Wow….what a comeback. In what was the ultimate game of two halves the Giants recovered from a 20-0 half time deficit to win 31-28 against the Arizona Cardinals.
Daniel Jones, despite his slow start, was clinical, carving up the Arizona defence on the first play from scrimmage in the second half, hitting rookie Jalin Hyatt for 58 yards before getting the Giants first touchdown of the season two plays later with a 14-yard scamper.
After that, he was almost flawless, as he became the first QB in history to throw for 250+ yards, rush for 50+, throw multiple touchdowns, rush for a touchdown, and have no turnovers in the second half of a game.
As for Jones’s weapons, there was plenty to appreciate in that second half. Saquon rushed for 63 yards and a touchdown while also having 29 yards and a touchdown on six receptions. Jalin Hyatt was the comeback catalyst in only his second game, as he had the aforementioned 58-yard catch to kick off the half, but he also had an impressive high-point catch for 31 yards later in the game. Waller showed off the skills that got Giants fans excited for his arrival with a six reception, 76-yard showing.
The offensive line also deserves a shoutout, with Bredeson, Glowinski, Ezudu, McKethan, Neal, and Schmitz all contributing to the time Jones was afforded giving up a pressure on 29.5% of his dropbacks, a massive reduction from the 66.7% he was pressured on last week. It was not perfect, with three sacks allowed and some almost drive-stalling penalties, but it was miles ahead of Week 1’s showing.
On the defence, Dexter Lawrence seems to be determined to become a one-man wrecking ball with five total pressures (three hurries and two QB hits). Pinnock, despite missing two tackles, was everywhere again, finishing with 10 tackles, three of them for loss. He did also have an interception chalked off due to defensive pass interference. Tre Hawkins was once again impressive with one tackle, one pass breakup, and zero receptions allowed on two targets.
Well, from an offensive perspective, the second half was good, but the first was abysmal. It was a disjointed, sluggish, pass-heavy affair that resulted in five first downs, 81 yards of offence, a horrible interception that saw the ball shoot through Barkley’s hands, and no points on the board. That’s compared to the Josh Dobbs-led Cardinals, who had 16 first downs, 241 yards, and 20 points.
Whereas the offence showed up after the half, the defence took another quarter to look like they cared. Before they were able to shed the shackles, they allowed James Conner to run all over them and made journeyman Josh Dobbs look like Prime MVP season Lamar Jackson.
Shout out to @clt_ny on X for this, but Wink used 12 different DL combinations against Arizona. However, during the 10 snaps with Nacho and DJ Davison on the field, we gave up six rushes for 47 yards and two touchdowns, two passes for 13 yards and a touchdown, a 2-point conversion, and a penalty.
Penalties crept in as well, with Bobby Okereke guilty of two while Xavier McKinney had an inexcusable roughing the passer flagged. After opening with a Matt Prater missed field goal, the Cardinals then scored on their next five drives, four before the half and one after. It was performances like this that condemned the Giants to obtain unwanted records being shown on screen, like being the first team to allow 54 unanswered points to start a season since the 1989 Steelers.
For the second week in a row, the opposing quarterback was afforded plenty of time, with the Giants pass rush failing to record a sack for the second successive game. With a total of 10 hurries and five quarterback hits, the Giants faltered again and again, but unfortunately, one man under pressure to perform who isn’t is last year’s 6th overall pick, Kayvon Thibodeaux.
According to PFF, he graded 52.4 overall. 49.8 run defence. 51.9 pass rush. 64.7 coverage and failed to record a single tackle despite being on the field for 61 of the 64 snaps the defence had.
Giants legend Carl Banks was quick to defend Thibodeaux, though, pointing out that we don’t know what the coaches are asking him to do, and he does have a point. Looking at the stats, Kayvon dropped back into coverage on 25% of his snaps, which surely isn’t playing to his strengths.
The Giants stay on the west coast this week as a Thursday Night Football showdown against the dominant San Francisco 49ers is up next.
Did you know that since 2012, the two teams have played six times with the teams alternating wins, with the last winners being the 49ers, who triumphed in the 2020 COVID season 36-9 at MetLife Stadium?