Jabrill Peppers celebrates OT coin toss – © USA TODAY Sports
NEW YORK GIANTS 27 – NEW ORLEANS SAINTS 21 (OT)…
It took overtime to do it, but the New York Giants won their first game of the 2021 season on Sunday afternoon by upsetting the New Orleans Saints 27-21. The Giants scored 17 unanswered points late in the contest. With the win, the Giants are now 1-3 on the season.
While New Orleans dominated the Giants in the running game (170 to 83 yards) and time of possession (37:31 to 27:35), New York held the advantage in total yards (485 to 405) and net yards passing (402 to 235). The turnover battle (one apiece) and first downs gained (21 each) were equal.
Offensively, the game did not start off well for the Giants, who only picked up one first down on their first two drives of the game, both resulting in quick punts. New York managed to gain three first downs and 57 yards on their third possession, but that drive ended with place kicker Graham Gano missing a 35-yard field goal (his first miss in 37 attempts).
Meanwhile, the Saints were having their own issues on offense. Their first drive picked up 13 yards before being forced to punt. New Orleans gained 44 yards and reached the New York 29-yard line on their second possession, but on 4th-and-3, running back Alvin Kamara was held short of the 1st-down marker by defensive end Leonard Williams and linebacker Lorenzo Carter, turning the football over on downs. The Saints reached the New York 40-yard line on their third possession, but missed a 58-yard field goal.
The scoreless game broke open midway through the second quarter. On the first play of the Giants’ fourth drive, quarterback Daniel Jones threw a deep strike to wide receiver John Ross for what was originally ruled a 51-yard touchdown. Officials later ruled that Ross fumbled as he was reaching the end zone; however, since Ross recovered the loose ball within the end zone, the touchdown was upheld. The Giants led 7-0.
However, as has been a constant occurrence this year, the Giants’ defense weakened at the end of the first half and surrendered the lead. The Saints drove 75 yards in 13 plays, with quarterback Jameis Winston throwing a 15-yard touchdown on 3rd-and-6 with less than 30 seconds to play before halftime. The first half ended with an intercepted pass on a Hail Mary from Jones.
The game was tied 7-7 at the break.
Momentum kept shifting the way of the Saints at the beginning of the 3rd quarterback. New Orleans received the ball to start the second half, and it only took them three plays to gain 75 yards and score an 8-yard touchdown on run by quarterback Taysom Hill. The Saints were now up 14-7.
The Giants responded with a 10-play, 70-yard drive, setting up a 1st-and-goal from the 3-yard line. But New York couldn’t push it in and the Giants settled for a 23-yard field goal to cut the score to 14-10. It appeared matters would get worse for the Giants on New Orleans’ second drive of the half when Winston threw a 46-yard touchdown pass. However, the play was nullified by an offensive holding penalty. On the very next snap, cornerback James Bradberry intercepted a deep pass from Hill at the New York 12-yard line.
The Giants picked up one first down and punted. The Saints appeared to take control of the game on the ensuing drive as they drove 63 yards in 11 plays, with the possession ending with another 8-yard run by Hill for the touchdown, this one on 3rd-and-2. The Saints were now up 21-10 with just over 12 minutes left in the contest.
Both teams exchanged punts. New York got the ball back with seven minutes on the clock. Wide receiver C.J. Board first returned the punt 28 yards. Then, on the first offensive play, Jones found running back Saquon Barkley wide open down the left sideline. Barkley caught the ball, cut back inside, and scored from 54 yards out. Jones then scrambled for the 2-point conversion and the score was 21-18 with less than seven minutes still left to play.
The Saints gained two first downs and ran almost four minutes off of the clock. The Giants started their final drive of regulation at their own 24-yard line with 3:01 to play. New York was able to gain 59 yards in 11 plays to set up a clutch, 48-yard field goal by Gano to tie the game with about half a minute left to play. The big play on the drive was a 28-yard catch-and-run by wide receiver Kenny Golladay on 3rd-and-7. The Saints could do nothing on their final two plays and the game went to overtime.
The Giants won the toss and never looked back. New York drove 75 yards in nine plays, including a 17-yard pass from Jones to Ross, an 18-yard pass to Barkley, and a 23-yard pass to Golladay on 3rd-and-5. On 1st-and-goal from the 6-yard line, Barkley scored to win the game. (Barkley did fumble on this drive and tight end Kyle Rudolph saved the day by recovering the fumble).
Offensively, Jones finished the game 28-of-40 for 402 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception. He also rushed four times for 27 yards. His leading receivers were Golladay (6 catches for 116 yards), wide receiver Kadarius Toney (6 catches for 78 yards), Barkley (5 catches for 74 yards and a touchdown), and tight end Evan Engram (5 catches for 27 yards). Barkley was the leading rusher with 13 carries for 52 yards and a touchdown.
Defensively, the Giants allowed 170 yards rushing, including 120 yards by Kamara and two touchdowns by Hill. New York defenders did not sack the quarterback and were not credited with a quarterback hit. They forced no fumbles but did pick off one pass.
Video highlights are available at Giants.com.
ROSTER MOVES, PRACTICE SQUAD ACTIVATIONS, INACTIVES, AND INJURY REPORT…
On Saturday, activated WR John Ross (hamstring) from Injured Reserve to the 53-man roster. The team also elevated OC Jonotthan Harrison to the 53-man roster from the Practice Squad.
Inactive for the game were WR Sterling Shepard (hamstring), WR Darius Slayton (hamstring), OG Ben Bredeson (hand), DE Raymond Johnson, CB Sam Beal, and CB Josh Jackson.
S Jabril Peppers (hamstring) left the game in the 4th quarter and did not return. He did make the correct call on the overtime coin toss.
Transcripts and video clips of post-game media sessions with Head Coach Joe Judge and the following players are available in The Corner Forum and at Giants.com:
This was the Giants’ first victory in New Orleans since 1993. They had lost their five previous games in New Orleans.
This was the Giants’ first victory after overcoming a fourth-quarter deficit of at least 11 points since 2012.
The Giants had lost their previous 16 games in which they trailed after three quarters.
The Giants are 13-6-2 in overtime road games.
The Giants’ 402 net passing yards is the ninth-highest total in franchise history. The 402 yards is a career high for QB Daniel Jones. The 400-yard game was the first by a Giants quarterback since Eli Manning in 2017.
The interception of Daniel Jones’ pass on the Hail Mary at the end of the first half ended his streak of consecutive passes without throwing a pick at 124.
WHAT’S UP NEXT…
Head Coach Joe Judge and select players will address the media by conference call on Monday.