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Instant Analysis: Giants win Week 1 thriller



Saquon Barkley came alive, Sterling Shepard returned in a big way, and Brian Daboll made a gutsy call to start his tenure as head coach. It all added up to a 21-20 victory over the Tennessee Titans to open the season – and a new era – on the right foot.


The Giants return to MetLife Stadium for their 2022 home opener against the Carolina Panthers, who lost 26-24 to the Cleveland Browns in Week 1. It is the second consecutive season the two NFC teams face each other after the Giants won 25-3 last October at home.

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


*In the week leading up to the game, Brian Daboll didn't announce if Ben Bredeson or rookie Joshua Ezeudu would start at left guard in place of Shane Lemieux, who is on injured reserve with a toe injury. Bredeson, the veteran, got the start but rotated in and out with Ezeudu.

*The Giants punted three straight times to begin the game, netting just 31 yards on 12 plays while allowing three sacks. Daniel Jones drove the offense into Tennessee territory on the fourth possession, but it came to an end when he was strip-sacked by Jeffery Simmons. Bud Dupree recovered the fumble, which the Titans turned into a field goal on the ensuing possession.

*After being shut out in the first two quarters, Saquon Barkley sparked the Giants in the second half with a 68-yard run, which was 14 yards longer than any play by the team all of last season. Barkley put an exclamation point on the drive with a four-yard touchdown run to cut the deficit to 13-6 early in the third quarter.

*With new life, the offense exploded again on the next drive when Jones found an open wide receiver Sterling Shepard for a 65-yard touchdown. Shepard, entering his seventh season and the longest-tenured Giants player, returned to game action less than nine months after suffering a torn Achilles tendon. Shepard did not play in any of the Giants' three preseason games but always kept his eye on Week 1.

*The Giants had 19 rushing attempts (for 160 yards) compared to only 12 passes (for 153 yards) through three quarters.

*Barkley had his 13th career 100-yard rushing game. The 164 yards on the ground were the third-most of his career. Barkley also caught six passes for 30 yards.

*Kadarius Toney broke a 19-yard run on his first touch of the game in the fourth quarter.

*Jones, who was sacked five total times, completed 17 of 21 passes for 188 yards with two touchdowns and a late interception. After the Giants got the ball deep in Titans territory on a special teams turnover, Jones was looking for Barkley in the end zone, but Amani Hooker jumped in front of the running back for the interception. At the time, the Giants trailed 20-13 midway through the fourth quarter.

*After the defense forced a punt, the Giants got another shot at it. Once again, Barkley sparked the drive with a 33-yard run, leading to Jones' one yard touchdown pass to fullback Chris Myarick. It brought the Giants to within a point of the Titans with 1:06 remaining. Daboll, opting not to tie the game with an extra point, kept the offense on the field for the lead. It paid off as Barkley took a shovel pass from Jones and plowed his way into the end zone.

*Promising rookie wide receiver Wan'Dale Robinson, second-round draft choice, left in the first half with a knee injury and did not return.


*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.

*When teams prepare for the Titans, the game plan begins and ends with Derrick Henry, whom Giants defensive coordinator Wink Martindale this week called "our modern-day Jim Brown." The two-time rushing triple crown holder ran for 65 yards on 15 attempts with a long of 18 yards.

*Outside linebacker Tomon Fox, who made the team as an undrafted rookie from the University of North Carolina, recorded his first career sack on Ryan Tannehill in the third quarter. It was the Giants' lone sack of the game. Oshane Ximines, who also had to step up for Thibodeaux and Ojulari, recorded five tackles and two quarterback hits.


*Jamie Gillan had a busy day punting, landing five of his six attempts inside the 20-yard line. Tennessee's Kyle Philips returned the first one 46 yards, but the rookie muffed one in the fourth quarter, giving the ball back to the Giants deep in Titans territory. However, the Giants turned the ball over on the ensuing possession on a Jones interception.

*After Barkley's touchdown, the Giants had to abort the extra point attempt.

*Titans kicker Randy Bullock missed a potential game-winning field goal from 47 yards as time expired.


NYG: WR Wan'Dale Robinson (knee), DB Nick McCloud (hamstring)


NYG: OLB Kayvon Thibodeaux (knee), OLB Azeez Ojulari (calf), DB Dane Belton (clavicle), RB Antonio Williams, CB Justin Layne, OL Tyre Phillips, WR Darius Slayton

TEN: CB Lonnie Johnson (groin), OT Jamarco Jones (triceps), DT Naquan Jones, RB Julius Chestnut, OLB Derrek Tuszka