The day belonged to the Giants, but the game was all Saquon Barkley's.
Yes, Daniel Jones threw for more than 400 yards, Kenny Golladay and Kadarius Toney made huge contributions, and the offensive line didn't surrender a sack. But it was Barkley, even with relatively modest numbers – for him - who had the greatest tangible and emotional impact Sunday on the Giants' 27-21 overtime victory against the New Orleans Saints in the Caesars Superdome.
The Giants trailed by 11 points midway through the fourth quarter when Barkley sparked a 17-point game-closing rally. It began with his 54-yard catch-and-run touchdown with 6:52 remaining. That was followed by a modest four-yard run to put Graham Gano into a comfort zone that enabled him to kick a game-tying 48-yard field goal with 31 seconds remaining. And it ended when Barkley caught two passes for 19 yards and then bulled his way up the middle from six yards out 5:06 into overtime to give the Giants their first victory of the season after three losses.
"I was excited," Barkley said. "This team has been through a lot. We have been through a lot of close games. We just needed to find a way to finish it. We just needed to stick together and find a way to win this game and we did it."
Everyone connected with the Giants was thrilled for Barkley, who rushed for 52 yards and caught five passes for 74 more. After debuting with two sensational seasons that included the Offensive Rookie of the Year Award in 2018, Barkley's third season ended early in the second game when he suffered a serious knee injury that required surgery. His rehabilitation was so long, Barkley wasn't on the field for the start of training camp. He did line up for the season's first game but seemed to lack the speed and elusiveness he once possessed. After the Giants lost to Atlanta last week, Barkley again had to answer questions about his health and effectiveness.
"I've said this before about Saquon, everybody has seen how much and how hard he's worked with the adversity he's seen and had to overcome," coach Joe Judge said. "This wasn't a small injury that he's had to work and battle through. He's gone through a lot of things, but he's always kept the team first in everything he's done, and they see that. There's a reason he was selected as a captain by his teammates and to represent them with how he works and performs on the field.
"In terms of seeing him have success, it's collective success. It is everyone's win. Saquon obviously punched the ball in at the end to close it out. That's what we wanted, to get the ball back and finish the game out right there. That's what we were able to do."
Check out the best photos from the New York Giants' Week 4 contest against the New Orleans Saints.