After trailing 13-0 at halftime, the Giants roared back in the second half behind an amazing day by Saquon Barkley to win 21-20. New Giants Head Coach Brian Daboll made a couple of key decisions late that put the Giants in a position to get the victory.
After not winning an opening game since 2016 and not having a winning record since that season, the Giants erased both of those haunting facts with an upset win Sunday against the Titans 21-20. The Giants didn’t look good at all to start as they didn’t score a single point the entire first half. However, they came out of the locker room on fire as running back Saquon Barkley took over starting with a 68-yard run and later on that same drive punched it in for a touchdown.
The Giants would come back to take the lead with just over a minute remaining and the Titans missed a game-winning field goal to give the Giants the victory. This win is a monumental win for the Giants as they are in the midst of a rebuild with Head Coach Brian Daboll and GM Joe Schoen — both in their first year with the team.
Giants fans didn’t expect success early on and even though this result will have Giants fans now expecting big things, it should for now be appreciated for what it is. It’s the start of a real change with the Giants and the first steps at making the team competitive for the first time in years.
Recapping The Giants’ Victory Over The Tennessee Titans
The game started with a quick three-and-out by the Giants’ offense as they weren’t able to get anything going. The Titans fired right back scoring a touchdown on their opening drive, ultimately setting the tone for the rest of the first half. The New York offense continued to provide little support while the Titans added a field goal making it 10-0.
Right after the offense started to show some life as they crossed the 50-yard line for the first time, Daniel Jones was sacked and fumbled the ball turning it over to Tennessee. It was a heartbreaking turnover as it looked like the Giants were getting in a rhythm. The Titans capitalized by tacking on another field goal extending the lead to 13. Jones and the offense continued to struggle to close the half and the Giants trailed 13-0 going into the break.
Coming out of the half, the Giants defense forced a Titans three-and-out which quickly gave the ball back to the offense. Saquon Barkley would then start his explosive second half rushing for 68 yards on the first play which put the team in business. He would also cap off the drive with a four-yard touchdown run to close the gap to 13-6 after a missed extra point. After another Titans three-and-out, Daniel Jones would find Sterling Shepard for a 65-yard touchdown pass to tie the game. Shepard made himself wide open down the field and Jones was able to connect with him.
The Titans responded with a nine-play, 75-yard touchdown drive to extend the lead back to seven. After the teams traded punts, the New York offense would be put back into the RedZone after the Titans muffed a punt. There, Jones threw a bad interception in the endzone to cost the Giants points. The Titans didn’t do anything with the ball so New York got the ball back with 5:27 left with a chance to make things happen and they did just that.
Saquon Barkley gained 54 total yards on the drive that finished with a two-yard touchdown pass from Jones to tight end Chris Myarick. Now came a decision for Head Coach Brian Daboll. He elected to go for two to take the lead and it was a good call as Barkley took a pitch from Jones and scored to put the Giants ahead with just over a minute remaining.
The Titans had time to win the game and they did a good job as they got the ball to the New York 29-yard line with a chance to win. Titans Kicker Randy Bullock attempted a 47-yard field goal and it went wide left securing the win for the Giants. The team went crazy on the sidelines as they secured the first opening game win for the team since 2016.
Giants Running Back Saquon Barkley is Back
If there was one thing Giants fans were told all offseason, it was that Saqon Barkley would have a much bigger role in the offense this year than any and he proved that Sunday. He was not only heavily involved in the run game — he ran for 164 yards — but he was also dynamic in the passing game as he caught six passes for 30 yards.
We haven’t seen this version of Saquon Barkley since his rookie season when he won Offensive Rookie of the Year and broke a lot of records. He’s been plagued with a bunch of injuries that have limited him since and he’s been chomping at the bit this offseason to show who he is as he is in the final year of his rookie contract.
If this version of Saquon Barkley shows up on a weekly basis, he can easily be amongst the best running backs in the NFL. His play alone will keep the Giants in a lot of games they have no business being in, like the one on Sunday when they were down 13-0 where old Giants teams would have waved the white flag. Barkley needed to have a big game and has officially introduced himself to the league.
New Giants Head Coach Brian Daboll Makes His Presence Known
You can’t do much better in your debut than what new Head Coach Brian Daboll did Sunday. He beat the AFC’s top overall seed from a year ago on the road without both of his starting EDGE rushers. He looked calm at the helm and was never overwhelmed by the job of being an NFL Head Coach. He wasn’t afraid to lay in some criticism on Daniel Jones after a costly interception in the red zone. He even won his first challenge. All the things you want in a coach are what Daboll possessed Sunday.
The biggest and gutsiest call of the night from Daboll was what may have won the Giants the game. After the Giants scored a touchdown to make it 20-19 Titans, Daboll elected to go for two instead of kicking an extra point. It was a call that he said during his postgame press conference that he decided at the beginning of the drive. “Go for the win. We’re going to be aggressive,” said Daboll and it worked. Barkley scored the two-point conversion which put the Giants ahead.
It’s a bold move from a first-time head coach and if not successful would have drawn some criticism. Daboll didn’t care about that though and he’s built a great team in his short time with the team. The word ‘culture’ gets used too much in the NFL but Daboll dancing with the team in the locker room after the game is a great sight to see.
Next, the Giants play their home-opener against the Panthers who lost a close game themselves Sunday against the Browns. It’s a winnable game for the Giants and if New York wants to keep this positivity train going, they’ll have to show up in front of the home fans.