Giants: Takeaways from stunning 31–28 win over the Cardinals in Week 2

New York Giants place kicker Graham Gano (9) kicks the game winning field goal against the Arizona Cardinals in the second half at State Farm Stadium
Rob Schumacher/The Republic / USA TODAY NETWORK

The New York Giants pulled off a stunning, come-from-behind 31–28 win over the Arizona Cardinals in Week 2 to improve their record to 1-1 on the season. After falling behind in the first half, head coach Brian Daboll marched his Giants back in the second half, leading them to the win and keeping their season’s hopes alive.

A tale of two halves

The first half of the game was a disaster for the Giants, reminiscent of their Week 1 blowout loss to the Dallas Cowboys. But the team came alive in the second half, scoring 31 points, committing 0 turnovers, and earning the unlikely victory.

As the first half came to a close, the outlook was grim for Big Blue as they sat in a hole with a 20–0 deficit. QB Daniel Jones stormed back, scoring three touchdowns in the second half and setting up veteran K Graham Gano for the game-winning field goal.

Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley willed the team to victory

After a slow first half, Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley stepped out of the locker room looking like men on a mission in half two. Jones went 17/21 passing with 317 total yards and three total touchdowns in the second half, leading the Giants to a 21-point comeback win.

Barkley finished the contest with 63 yards rushing and one touchdown on 17 carries and also added six receptions for 29 yards and one touchdown as a receiver. Unfortunately for Barkley, he will be unlikely to take the field in Week 3 after suffering an ankle injury in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s win. The injury appears significant enough to force the superstar running back to miss time.

Jones and Barkley put their first-half struggles behind them and turned in stellar second-half performances to earn the win. Rookie WR Jalin Hyatt led the team with 89 receiving yards on two receptions. TE Darren Waller totaled six receptions for 76 yards. In the second half, Jones found his targets and kept the ball moving with efficiency.

The Giants have a lot of work to do on defense

Despite pulling off the win, the Giants’ defense needs to be better going forward. Facing off against an inexperienced quarterback in Joshua Dobbs, there were times when New York’s defensive unit had the Cardinals’ offense looking like the Greatest Show on Turf.

There were missed tackles, penalties, and blown coverages, allowing Arizona to earn a 28-7 lead midway through the third quarter. New York’s run defense, which they expected to significantly improve this season, struggled once again, surrendering 151 yards and two touchdowns on the ground.

Defensive coordinator Wink Martindale will be largely disappointed with his unit’s performance in this matchup. However, when they needed to step up, they did, holding strong in the fourth quarter and giving the ball back to the offense so Daniel Jones could lead a game-winning comeback drive. Jason Pinnock led the defense with 13 total tackles and three tackles for loss.

Looking ahead to Week 3

The Giants will have a quick turnaround before their next game as they travel to the Bay Area to face off against the San Francisco 49ers on Thursday night. New York will head into this Week 3 matchup with plenty of momentum, flying high off their thrilling victory on Sunday afternoon. The 49ers, 2-0, will be no easy match as for the Giants as they seek their third win in a row to start the season.

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