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5 things we learned in victory over Titans


Sunday marked the first game of Brian Daboll and Joe Schoen's tenure with the Giants. And for the first time since 2016, the Giants opened up the year with a victory.

Big Blue picked up a huge 21-20 victory over the Tennessee Titans in Nashville.

The season continues next week as the Giants welcome the Carolina Panthers to MetLife Stadium. The Panthers lost 26-24 to the Cleveland Browns earlier today.

Here are five things we learned in the Giants' Week 1 win.

1. Giants begin new era with big road win

After months of anticipation, the Giants finally took the field Sunday for the official start of the Brian Daboll-Joe Schoen era. It was a competitive game, and after falling behind 13-0 at halftime, the Giants mounted a big second-half comeback to pick up the Week 1 victory, 21-20.

"A tough, hard-fought game, 60 minutes against a really good opponent," Daboll said after his head coaching debut. "Give Tennessee a lot of credit. We're just making one more play down than they did at the end there. Credit to our players and our coaches. Tough win on the road so we'll enjoy this one on the way back and get ready for next week."

Following the win, Daboll and Schoen were presented with the game ball in the locker room.

"It's exciting. It's a new era," Saquon Barkley told the media. "There's a lot of things we can do better, obviously. You can look at that through the wins and losses. But at the end of the day, we're going to come out of here with a win. That's the most important thing. We're excited. We appreciate him. And that's why he deserved the game ball."

2. Saquon runs wild

Saquon Barkley was the star of the game. The fifth-year running back carried the ball 18 times for 164 yards, good for an average of 9.1 yards per carry, and a touchdown. He also added six receptions for 30 yards and scored the game-winning two-point conversion with just over one minute remaining to give the Giants the late lead.

"It's just one game, to be honest. That's how I look at it," said the running back. "Obviously, at the end of the day, I'm excited to get the win. Personally, just got to keep coming in. Something that just keeps tickling me that Coach (Daboll) says, 'Just enjoy the process.' And that's something I've been battling in the last few years with rehabbing and injuries. That's been my mindset. No matter what, win, loss, tie, I just want to come here with the same mindset and just keep enjoying the process and come to work every single day. We had a great week of practice and no matter what the result was going to be, we can't let that alter what happens this week. So we've got to keep grinding and keep leaning on each other."

Barkley broke a couple of runs for significant gains. His 68-yard scamper led to the team's first points of the game, which Barkley took into the end zone himself. He added a big 33-yard run on the final drive of the game.

"You saw the explosiveness and it was fun to watch him," Daniel Jones said about Barkley after the game. "He's had a great camp and seeing where he's come from – he's battled back from a lot of adversity, a lot of injuries. To get out here and do what he did today was a lot of fun to watch as a teammate and as a friend."

3. DJ leads game-winning drive

Jones picked up the first Week 1 victory over his career. The fourth-year quarterback completed 17 of 21 passes for 188 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. His completion percentage of 81 percent was one of the best of his young career. Jones also gained 25 yards on six carries (4.2 avg.).

"It was an exciting one for us to kind of come back there at the end of the game," said Jones. "It wasn't perfect. The first half wasn't great, especially from an offensive standpoint. So, to stick with it, fight down the stretch and come out on top was exciting for us. We've played a lot of close games these past few years, so it feels good to finish one, to come out on top and be able to celebrate in the locker room."

Jones capped off the season opener with a one-yard touchdown pass to fullback Chris Myarick. He then followed that up with a pass to Barkley to convert on the two-point conversion. Jones finished with a 115.9 passer rating.

View photos from the Giants' Week 1 win over the Tennessee Titans in Nashville.

4. Daboll aggressive in 2-point call

When Jones found Myarick in the end zone with 1:06 left in the fourth quarter, Daboll was faced with a decision. Kick the extra point to tie the game and hopefully force overtime, or go for two and try to come out of Nashville with the victory in regulation. Daboll, in his head coaching debut, went with the latter, and his bold decision paid off as the Giants converted and took a one-point lead.

"Going for the win. We're going to be aggressive," Daboll said after the game. "That's what we want to do. That's the mindset I want the players to have. If it didn't work, I could (inaudible) with it. I thought that was the right decision. You're an inch away or whatever it was. I trust Saquon (Barkley). I grabbed a couple of defensive players and busted their tails out there. I went up to some of the offensive guys that weren't out there too and I said, 'Hey,' we got the ball, wherever it was. I said, 'If we score, I'm going for two, you guys good with that?' And they said, 'F-yeah.'"

After the game, several Giants players shared with the media that they were hardly taken aback by the coach's decision.

"He's been very clear throughout training camp and throughout the week preparing for this game that he's going to be aggressive in those situations and give us the chance to execute," Jones said. "So, I wasn't surprised. I don't think any of us were surprised by that at all."

"I knew that before the game even started. He told us he wasn't going to coach scared and that's exactly what he did," Sterling Shepard added. "I mean, we all knew it. We knew we were going to go for it because he told us last night. He said, "I am not going to coach scared," and I believe everything the man says."

5. Injury update; Wan'Dale leaves early

The Giants lost two players to injuries through the course of the game. Rookie wide receiver Wan'Dale Robinson left the game in the first half with a knee injury. Later in the game, defensive back Nick McCloud suffered a hamstring injury. Both players were eventually ruled out. Robinson finished with one reception for five yards, while McCloud recorded two solo tackles.

Rookie Kayvon Thibodeaux (knee) and Azeez Ojulari (calf), the Giants' top two edge rushers on the depth chart, did not play in the season opener against the Titans. Rookie safety Dane Belton was also listed out with a clavicle injury. All three players were limited in practice this week.

RB Antonio Williams, CB Justin Layne, OL Tyre Phillips, WR Darius Slayton were also inactive for Week 1.