, it starts with him. He hit a career-high 402 passing yards, his first 300-yard game since 2019. He also threw his first interception of the season, but it came at the end of the first half on a Hail Mary, so maybe it shouldn’t. does not count.
The Giants have pulled off one of their biggest upsets in years, and they have to thank Jones for leading them to victory, against all odds, and possibly saving the season in the process.
The schedule only gets tougher from here, but the Giants will have a chance most weeks as long as Jones is their quarterback.
With that, here are five more observations of Sunday’s win, which took the Giants to 1-3 on the season ahead of a Week 5 road affair with the Dallas Cowboys:
Jason Garrett, good, but could still be better: The Giants were shooting more outfield than they usually do and Garrett found ways to send the ball to Kadarius Toney into space, which is a positive development. But Garrett continues to grope his duties in the red zone. At the end of an impressive practice for Daniel Jones – he was processing – the Giants swept away tight end Evan Engram from the two-yard line. What is the thought process there? Garrett has tried this game in this area in the past, and it just doesn’t make sense.
When the attack is this close to the end zone, all running games should be north-south. Punch with Daniel Jones. The third call was an isolated slant pass to Kyle Rudolph against All-Pro corner Marshon Lattimore. Unsurprisingly, it fell incomplete.
In the third quarter, Garrett called a screen at Rudolph – arguably the Giants’ slowest offensive player – and he got the ball in space. He hasn’t gone anywhere, because … he’s slow. Engram would have been the smarter target in this situation. They pushed him back a few plays later and missed an opportunity following a huge interception from James Bradberry, which already seems to be a running theme this season. (Engram, of course, also dropped a third-place pass on this drive.)
Overall, Garrett had a great day. The Giants won. The Giants tried to make more explosive games. His play in overtime was mostly smart. But Garrett’s decision-making in these high-leverage scoring situations remains baffling. He might not have made extra time at all without his decision making in the first half.
Kadarius Toney in the mix: The Giants presented their first-round pick largely (imagine it) and it was pretty impressive. Toney was making plays after the capture, causing defenders to miss out and looking like a legitimate option for Jones going forward. His best play was on a third and 18 assists in the first half where he caught the ball over a yardstick, then did the rest of the work himself, winning 18 overall and getting the first down. He added a 21-yard catch on another catch and run in the fourth quarter.
Toney finished with six catches for 78 yards and looks like an exciting player the Giants can present this season.
John Ross is a threat: The Giants signed John Ross because of his speed. And they wasted no time enjoying it on Sunday – somewhat surprising given that offensive coordinator Jason Garrett rarely calls for plays when shooting from the field. But in the first game after a long-missed Saints field goal, Jones broadcast it to Ross – in double coverage – who took him down, dropped him and retrieved the ball in the end zone for a touchdown, a 51-yard game. The escaped part was unfortunate – Jones is not credited with the touchdown because of it – but if Ross can bring that element to the attack, it will be a major advantage, especially with Darius Slayton absent.
– Saquon Barkley could be on both good and bad lists. Other than for his impressive touchdown and touchdown run of 54 yards in the fourth quarter, his day was not particularly good. He only gained 42 yards on 11 carries, and got pissed off a little too often for no (or short) gain. The stroke blocking hasn’t been there, but it doesn’t hit holes very hard when they’re there anyway. Yet that touchdown hold is exactly why Barkley is so dangerous. At all times he is a threat to score.
He almost dropped the ball in overtime, but made up for it with his winning run. He’s slowly starting to look alike, and when the Giants’ offense is perfectly healthy, they can be scary.
– Andrew Thomas: The left tackle continues to be a mainstay for the Giants and he’s had another good day against a tough defensive front from the Saints. The Saints haven’t sacked Daniel Jones all day, and most of the pressure has come from Thomas.
– Kenny Golladay: His chemistry seems to get stronger with Jones with each passing week (and as Golladay gets healthier). He had a solid day at the office, finishing with 116 yards on six catches.
– James Bradberry: Another difficult to place, like Barkley. On the one hand, Bradberry was burned on a 58-yard pass to Marquez Callaway and was one of many Giants defensemen who couldn’t tackle Taysom Hill during his eight-yard touchdown run at the third quarter. But he also got an interception from Hill, although the Giants offense didn’t capitalize on the forced turnover (what else new?).
– Tae Crowder: The linebacker made a brutal error on Hill’s first 8-yard touchdown run, trying to get the ball out instead of dropping it. Hill managed to break three more tackles on his way to the end zone.
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Zack Rosenblatt can be reached at [email protected]ncemedia.com.