In a game in which many thought the Giants’ offense should have lit it up against the league’s worst scoring defense, they managed just 18 points. With the game in the balance the Giants had five straight possessions – their second through their fifth – in which they accumulated a total of 42 yards. Even when they started to click a little late in the third with a 28-yard run by Saquon Barkley and a 23-yard pass to Sterling Shepard to get to the 14, they had to settle for a FG and still trailed by two possessions, 19-10. Eli Manning threw for 255 but averaged just 8.2 yards per attempt against the worst pass defense in the NFL.
The final numbers were deceptive. The Giants allowed 389 total yards and 170 rushing, and the 33 points were the most they have given up all season. But for most of the game the defense was playing well enough to win. Holding the high-powered Saints to field goals through the first tw0-and-a-half quarters was impressive. Ultimately there was just too much on them. The Saints were 5-for-5 on third downs on their final two drives, both of which ended in touchdowns. Prior to that they were 0-for-8. They had a chance to get the ball back to the offense at the end but were too gassed and allowed a 97-yard drive in under two minutes.
The Saints converted a fourth-down on a fake punt in the first quarter when upback and backup quarterback Taysom Hill threw a 10-yard completion. Jawill Davis, promoted from the practice squad late this week, became the newest returner. He was a non-factor aside from his poor decision to bring a kickoff out of the end zone in the second half. Then again, maybe it was worth trying to spark a stagnant offense even though he wound up burying them at the 11. Punter Riley Dixon had one chance to pin the Saints and instead kicked the ball into the end zone.
After an inspired opening drive, the Giants were out-coached for the rest of the game. Pat Shurmur could not find a way to get his offense going and still hasn’t figured out how to best utilize Odell Beckham Jr. The Giants gave Beckham a $95 million extension just over a month ago and he still has just as many touchdowns on the season as he did when he signed it: Zero. Shurmur also didn’t use his timeouts at the end of the first half when the Giants had a chance to get the ball back with some time left.