New York Giants head coach Brian Daboll watches during the...

New York Giants head coach Brian Daboll watches during the second half of an NFL football game against the Tennessee Titans Sunday, Sept. 11, 2022, in Nashville.  Credit: AP/Mark Zaleski

OFFENSE: C

Say this about the Giants: They got better as the game went on. After struggling to do anything positive in the first half, they scored two quick-strike touchdowns to open the third quarter. Then, with the game on the line in the fourth, they scored the winning points on a 12-play, 73-yard drive that took 4:21. Saquon Barkley looks better than he ever has in the NFL, better than his rookie of the year season. Daniel Jones made a bad decision on the interception in the end zone in the fourth quarter. That the Giants managed to win without much of anything from Kadarius Toney, Kenny Golladay or Wan’Dale Robinson (a combined five touches) bodes well for them.

DEFENSE: B

The Giants did a good job containing Derrick Henry but it was the Titans’ other running back, Dontrell Hilliard, who gave them the biggest problem as a receiver out of the backfield. He burned the linebackers for a pair of touchdown catches, including the go-ahead 23-yarder in the fourth quarter. Henry ran for 82 yards on 21 carries, but just one longer than 12 yards and none longer than 18. There were some queasy moments at the end when the Titans were driving for the potential winning field goal, but the defense held up enough to make it an arduous 47-yard attempt that went left as time expired.

SPECIAL TEAMS: C

The missed extra point in the third quarter could have been very costly, especially if the Giants had been unable to convert their two-point conversion in the fourth. Long-snapper Casey Kreiter had his first bad play as a Giant, rolling the ball past holder Jamie Gillan for an aborted play. There were several promising moments and some that clearly need work. Newly acquired safety Jason Pinnock recovered a muffed punt by Titans rookie Kyle Phillips, who mishandled an end-over-end kick by Gillan. Richie James had an impressive 22-yard punt return but also made some questionable decisions with the ball on other attempts regarding his side-to-side cuts and the slow pacing once he first fielded the ball.

COACHING: A

Brian Daboll showed the kind of aggressive decision-making that he has been promising the Giants since his interviews with them last winter. Going for two could have blown up in his face but he was determined to play for the win and not a tie and a chance to go into overtime. The Giants defense remained aggressive on the final drive and though they did not get to Ryan Tannehill (they had just one sack for zero yards in the whole game), Oshane Ximines did bat down a key pass on that possession. Offensively, first-time play-caller Mike Kafka did a good job of feeding the ball to Barkley once he demonstrated that he was the hot hand.

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