The Giants offense marched 75 yards down the field on their opening drive, concluding with Eli Manning‘s 75-yard touchdown pass to Sterling Shepard. It was Shepard’s second touchdown of the season and the 343rd of Manning’s career.
Manning moved into sole possession of seventh place all-time in touchdown passes, surpassing former Giant Fran Tarkenton. Only his brother Peyton, Brett Favre, Drew Brees, Tom Brady, Dan Marino, and Phillp Rivers have thrown more touchdown passes in the 99-year history of the National Football League.
After that opening drive, the Giants offense hit the proverbial wall hard, gaining 22 yards for the rest of the first half.
Speaking of Brees, he had an opportunity to make history of his own. Last week, he became the NFL’s all-time leader in completed passes. He needed 418 yards to surpass Peyton Manning as the NFL’s all-time passing yards leader. The Giants defense kept him in check for most of the first half, forcing Wil Lutz to kick field goals of 42, 34, 37, and 26 yards.
Brees finished 18-of-32 for 217 yards. Michael Thomas, the NFL’s top receiver entering Week 4, had just four catches for 47 yards.
The Saints’ aerial attack wasn’t the biggest factor in the Giants’ 33-18 loss that dropped them to 1-3. It was running back Alvin Kamara. Kamara, playing in relief of the suspended Mark Ingram, had 134 rushing yards on 19 carries and three touchdowns including a 49-yard run that sealed New Orleans’ third consecutive victory.
The Saints defense also redeemed itself Sunday. New Orleans allowed 34.3 points per game in their first three games. They held the Giants to 16 points at home on a day with good football weather. It was the third time in four games this season the Giants failed to score at least 20 points and the 37th consecutive game they didn’t score 30 points.
Twenty-two teams have scored at least 30 points so far this season.
Manning went 31-of-41 for 255 yards and the touchdown to Shepard. He also lost a fumble late in the game. A significant portion of his yards came after New Orleans sealed the victory. He was soundly booed by the MetLife Stadium faithful during the third quarter and in the fourth quarter after a Saints victory was assured.
Saquon Barkley was held to just 44 rushing yards on 10 carries but he did score a touchdown. He also had six receptions for 56 yards. Odell Beckham Jr., who at times looked frustrated, returned to the locker room to receive an IV before halftime. He returned to the game, finishing with seven receptions for 60 yards.
The Giants gained just 299 yards of total offense. They were also victims of some excellent trickery.
New Orleans psyched out the Indianapolis Colts with an onside kick to begin the second half of Super Bowl XLIV. On Sunday, it was a fake punt that caught the Giants with their pants down. Backup quarterback Taysom Hill completed a 10-yard pass on the drive that helped set up Lutz’s first field goal.
They couldn’t even take advantage of what should have been a Saints miscue. Ted Ginn Jr. bobbled the kickoff after Barkley’s touchdown run. The Saints went on a 97-yard drive that ended with Kamara’s 49-yard touchdown.
The Giants defense also allowed touchdown drives of 74 and 80 yards.
With a quarter of the season in the books, the Giants are now 1-3. They had an opportunity to tie both the Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys for second place with the current division leader Washington Redskins on their bye week. Instead, they reside in the NFC East’s basement yet again.
The Giants’ upcoming schedule includes games against the Carolina Panthers (Week 5), a Thursday night showdown against Philadelphia (Week 6), the Atlanta Falcons (Week 7), and Washington (Week 8) before their bye week.
The Giants could find themselves at 1-7 by Halloween if they continue play like they played against New Orleans.
– Curtis Rawls is a Managing Editor for Full Press Coverage and covers the NFL, the New York Giants, and the NBA. Please like and follow on Facebook, Twitter, and Twitter. Curtis can be followed on Twitter @CuRawls203.