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Takeaways from New York Giants Week 4 Win

Updated: Oct 5, 2021

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Finally! I think Giants fans all feel the same way when Saquon Barkley reached out for the End zone in that overtime period. The New York Giants got their first win of the year and a thrilling comeback against a good New Orleans Saints team playing at home for the first time since Hurricane Ida. The Giants made plays on offense and defense when they had to, and their stars came up big to finally put the Giants in the win column. It's easy to lament that this team should be 3-1 right now, but I'll take what we can get at this point. Let's break down how the Giants snatched victory from the jaws of defeat.

The Return of Saquon Barkley

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I've been waiting for Saquon Barkley to have a breakout game, and this Sunday he finally performed. Barkley had 126 yards of total offense and two touchdowns (one receiving TD and one rushing TD). Barkley had little room to run against a tough Saints defense, but made up for it with five catches for a 76 yards. This is his best game since Washington in 2019 when he had over 275 yards of total offense and this is reminiscent of his rookie year. Barkley ran hard and with purpose, especially in the fourth quarter and overtime.

Daniel Jones' performance

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Is it possible that Daniel Jones has finally earned his Danny Dimes moniker? Jones put together maybe his finest performance as the New York Giants quarterback. Jones finished 28 for 40 for 402 yards with 2 TD and 1INT and lead the Giants comeback with great passed to WR Kenny Golladay, TE Kyle Rudolph and Barkley. Jones had one TD wiped off the board when WR Ross fumbled at the goal line but he covered it for a TD. Jones also threw a pick, his first for the season, on a garbage Hail Mary at the end of the first half. Jones was protected, calm in the pocket and made throws that made Giants fans fall in love with him after his rookie year.

The offensive line with their best performance

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It's time we give this offensive line the flowers that they deserve. Despite not being able to run the ball effectively, the Giants offensive line played their best game of the season. Daniel Jones was not sacked once despite dropping back 40 times in this game. The much maligned offensive line contain Cam Jordan and the Saints pass rush for the complete game. Particularly second-year tackle Andrew Thomas played his best game as a pro matched up against All-Pro DE Cam Jordan. Thomas hasn't allowed a sack in 134 possible pass-blocking snaps, according to Pro Football Focus. Thomas allowed 10 sacks in his rookie year after being the #4 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. Like I said in previous weeks, when you don't mention the offensive line by name you know they had a good game. The rest of the makeshift offensive line was good enough to keep Daniel Jones comfortable in the pocket, go through progressions, and find open receivers. And it wasn't as if the Giants were throwing the ball short, they were aggressive throwing the ball downfield and the offensive line held up great. They averaged almost 10 yards per pass attempt against the Saints, so the line had to hold up. If they can play like this the Giants can win some more games.

The defense made the plays when they needed it but...

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For the most part the Giants defense was pushed around by the Saints offense. Taysom Hill ran for two touchdowns and the run defense was something to be desired. Missing linebacker Blake Martinez really shows up in the run defense. Couple that with safety Jabrill Peppers getting hurt late in the game, the missed tackles and allowing RB Alvin Kamara to rush for over 120 yards really showed up. And yet again another game where there was no pass rush. The Giants did not score a hit on Jameis Winston or Taysom Hill in all of their 26 pass attempts. Rookie DE Azeez Ojulari did see more playing time, but did not record a sack for the first time in his young career. The Giants pass rush has to get home and not leave the back end so exposed.

James Bradberry got burned on a 52-yard completion on the first play of the second half, but rebounded to score a big interception to stop a drive. The defense also stopped the New Orleans Saints on 4th and 3 deep in Giants territory in the first quarter to stop a drive. The defense made plays when they had to and came up big when we needed them. However, this is the fourth straight game the defense has let up a touchdown to end a half.

Golladay, Ross and Toney making plays

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I've been saying that Jason Garrett needs to find a way to get his best receiver the football, and finally he did it. Kenny Golladay had his best day as a giant with 6 catches for 116 yards. But what was really important was his two biggest catches so far this season. Golladay caught a 28 yard catch and run with under a minute left in the 4th quarter to set up the game time field goal. Then in overtime, he had a great 23 yard catch to set up Barkley's game-winning touchdown run. Even struggling with injuries, Golladay came up huge when the Giants needed it with injuries to Shepherd and Slayton.

Speaking of receiver help, Kadarius Toney had another breakout performance as he had 6 catches for 78 yards. Coach Joe Judge said that they wanted to get him more involved in the offense, and you can see that they wanted the ball in his hands. His big third and 18 conversion not only kept the drive going but swung the momentum to the Giants. Toney showed quickness, elusiveness, and game breaking talent that made him a number one pick for the Giants this year. He brings an element that we haven't seen in a while, and we need to keep feeding him the ball when necessary.

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Receiver Jim Ross also made his first appearance as a Giant, and paid off with a huge 50 plus yard catch that resulted in a touchdown after he fumbled at the Gold line. Big plays have been missing in this offense and it was nice to see the receivers come up big for Daniel Jones and the Giants.

Mistakes and Missed opportunities

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Can't go another Giants game without mistakes and missed opportunities. While it wasn't penalties that was killing the Giants, it was a combination of play calling and missed field goals that almost crossed the Giants. Joe Judge decided not to go for it on 4th and 8th from the 47-yard line. Judge should have went for it as analytics usually says to go for it at that point, and head coach Sean Payton did go for it at the same part of the field earlier in the game. The Giants punted in that fourth quarter and gave the ball to the Saints at the 17 yard line, a net of 30 yards.

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Graham Gano missed his first field goal in 38 attempts that would have put points on the board. The Giants had to settle for field goal deep in the Red zone again as questionable play calling by coordinator Jason Garrett kill the drive. A jet sweep to tight end Evan Engram was not the best play inside the 10. The Giants are second to last in Red zone offense, only scoring touchdowns 33% of the time so far this season. This is a big problem as field goals will not beat any of the teams they have lined up against them coming.

For the most part, I want to give Garrett some credit. He called probably his best game for the Giants as he really started to exploit the Saints secondary. Once the second half got rolling, you could see Garrett really get into the groove with play calling. Using Barkley as a receiver rather than a decoy was a terrific adjustment.

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