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Giants-Texans final score: Giants improve to 7-2 with 24-16 victory

Saquon Barkley, defense carry Giants past Houston

NFL: Houston Texans at New York Giants Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — The New York Giants ran their record to 7-2 on Sunday, defeating the 1-7-1 Houston Texans, 24-16.

The Giants’ 7-2 start is their best since they were 11-1 to begin the 2008 season. It marks the first time the Giants have won more than six games in a season since they went 11-5 in 2016, which is also the last time the Giants reached the playoffs.

Saquon Barkley was a workhorse for the Giants. He carried a career-high 35 times for 152 yards. Barkley now has 16 career 100-yard rushing performances, four of those this season. His previous career-high in carries came in Week 4 of this season, when he carried 31 times for 146 yards in a 20-12 victory over the Chicago Bears.

The Giants led throughout, but their victory was not assured until the final seconds.

“It’s never gonna be easy. We want to be cleaner, for sure. That’s kind of the goal, to have clean games. But, this is this is our style of game right now,” said safety Julian Love. “What we did today is just getting after it, making some plays, getting some three-and-outs early. I thought we were fanatical on defense today. And the offense made plays when we needed to.”

The Giants were helped by a pair of fourth-quarter turnovers by the Texans.

On second-and-goal from the Giants’ 10-yard line, running back Dameon Pierce fumbled and Jaylon Smith recovered with 14:09 to play.

With 9:49 to play, Dane Belton intercepted a Davis Mills pass in the end zone. That came one play after a 19-yard Mills to Brandin Cooks touchdown pass was negated by a holding penalty on rookie guard Kenyon Green.

The Texans cut the lead to eight, 21-13, on a Ka’imi Fairbairn 34-yard field goal with 2:22 to play. Cager recovered the onside kick and Graham Gano made a 49-yard field with 1:55 left to make it 24-13. A Fairbairn 46-yard field goal with :07 left made the score 24-16. Adoree’ Jackson recovered the ensuing onside kick to seal the victory.

The Giants got a 9-yard touchdown catch by Lawrence Cager, a 54-yard touchdown catch and run by Darius Slayton, and a 2-yard touchdown run by Barkley.

Giants’ quarterback Daniel Jones completed 13 of 17 passes for 197 yards and 2 touchdowns. He had a passer rating of 153.3. Jones was also sacked three times.

Slayton finished with three catches for 95 yards.

“You’re always happy. It beats the alternative. It’s hard to win this league. There’s a lot of good coaches, a lot of good teams,” said Giants head coach Brian Daboll. “Like I said earlier in the week, if you play well, you have a chance, doesn’t guarantee you anything. If you do the things that cause you to lose, you’re probably gonna lose no matter what team you are.

“Our job is just to focus on things that we can do each drive, each play, each day to practice not get too far ahead of ourselves in terms of where the results are. Just stay in the moment.”

Missed chances in first half

The Giants led, 7-3, at the half. They got a touchdown on their first drive when Jones completed a 9-yard scoring pass to Cager. Houston got a 38-yard field goal from Fairbairn.

The Giants twice drove into Houston territory in the second quarter. A flase start on Jack Anderson on fourth-and-1 at the Texans’ 35-yard forced a punt. On the next series, the Giants reached Houston’s 27-yard line before Wan’Dale Robinson lost 5 yards on a sweep and Daniel Jones was sacked, forcing another punt.

Defensively, Leonard Williams had nine tackle (five solo) and a forced fumble, Dexter Lawrence had five tackles, a sack, and five quarterback hits, reserve safety Jason Pinnock had 1.5 sacks and a pair of quarterback hits, and Belton had his first career interception.

Game highlights

What’s next?

The Giants host the Detroit Lions next Sunday at MetLife Stadium. Game time is 1 p.m. ET.