By: Damian Adams
Last season the New Orleans Saints and New York Giants played against each other in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. This may have been the craziest game of the 2015 season as the Saints won 52-49, both offenses ran up and down the field as if no one was in front of them. Drew Brees went 39-50, passing for 505 yards, and 7 touchdowns. Eli Manning wasn’t bad himself, as he went 30-41, passing for 350 yards, and 6 touchdowns. Last year’s shootout had many expecting a similar result this year. What a difference a year makes?
This year’s match-up was the complete opposite of last year’s game, this one was played at MetLife Stadium. The Saints punted on their first five possessions as they could not get in a rhythm. The black and gold’s longest possession was two minutes and 38 seconds during that span. New Orleans’ defense did a great job during that time, despite constantly being on the field. They gave up a lot yards to the Giants but were able to force four turnovers (three fumbles, turnover on downs), bending but not breaking. The last fumble recovered by New Orleans put their offense in position to kick a field goal.
The Giants blocked the low kicked field goal attempt, Janoris Jenkins scooped it up and returned it for a touchdown. This play was a ten point swing for the Giants as they took three points away from the Saints and gained seven points. New Orleans did recover on the next drive and ended it with a made field goal. The New York Giants were up 7-3 at the half.
New York started the second half by missing a 53 yard field goal attempt. New Orleans’ offense again did not capitalize on the mishap, as they punted after another sub-three minute possession. Eli Manning and the Giants offense responded with an 11 play drive, which lasted six minutes and ended with a made field goal. Giants were up 10-3 at this point. Drew Brees and the saints offense responded with their best drive of the game, going 74 yards on nine plays, ending the drive with a touchdown pass from Drew Brees to Willie Snead IV. This drive was just over four minutes long. Game was tied 10-10. New York came right back with another, 11 play drive that ended with a made field goal, 13-10 Giants. The Saints offense would respond with a eight play drive, going 47 yards, ending that drive with a made field goal, game tied 13-13.
The Giants got the ball back with two minutes and 54 seconds left in the game. The drive looked to be stalling when Eli Manning threw a jump ball up to Victor Cruz. Saints defensive back Ken Crawley was in perfect position to get an interception or knock the ball down. Crawley was not able to do so as he made a rookie mistake,trying to catch the ball as if he was an open receiver giving Cruz the opportunity to snatch the ball away from him. Cruz made a great play on this 34 yard reception, which forced the Saints to take their final timeout, as the Giants were on the Saints two yard line. New York played it smart, taking knees and killing time until they kicked the very short game winning field goal as time expired, Giants won 16-13.
This game may have ended with the Giants offense getting the best of the Saints defense but New Orleans’ offense is the one to blame for this lost. The Saints have a very young defense especially in the secondary and the game plan should have been to control the clock and keep the Giants offense off the field. Sean Payton seemed to want to do that at the start of the game but got away from the run, the Saints only ran the ball 13 times for 41 yards. The Giants ran the ball 32 times for 64 yards. Even though New York only averaged two yards per carry, they stuck with it and were not one dimensional. This lack of a running game by New Orleans forced their defense to be on the field a lot more than it should have. The Saints lost the time of possession battle 34:07 to 25:53. This caused New Orleans’ defense to be tired at the end of the game.
The key play of the game was the blocked field goal turned touchdown by the Giants, that was a ten point swing and New York won by three points.
The fan bases of both teams can go into next week with a positive outlook. The Giants are (2-0) with two ugly victories where their defense has played very well. The offense has had two sloppy performances and they still came out with wins in both games. To be (2-0) with room to improve is a great place to be. The Saints are (0-2) but have lost both games by a combined four points, game one the offense was great and defense didn’t show up, game two it was vice versa. Hopefully week 3 and throughout the rest of the season they can put it all together. Next week may be a “must win” game for the black and gold.