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Inside the Numbers: O-Line impresses amid shuffling


EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Neither team surrendered a quarterback sack in the Giants' 27-21 overtime victory against the Saints in New Orleans on Sunday. Keeping a quarterback off the ground for an entire game is always an impressive accomplishment, but it was particularly noteworthy given the state of the teams' offensive lines.

The Saints played without three-time Pro Bowl left tackle Terron Armstead (elbow) and center Erik McCloy (calf), who missed the game with injuries.

And injured players forced the Giants had to reshuffle their line yet again. They started their fourth offensive line combination in as many games. The latest configuration included center Billy Price, guards Matt Skura and Will Hernandez and tackles Andrew Thomas and Nate Solder. Skura made his Giants debut. Hernandez and the tackles have started every game.

This season, the Giants have started eight different offensive linemen, the NFL's second-highest total behind the Philadelphia Eagles' nine. The eight starting linemen are the most the Giants have used through the first four games in a non-strike season since they started eight in 1982 (they had 12 starters through four games in 1987, but that included two strike replacement games).

The Giants have started a different player at left guard in each game – Shane Lemieux, Nick Gates, Ben Bredeson and Skura. Lemieux and Gates are out for the season and Bredeson missed the New Orleans game with a hand injury. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Giants last started a different player at an offensive line position in four consecutive games in 2016, when Justin Pugh, Brett Jones, Marshall Newhouse and Adam Gettis started in succession … at left guard. The Giants are the only team with four different starters at an offensive line position this season.

Since the start of the 2018 season, 19 different offensive linemen have started for the Giants, which is tied for the NFL's sixth-highest total.

Check out the best photos from the New York Giants' Week 4 contest against the New Orleans Saints.

*The game in New Orleans was the first involving the Giants in which neither team had a sack since Dec. 1, 2019, a 31-14 Green Bay victory in MetLife Stadium. The previous game in which the Giants did not allow a sack was Nov. 29, 2020 in Cincinnati. The last game in which the defense didn't record a sack was Dec. 27, 2020 in Baltimore.

*The Giants totaled 485 offensive yards, while the Saints finished with 405 on Sunday. It was the first Giants game in which each team gained at least 400 yards since Sept. 8, 2019, when Dallas gained 494 yards and the Giants 470 in a 35-17 Cowboys victory in AT&T Stadium.

*The Giants have at least one takeaway – actually, it's exactly one – in each of their first four games for the first time since 2013.

*The Giants and Buffalo Bills are the only teams that have yet to allow a first quarter point this season. The 2000 season was the last one in which the Giants did that through the first four games.

*The Giants averaged 10 yards on their 40 passes attempts Sunday, their highest figure since Nov. 18, 2018, when they averaged 10.9 yards on 18 pass attempts in a victory against Tampa Bay. They also gained 14.3 yards per completion, their best average since Oct. 7, 2018 at Carolina, where their longest pass was a 57-yarder from Odell Beckham, Jr. to Saquon Barkley.

*The Saints rushed for 170 yards on Sunday. It was the Giants' first victory in which they allowed at least that many yards on the ground since Oct. 25, 2015, when Dallas ran for 233 yards, but the Giants prevailed, 27-20 (the deciding touchdown was Dwayne Harris' 100-yard kickoff return midway through the fourth quarter). The 170 yards were the second-highest total allowed by the Giants in Joe Judge's coaching tenure. Baltimore ran for 249 last season.

*The Giants gave up those 170 rushing yards though they did not allow a single run longer than 10 yards. The last NFL team to do that was … the Giants, 38 years ago. On Oct. 30, 1983, Dallas rushed had a long run of 10 yards while rushing for 197 yards in a 38-20 Cowboys victory.

*In their victory, the Giants rushed for 83 yards. It was the ninth time in Joe Judge's 20 games as head coach the Giants rushed for less than 100 yards and their first victory in such a game.

*The Giants had four receivers – Kenny Golladay, Kadarius Toney, Barkley and John Ross – with at least 74 receiving yards. They are the only NFL team with such a quartet this season.

*Weird note of the week: Judge's first seven career head coaching victories were by a total of 31 points. The largest margin of victory in those games was 10 points. The last NFL coach whose first seven wins were by a combined margin of 31 or fewer points and were all by a margin of 10 or fewer points was … Ben McAdoo with the Giants in 2016. The six-point victory margin in New Orleans was the second largest in Judge's tenure. The Giants defeated the Eagles last Nov. 15, 27-17.

*The Saints' 21 points were the msot the Giants have allowed in a victory under Judge. The previous high was 20, in a 23-20 triumph in Washington on Nov. 8 2020.

*Barkley's 54-yard touchdown reception in New Orleans was his eighth score of 50 or more yards since he entered the league in 2018 (six rushing, two receiving). Despite missing most of the 2020 season with a knee injury, Barkley is tied with Kansas City's Tyreek Hill for the second-highest total of touchdowns from scrimmage of 50+ yards since his first game, one less than Tennessee's Derrick Henry.

*Barkley scored the game-winning touchdown on a six-yard run. It was this 19th career rushing touchdown. That broke a tie with Joe Morrison and moved Barkley into 13th place on the franchise's career list. Doug Kotar and Eddie Price are tied for 11th place with 20 rushing touchdowns.

*Barkley was the first Giants player to score on a run and a reception in a game since wide receiver Sterling Shepard vs. Dallas on Jan. 3, 2021 (Sterling Shepard 23-yard rush and 10-yard catch) and the first running back since Alfred Morris at Seattle on Dec. 6, 2020 (four-yard run and a six-yard reception).

*Daniel Jones has run for a two-point conversion in each of the last two games. He is the first Giants player to do that in consecutive games since running back Danny Ware on Dec 4 and 11, 2011 and the first NFL quarterback since New Orleans' Aaron Brooks on Sept. 22 and 29, 2002.

*Jones had the Giants' longest run in the game, a 20-yarder. He has had the team's longest run in three of their four games, the only quarterback to do so this season. Jones has had the Giants' longest run 11 times since the start of the 2019 season, the fourth-highest total among NFL quarterbacks, behind Lamar Jackson (18), Kyler Murray (14) and Deshaun Watson (13).

*Jones two touchdown passes increased his career total to 39. That broke a tie with Ed Danowski (who played for the Giants from 1934-39 and in 1941) and into eighth place on the franchise's career list, one behind Dave Brown.

*In New Orleans, Jones completed 70% of his passes (28 of 40), the third-highest rate of his career. He hit 75% against Philadelphia on Nov. 15, 2015 and 74.2% vs. Washington on Sept. 29, 2019. The Giants won all three games.

*Jones apparently enjoys the challenge of playing as a visitor. He threw for a career-high 402 yards Sunday, the sixth time his career he exceeded 300 yards. Five of those games were on the road. In addition, the 54-yard pass to Barkley and a 52-yard touchdown to Ross were the fourth and fifth longest scoring completions of his career. All five were on the road. Jones' longest touchdown pass in MetLife Stadium was a 41-yarder to Darius Slayton on Sept. 14, 2020.

*The 54-yarder to Barkley and the 52-yard completion to Ross were Jones' third and fourth-longest passes to wide receivers. All of Jones' five longest throws to wideouts have been...on the road.

*Also, all three of Jones official game-winning drives – games in which he led the Giants to a victory after a fourth-quarter deficit or tie – were away from MetLife.

*Ross was the 31st different Giants receiver to catch a pass from Jones and the 11th different player to catch a touchdown pass.

*The Giants are 33-30 in domed stadiums – plus 2-0 in Super Bowls – including 4-8 in New Orleans. They could play two more indoor games this season, Sunday in Dallas and on Dec. 12 against the Chargers in Los Angeles.

*Before Sunday, the last time the Giants rallied from an 11-point fourth-quarter deficit to take a lead was on Oct. 7, 2018. They trialed the Panthers in Charlotte, 27-16, before jumping ahead, 31-30. But Graham Gano won the game for the home team with a final-play, 61-yard field goal, the longest ever kicked against the Giants. Gano, of course, is now the Giants' kicker.

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