The Giants.com crew reacts to the Giants' thrilling 27-21 overtime victory in New Orleans.
John Schmeelk: You can find a detailed look at the Giants-Saints game in Five Factors, so let's go big picture here.
In the first three weeks of the season, you saw how a couple of plays in the Giants losses to Washington and Atlanta could have easily turned victory into defeat. As this game unfolded, those same kind of plays went a different direction and gave the Giants a victory.
If John Ross's fumble at the goal line takes one more quick bounce and hits the end line before he gets to it (or the Saints pursue the ball), the Giants lose possession and maybe the game. If Saquon Barkley's fumble in overtime takes a different hop towards a Saints player, the Giants never have a chance to win the game in overtime.
If a flag isn't thrown on Alex Trautman's hold on Leonard Williams on Kenny Stills' 40-yard touchdown run, the Giants likely don't win. If Taysom Hill does a better job leading Deonte Harris on his deep post one play later, the Saints probably have seven more points and the Giants lose. These are all plays the Giants had little control over but changed the game. It's true that Leonard Williams forced Trautman to hold, but no one forces the official to throw the flag.
Then, there are little plays the Giants made that changed the game. Ross hustled to get on his fumble before it went out of bounds gave the Giants a 7-0 first-quarter lead. Kenny Golladay ran through a Malcolm Jenkins tackle in the fourth quarter to convert a 3rd-and-7 and turn a short gain into a chunk play that put the Giants in field goal range put the game into overtime. Barkley gained 18 yards on a screen pass to convert a 2nd-and-14 was essential to score a winning touchdown in overtime.
These are plays that can be described as above the Xs and Os that helped the Giants win. There weren't nearly enough of these plays in the first three games of the season. Instead, the Giants were failing to make even basic plays that turned victory into defeat.
None of this is meant to in any way denigrate the Giants' win. Instead, it's meant to show how the line between winning and losing in the NFL is extremely thin. The old cliché is that every game has a half dozen to a dozen plays that determine who wins. Those big plays can be decided by skill or by luck. For the first time this season, the Giants made enough of those plays to get a victory. If the Giants find themselves on the right side of those plays next week, they could be looking at a two-game winning streak.
Check out the best photos from the New York Giants' Week 4 contest against the New Orleans Saints.
Dan Salomone: Saints fans were left thinking what the Giants' faithful had been asking themselves the two previous weeks: What happened? Thanks to a 21-3 run, their team was up 11 points with seven minutes to play against a winless Giants team that had not won in the Superdome since 1993. So, again, what happened? Saquon Barkley happened. The running back took a Daniel Jones pass down the sideline for a 54-yard touchdown, sparking a 17-point rally that spilled into overtime. Of course, just like the losses, the outcome wasn't because of one player. All three phases got the job done as the Giants showed more than just how not to lose – they proved they can win. Now, the clock sets back to zero heading into Cowboys Week.
"I am a believer in the process," coach Joe Judge said. "I do not believe looking at the results should justify what you do. I am a believer that coming back to work every week and knowing what it takes to be successful and sticking to that plan, but also not abandoning it when you do not get the result. We look at if we completed the process correctly because that puts us in position for results. Results are the most deceiving thing in the history of mankind. If you keep focus on what's away from you and forget about the steps you need to take on the way there [to success], you'll never get to where you want to be."
Lance Medow: It wasn't easy and all pretty but the Giants found a way to rally and finish, something that had plagued the team in the first three games. The biggest difference in Sunday's contest against the Saints versus the previous three games was that New York overcame situations that usually haunted them and, for the most part, avoided a high volume of negative plays. Case in point, on what turned out to be the winning touchdown drive in overtime, the offense was called for an illegal substitution, which turned a 2nd-and-9 at the New Orleans 47 into a 2nd-and-14from the Giants 48. Mishaps like this have stalled drives; instead, the team regrouped and Saquon Barkley turned a short pass into an 18-yard gain for a first down. On the very next play, Barkley fumbled the ball but Kyle Rudolph jumped on the loose ball to salvage the possession.
The Giants were called for just three penalties in Sunday's win over New Orleans. In comparison, they committed 19 of those in the previous two games combined. Another notable stat is that they had just one negative run. New York didn't run the ball with great success, but they avoided playing behind the chains and that's a huge difference when it comes to down-and-distance. In the previous two games combined, the Giants had eight runs for negative yards and those add up.
Although the offense still struggled to walk away with touchdowns in the red zone (1-for-3), Jason Garrett's group produced eight plays of 20+ yards including a pair of 50+ yard touchdowns – and no play may have been bigger than Kenny Golladay's 28-yard reception after he forced two missed tackles on a 3rd-and-7 from the New York 38 that put Graham Gano in field goal range to tie the game at the end of regulation. It's also important to note that after a rough start and several missed tackles, the defense forced a pair of Saints punts late in the fourth. The Giants don't overcome an 11-point fourth quarter deficit unless Patrick Graham's unit gets the offense the ball back twice without giving up a score.
Giants.com hands out game balls for the team's exciting Week 4 victory over the Saints at the Superdome.