Few saw the New York Giants even having a chance against the Tennessee Titans in Week 1, especially without edge rushers Kayvon Thibodeaux and Azeez Ojulari. However, New York came out on top for one of its most memorable wins in recent history.
Making his debut as New York’s head coach, Daboll and his team showed fight throughout the game. At one point facing a 13-point deficit – a moment when old Giants teams would start quitting – New York showed resiliency and fought its way back.
It was a total team win as New York need plays from its offense, defense, and special teams to overcome a 13-point deficit and come away with a win. However, some players shined bright on Sunday and deserved game balls.
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Saquon Barkley said this summer that he is a man on a mission to prove he is one of the best running backs in the NFL. On Sunday, he proved it with a masterful performance against Tennessee that stuffed the box score and he came through in the clutch.
He carried the ball 18 times for 164 yards and a touchdown. Barkley also played a pivotal role in the passing game, snagging a team-high six receptions for 30 yards and then scoring the game-winning two-point off a shovel pass.
The way he carried his team on his back, he’ll deserve consideration along with Minnesota Vikings receiver Justin Jefferson for NFC Offensive Player of the Week. If Barkley continues to play the way he did on Sunday, expect Big Blue to pull off a few more upsets this season.
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Daniel Jones wasn’t spectacular on Sunday, giving up two costly turnovers. After an inexcusable interception, Daboll lit up his quarterback on the sideline. Instead of caving under the scrutiny, New York’s starting quarterback respond positively.
Despite being sacked five times and taking eight quarterback hits, Jones finished the game completing 17-of-21 passes for 188 yards and two touchdowns with 25 rushing yards. The performance let him walk off the field with a victory and a 115.9 passer rating.
Jones played much better in the second half and you have to hope he continues to improve as he gets more acclimated to the new offense.
The New York Giants lost Wan’Dale Robinson to a knee injury and Kadarius Toney played sparingly for undisclosed reasons. It opened up an opportunity for Richie James. The veteran took advantage of every snap.
He finished second on the team in receptions (five), turning them into 59 yards. In addition, he had a couple of nice punt returns as he averaged 12.4 yards per return. James showed on Sunday that he can contribute in multiple ways when his name is called.
It’s remarkable that Sterling Shepard was on the field on Sunday after rupturing his Achilles in December. He only had two catches in Week 1, but one of them went 65 yards for a pivotal touchdown that tied the game in the third quarter. The play showed that he’s fully healed from his injury as he had to break a tackle on his way to the end zone.
Shepard is the longest-tenured Giant and the effort and determination he showed to get back on the field sooner than expected embodies that type of team Daboll is trying to build.
It gets a ton of guts for a coach to roll the dice and go for a two-point conversion with the game on the line. Especially if it’s a rookie head coach making their debut.
Daboll’s decision to go for two along with Randy Bullock’s missed field goal as time expired are what sealed the win for Big Blue. Had the Giants failed on the two-point conversion, he would have been ridiculed ad nauseam.
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He deserves credit not just for going for two, but for the way he made adjustments in the second half, for how he laid into Jones following his interception in the end zone.
It’s only one game, but you can see why Giants ownership has faith in their 47-year-old head coach.