3 Takeaways from Giants' Week 4 Win
After coming close to victories the previous two games, the New York Giants broke through in Week 4. Even though it's been a tough start, this year won't result in the first winless season in franchise history.
Perhaps the Giants will even be able to build some momentum after they pulled out a 27-21 win in overtime against the New Orleans Saints at Caesars Superdome on Sunday afternoon. New York forced OT when Graham Gano kicked a 48-yard field goal with 31 seconds to go in regulation. Saquon Barkley then scored a game-winning touchdown on the only possession in overtime.
The Giants are 1-3, but they have played some competitive games. They lost 30-29 at Washington in Week 2 and then fell 17-14 to the Atlanta Falcons in Week 3. It was only a matter of time before New York ended up on the right side of one of these games.
Here are three takeaways from the Giants' Week 4 win.
Jones May Have Had His Breakout Performance
Daniel Jones flashed his potential over his first two NFL seasons, but he also experienced plenty of growing pains. As the Giants struggled, he was unreliable under center. However, early in 2021, it seems the 24-year-old quarterback may have turned a corner.
For the first time in his NFL career, Jones passed for 400 yards in a game, going 28-for-40 for 402 yards, two touchdowns and one interception in New York's victory in New Orleans. It was Jones' first game with multiple passing TDs this season, and the interception was his first of the year.
Not only did Jones put up impressive stats, but he also showed great leadership in helping the Giants overcome an 11-point deficit in the fourth quarter. He connected with Barkley for a 54-yard touchdown pass with six minutes, 52 seconds remaining, ran for the two-point conversion to cut the Saints' lead to three and then got New York in position for the game-tying field goal in the final minute.
"Ever since the day he's been drafted, he's been criticized," Barkley said, per ESPN's Jordan Raanan. "That guy does nothing but come in and work and get better and lead every single day. He's a competitor. He showed today he's a special player. We knew he was a special player."
With 31 games of NFL experience under his belt, Jones has improved. And that could mean big things for the Giants offense moving forward.
Barkley Is Looking More Like Himself Every Week
One of the biggest concerns regarding the Giants early in the season was the lack of production from Barkley. However, that was also to be expected considering he missed pretty much all of 2020 after he suffered a torn ACL in Week 1 of last season.
But Barkley has been trending in the right direction as he reacclimates to game speed. In Week 3, he scored his first touchdown of the season. And in Week 4, he looked even more like his former self, as he had 126 total yards (52 rushing and 74 receiving) and two touchdowns for his first multi-TD game of the year.
Barkley may have scored the game-winning touchdown, but his most impressive play was his 54-yard receiving touchdown in the fourth quarter that got the Giants back into the game. Barkley broke free near the left sideline, hauled in the pass from Jones and scampered to the end zone.
"In those situations it's about trusting," Jones said, per Paul Schwartz of the New York Post. "It's about trusting what we do, staying true to that and knowing someone's going to step up and make a play. Saquon did a great job there."
Now that Barkley is gaining momentum, he could keep putting up the types of numbers Giants fans came to expect from him early in his career.
The Schedule Gets Much Tougher from Here
The Giants finally have their first win. But if they are going to get their second anytime soon, they are going to have to beat a good team. New York's schedule gets much more difficult from here.
In Week 5, the Giants are again on the road to take on the Dallas Cowboys, who are in first place in the NFC East at 3-1. After that, four of New York's following five games are against teams that also have winning records: the Los Angeles Rams (3-1), Carolina Panthers (3-1), Las Vegas Raiders (3-0) and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-1). And the other opponent during that stretch? The 2-2 Kansas City Chiefs.
The Giants are going to be tested, even more so than they were over the first four weeks of the season. If they can build some momentum, maybe some upsets are on the horizon. Otherwise, New York may settle into last place in the NFC East and not be able to climb out of a hole late in the year.
It's a long season, so a 1-3 start isn't a guarantee that a team is going to struggle and miss the playoffs. But the Giants are going to have to improve in numerous areas if they plan to make it through this upcoming tough stretch with their postseason hopes intact.