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Giants Now: Experts react and PFF takeaways from win over Titans


The Giants picked up a big victory on the road Sunday, defeating the Tennessee Titans 21-20 in a thrilling comeback win.

Brian Daboll's squad gained almost 400 yards of total offense, including a league-high 238 yards on the ground. On the flip side, Wink Martindale and the Big Blue defense held the Titans to just 93 rushing yards, including just 82 yards and an average of 3.9 yards per carry for Derrick Henry.

The Giants got some strong performances from players on both sides of the ball in the season opener.

Here are takeaways from Pro Football Focus, along with some expert reactions, from the Week 1 victory.

*Saquon Barkley had one of the strongest overall performances of his career on Sunday. He gained 194 total yards on 24 touches (18 carries, six receptions) and scored a touchdown and the game-winning two-point conversion. Barkley averaged 9.1 yards per carry, registered 123 yards after contact and had four runs of 10+ yards. Barkley earned a 74.8 overall grade from PFF.

*Barkley's dominance went beyond the box score. The fifth-year running back led the NFL with his 164 rushing yards, but he also finished with the highest rushing yards over expected at +88, according to Next Gen Stats. It was the second-highest RYOE of his career, and the most rushing yards in a season opener in franchise history. Barkley hit 21.1 miles per hour on one of his runs, which was the second-fastest of any player in the league in Week 1 and the fastest he's hit since 2019.

*The Giants back was named one of the Offensive Players of the Week by NBC Sports' Peter King in his weekly 'Football Morning in America' column.

*Andrew Thomas was one of the team's best players last season, and after one game, he's off to a similar start. The left tackle earned the highest grade on offense with his 79.9 overall grade. He received an 82.3 pass block grade after he surrendered just one total pressure on 31 pass block snaps and a 75.4 grade on 30 run block snaps, both of which were the best on the team.

*Thomas' overall grade ranked third among all offensive tackles, while his pass block grade was the sixth-highest at the position.

*The two veterans signed during free agency to start on the offensive line both graded well in pass protection. Right guard Mark Glowinski got a 70.2 pass block grade, while center Jon Feliciano was right behind him with a 70.1.

*Sterling Shepard had one of the plays of the game with his 65-yard touchdown catch, but the veteran wide receiver also made his presence felt in the run game. Shepard was on the field for 20 run plays and picked up a 71.4 run block grade. Rookie tight end Daniel Bellinger also graded well in protection as he recorded 71.3 pass block and 68.7 run block grades.

*Quarterback Daniel Jones completed 17 of 21 passes, good for an 81.0 completion percentage. The fourth-year quarterback registered a 115.9 passer rating, which was the fourth-highest of his career and the fourth-highest among all quarterbacks in Week 1.

*The offense overall did a great job of staying away from third down situations. 31.9 percent of the team's first and second down plays resulted in either a first down or a touchdown, which was the sixth-best mark in the NFL.

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

*On the defensive side of the ball, outside linebacker Oshane Ximines led the way with an elite 86.0 overall grade. Ximines registered two total pressures, which helped him pick up an 80.6 pass rush grade, and had a batted ball. He finished with six total tackles (three solo) and two quarterback hits, and received a 76.6 run defense and 74.2 tackling grade.

*Ximines' overall grade ranked 10th among all edge defenders, while his pass rush grade ranked 8th.

*Defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence recorded two quarterback hits of Ryan Tannehill, which helped him secure a team-high 81.5 pass rush grade. His 79.1 overall grade was second on the team behind Ximines.

*The Giants got solid performances from both of their starting outside corners. Aaron Robinson picked up 73.4 overall, 72.4 coverage and 78.3 tackling grades, while Adoree' Jackson was right behind him with 71.5 overall, 69.0 coverage and 79.6 tackling marks.

*Defensive lineman Leonard Williams had five tackles (four solo) for a 75.0 run defense grade, while Jihad Ward had six tackles (five solo) and a team-high 76.9 run defense grade. As Brian Baldinger points out below, Ward did a tremendous job of setting the edge against Titans running back Derrick Henry.

*The Giants did well when it came to finishing off plays Sunday, as they had 10 players register tackling grades of more than 72.0. Safeties Julian Love (83.7) and Xavier McKinney (82.2) were among the highest on the team, along with cornerback Darnay Holmes (82.2).

*The team's 80.9 tackling grade was the second-highest in the league, trailing only the Buccaneers (84.6).

*Additionally, defensive back Nick McCloud had the highest overall grade on special teams with his 80.2. He led the team with two special teams tackles. Meanwhile, wide receiver Richie James received a 71.0 special teams grade for his role as punt returner, in which he brought back five punts for 62 yards (12.4 avg.). He also had five receptions for 59 yards.

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