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New York Giants Week 2 Takeaways vs Cardinals

Updated: Sep 20

Photo Credit: Giants Wire / USA Today

The New York Football Giants were coming off a 40-0 beat down at the hands of division foe Dallas Cowboys. This was a game in the desert that most people thought they would win. They were road favorites and had everything going for them. But after a half of football, the Giants looked like the season was getting away from them. But the Giants rallied for one of their biggest comebacks in team history (biggest in the Super Bowl era) to escape Arizona with the 31-28 victory, capped off by Graham Gano’s 31-yard field goal with under 30 seconds left. We break down the tale of 2 halves as the Giants’ fans went through it!

Giants defense had a half to forget

Photo Credit: Giants Wire / USA Today

The Giants defense looked awful in the first half as they were unable to stop Joshua Dobbs. They made Dobbs look like he was a Pro-Bowl quarterback as the Cardinals offense dominated the first half. The Cardinals threw for 146 yards, rushed for another 95 yards on their way to 241 combined total yards. They controlled the ball for 19 minutes, almost two to one compared to the Giants. They also achieved 16 first downs compared to 5 for the Giants. The score would have been worse if not for the opening drive where the Cardinals failed to cash in points on a missed field goal and a over-their best the goal line to TE Zack Ertz.

The Giants lost at the point of attack as the defensive line looked non-existent. They couldn't get any pressure on Dobbs as Kevyon Thibodeaux, Dexter Lawrence and Leonard Williams looked to be completely dominated by the Cardinals offensive line. The Cardinals’ wide receivers were running down field unchallenged, RB James Connor almost ran for 100 yards in the first half and Dobbs was more than comfortable in the pocket. The running game and passing game for the Cardinals was working, it was only a matter of which the Cardinals wanted to do. The Cardinal didn’t punt on any of their 5 first half possessions as the dominated the ball and time of possession.


Photo Credit: Giants Wire / USA Today

Through the first six quarters of the 2023 season, the Giants have been out scored 60 to 0. This is the first time the Giants have been held scoreless in the first 6 quarters of the season in 89 years. It's either a lack of offensive blocking, no running game, poor defensive line play, poor tackling, poor pass coverage or poor special teams that had cost this team early this season.

It has been our first two games of horrors for Giants fans to have to sit and watch this team. The Giants look like they are playing like it's head coach Brian Daboll's first season. Then last season would be the improvement and the start to turn the corner in his second season as reigning coach of the year. This team looks completely lost on all levels of the field. The offense managed only 5 first downs and 89 total yards of offense in the first half. Add in 3 sacks behind a re-tooled offensive line and an interception and you have an anemic offense.

It's easy to blame coaching when something like this goes on, but where else do you start. The play calling on offense through the first 6 quarters is worse than it was last year. They can't scheme anywhere near to where they were last year. They created situations for Daniel Jones to get the ball out quick, use his legs and hit receivers downfield. But there is none of that this year. There is no creativity or adjustments being made to move the football downfield.


Photo Credit: Giants Wire / USA Today

The second half was a complete 180 turns around for this Giants football team. It was the gut check that was needed as this team was facing 0-2 right in the face with a Thursday matchup with the 49ers on the horizon. I mean they planned to stay in Arizona for the short week, but if they lost that game then the team would never be allowed back to New York.

The Giants had their backs up against the wall; down 20-0 at the half and 21 points in the 3rd quarter. But they scored 24 unanswered points led by Daniel Jones. Daboll seemed to have more control of the offense as your can see him nothing instructions to Kafka and the practice coaches. Jones has been criticized for getting the $160 million contract and possibly not deserving it. But games like yesterday prove that he is more than deserving of being trusted with this franchise. Daniel Jones went 17 for 21 for 317 total yards in the second half as he led the Giants on 5 scoring drives (4 of them for critical touchdowns). The Giants offense would go on to out-gain the Cardinals 439 to 379 and the Giants went 7-12 on third down and 1-1 on fourth down. The Giants were able to get their two biggest weapons, Saquon Barkley and Darren Waller involved in the offense for the first time this season. Barkley finished the game with 92 total yards and 2 TDs while Waller finished the game with 6 catches for 76 yards.

Photo Credit: Giants Wire / USA Today

On the first drive out of halftime, Jones led his team 75 yards down the field in only 3 plays. Their first play was a 54 yard bomb to rookie Jalin Hyatt and the Giants finished off the first Giants score of the season with a 14-yard rush by Jones. Jones would then go on to lead his team to 3 more touchdown drives in the second half, including the game tying touchdown pass to Isaiah Hodgins.

Jones finished the game with 321 passing yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT with 59 rushing yards and 1 rushing TD. Daniel Jones will never silence the naysayers that question his ability or if he deserves the contract. But games like this will silence the haters for a few days. There are certain people around the league thought the Giants should have paid Saquon Barkley instead. The fact is that these two healthy on the field together make this team better.

Barkley left the game late in the 4th quarter with an ankle injury and did not return. X-rays have done come back negative and according to Jordan Schultz, we may have avoided a major injury. More to come in the next few days as he's getting an MRI on Monday in Arizona.

The defense stepped up on the second half

Photo Credit: Giants Wire / USA Today

After being bludgeoned by the Cardinals defense in the first half, the Giants stepped up to hold the Cardinals to only eight points. The Giants cut into the Cardinals lead 20 to 7 with their opening first half drive. But the Cardinals marched right down the field and answered with the touchdown of their own, adding a two-point conversion to make it 28-7. But that would be the last points that they would score all game.

The defensive line finally controlled the line of scrimmage, led by defensive stud Dexter Lawrence. Lawrence was able to get consistent pressure up the middle and get in Dobbs' face. He forced Aaron throws and the Giants forced a few three and out. After that touchdown drive in the second half the Cardinals only managed 138 total yards. In fact, the second half the Giants outgained the Cardinals 358-138. The Giants were able to average 8.7 yards per play, but the defense held the Cardinals to 5.8 yards per play in the second half.

The fourth quarter defense was critical to getting the Giants the lead. Not only did the defense stop the Cardinals in the 4th quarter, they were able o force 3-and-outs on two drives. This allowed the Giants to have enough time to stage their historic comeback. The defense played inspired and the crowd was tremendous as their force two consecutive false started to push the Cardinals from 3rd-and-7 to 3rd-and-16. The defense made tackles and stops and critical plays. It helped that the Cardinals started to self-employed with penalties, but the Giants took advantage and got off the field and got the ball back for their offense.

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