After an upset win a week ago, the Giants edged past the Panthers Sunday 19-16 in a game filled with defensive stands and clutch kicks. Giants’ kicker Graham kicked two 50-yard field goals to help move the Giants to 2-0 for the first time since 2016.
The Giants weren’t taken seriously as a contender in the NFC East, let alone the NFC. Now, after two weeks, they are 2-0 thanks to a 19-16 win over the Panthers Sunday and are in prime position to be a threat in the division. The offense didn’t look pretty the whole game, but it got the job done when it needed to. Quarterback Daniel Jones had another subpar game but didn’t turn the ball over which is a good sign. running back Saquon Barkley didn’t repeat his stellar performance from a week ago but had a solid outing that contributed to the win.
The Giants’ defense is the reason why they were able to stay in the game. Two early fumbles by the Panthers put them in a good spot early and the defense never let Panthers QB Baker Mayfield get into his groove. His completion percentage was under 50% which shows how much pressure he was put under all game. More work has to be done to sustain this early success. However, Giants Head Coach Brian Daboll must be ecstatic that his team is fighting and most importantly closing out games.
The game started in a big way on the opening kickoff, the Panthers fumbled the ball, and it was recovered by Giants rookie Dane Belton. New York didn’t do too much with the field position and settled for a field goal. On the next Panthers drive, they fumbled again, and it was recovered by cornerback Adoree’ Jackson. Once again, New York didn’t do anything to capitalize on offense and kicked a field goal to go up 6-0.
The Panthers countered with a 13-play, 58-yard drive that stalled in the red zone after they failed to convert on a third and nine thanks to a drop from wide receiver Shi Smith. They would then kick a field goal, giving the Giants a three-point lead. The two teams traded drives that ended with punts until the Panthers ended a 10-play drive with another field goal to tie the game 6-6 to close the 1st half.
After the Giants went three and out to start the half, the Panthers had their best drive of the day. It only took three plays for them to go on a 67-yard touchdown drive in large part due to some nice throws from Baker Mayfield. It was capped off by a 16-yard touchdown pass from Mayfield to WR D.J. Moore to make it 13-6 Panthers. New York then followed with their best drive of the day going on an eight-play, 75-yard touchdown drive. It was by far QB Daniel Jones’ best drive of the day and a 16-yard touchdown pass to rookie TE Daniel Bellinger finished it off.
Both teams would go on to trade punts the next four drives as the two defenses were stepping up as the game progressed until the Giants broke the standstill. Giants’ kicker Graham Gano connected on a 51-yard field goal that put the Giants ahead 16-13 but the Panthers fired back with a kick of their own to tie the game back up.
A big theme of this game was the team responding and that’s what the Giants did on the following drive where they kicked a 56-yard field goal to take back the lead. Kicker Graham Gano was the MVP Sunday, and his kicks couldn’t have been more clutch, especially since it was against his former team.
The Giants’ defense would then stop the Panthers thanks to a third-down sack by S Julian Love to give the Giants the ball back with just above two minutes remaining. All the offense needed was two first downs to finish the game and it did just that. They got the first one relatively quick but were stuck on 3rd and 6 needing a first to secure the win. Daniel Jones scrambled and was able to pick up 11 yards to give the Giants the 19-16 win.
The Giants Are Finally Closing Games
For too long, the Giants would lose the lead late in games and would not be able to recover. Past coaches would preach the ability to finish games but never would be able to execute that philosophy. Through two games, Head Coach Brian Daboll has done that.
Last week, New York was able to drive down the field against the Titans late and take the lead with under two minutes remaining. Although they would need a missed field goal from the Titans to win, it showed that they could find ways to win. Just this week, they were able to get in position to kick a long field goal and take the lead with around five minutes remaining. There, they stood their ground, and the defense wasn’t about to give their lead away.
This win is a testament to the new coaching staff. The Giants roster is definitely not amongst the most talented in the NFL. They have major holes in a lot of areas, but they still find a way to win. It’s refreshing to see this type of effort and grind from the Giants. They are a smart and tough football team that all comes from Daboll.
Giants WR Kenny Golladay Once Again Not Featured In Offense
When the Giants signed WR Kenny Golladay to a 4-year, $72 million deal in 2021, they expected big things from him. Sunday was rock-bottom for Golladay’s tenure with the Giants. He only played two snaps and didn’t receive a single target. This doesn’t seem to be a matter of health considering he hasn’t been on the injury report at all. It just seems like Daboll and the Giants prefer other receivers on the roster after seeing Golladay struggle to find his footing.
The regime that signed Golladay to that big-time deal is gone and the new Giants staff isn’t giving him any special treatment. He has to earn his playing time and by the looks of it, he hasn’t done so. They are playing the guys that best fit that game plan.
Next up for the Giants, they stay home to play the Cowboys on Monday Night Football. Dallas will be without Dak Prescott as he’s still recovering from a finger injury he suffered in Week One. The Giants will be hoping to get back EDGE rushers Kayvon Thibodeaux and Azeez Ojulari as they’re still recovering from injuries suffered last month. It would be big to get them back and would help the Giants on their quest to keep this momentum going.