The New York Giants beat the New Orleans Saints 16-13, which is a big improvement from last year when they struggled to stop Drew Brees and the Saints’ offense. This year is a different story with Brees completing only 29-of-44 passes for 263 yards and a touchdown. The Giants offense had 417 total yards on the day and even though he didn’t have any passing touchdowns Eli Manning was 32-of-41 passing the ball for 368 yards.
New York had problems scoring in the red zone all afternoon and it didn’t help that their two veteran receivers, Odell Beckham and Victor Cruz dropped some big passes. The issues with the offense didn’t stop there they also had three fumbles in the first half with Shane Vereen, Cruz and Manning having one each and two of those fumbles cost them points on the offensive side of the ball.
Due to the struggles of Beckham and Cruz, this game was a coming out party for the rookie wide receiver, Sterling Shepard, having 8 catches for 117 yards. After getting his first career NFL touchdown last week and a strong performance in Week 2, he is making a strong case for being in the rookie of the year conversation. He already has 160 yards for the year and has gotten praise from people around the league including Saints head coach Sean Payton who compared him to Green Bay Packers wide receiver Randall Cobb.
— New York Giants (@Giants) September 19, 2016
Outside of Manning and Shepherd, the offense struggled out there, but the defense for a second straight week proved to be dominant. For the Giants defense to only give up 288 yards of offense when they are facing Brees, one of the quarterbacks in the game is a big win for this group. Even with the amount of turnovers the Giants offense had, the defense rarely had the Saints in the red zone.
Special teams made one of the biggest plays of the day when Wil Lutz attempted a kick that appeared to be low and Johnathan Hankins swatted it down. Janoris Jenkins picked up the ball and ran 65 yards for the Giants’ only touchdown for the day. Even though the offense made many mistakes in this game they made big plays down the stretch capped off by the deep ball caught by Cruz at the Saints one-yard line. With 1:32 left and the Saints having no timeouts, the Giants were able to kneel the ball three times to set up a 23-yard game-winning field goal by Josh Brown. This is the second week in a row that the Giants barely edged out a victory, which shows a lot of growth because close games like these were losses last season.