The New York Giants (1-0) fought back from a 13-0 halftime deficit, upsetting the Tennessee Titans in Nashville on Sunday. The Giants won, 21-20, as Tennessee field goal kicker Randy Bullock missed from 47 yards as time expired.
The Giants, 4-13 last season, won their first season opener since 2016. They had lost 10 of 11 season openers prior to Sunday. The Titans, top seed in last season’s AFC playoffs, were 5.5-point favorites.
A Daniel Jones to Chris Myarick 1-yard touchdown pass with 1:06 to play pulled the Giants within a point. Coach Brian Daboll went for two points, and a Jones to Saquon Barkley shovel pass was successful, giving the Giants a 21-20 lead.
“Go for the win. We’re going to be aggressive,” Daboll said of the decision to go for two points. “If it didn’t work, I could live with it. I thought that was the right decision.
“It’s a players’ game. ... Trust your players and let them go.”
Daboll said he knew as soon as the Giants got the ball on the final drive that he would go for two points if they scored.
Jones was not surprised by the decision.
“He’s been very clear throughout training camp and throughout the week kind of preparing for this game that he’s going to be aggressive in those situations and give us a chance to execute,” Jones said. “So I wasn’t surprised”
Tennessee drove into position to attempt the game-winning kick, but Bullock pulled it wide left.
Trailing, 20-13, the Giants had two fourth-quarter opportunities to tie the game.
After Kyle Philips of Tennessee fumbled a punt gave them the ball at the Tennessee 11-yard line with 10:28 to play. Amani Hooker intercepted a Daniel Jones pass for Saquon Barkley in the end zone.
On their final drive, a 33-yard Saquon Barkley run set them up at the Tennessee 26-yard line. The Giants converted a fourth-and-1 from the 17-yard line coming out of the two-minute warning on a bootleg by Jones.
That drive failed. On their final possession, though, the Giants went 73 yards in 12 plays for the eventual game-winning points.
“They guys kept fighting. They kept believing,” Daboll said.
The Giants scored two third-quarter touchdowns. A 68-yard Saquon Barkley run led to a 4-yard Barkley scoring run. Daniel Jones hit Sterling Shepard for a 65-yard touchdown to tie the game at 13-13.
A nine-play, 75-yard Tennessee touchdown drive culminated in a 23-yard Ryan Tannehill to Dontrell Hilliard touchdown pass, sending Tennessee to the fourth quarter with a 20-13 lead.
- Wide receiver Wan’Dale Robinson was ruled out in the second quarter with a knee injury. Robinson, the Giants’ second-round pick, had one catch for 5 yards. [FULL STORY]
- Backup cornerback Nick McCloud was ruled out in the fourth quarter with a hamstring injury.
- Barkley had a massive game, running 18 times for 164 yards. He had runs of 68 and 33 yards, and had a 4-yard touchdown run. He caught six passes for 30 yards. This was Barkley’s best performance since a 189-yard rushing game in December fo 2019 against Washington.
“I’m glad 26 is on our team,” Daboll said.
Jones said Barkley was “a lot of fun to watch” on Sunday.
- Jones went 17 of 21 for 188 yards and two touchdowns. He fumbled once and was intercepted once.
- Richie James caught five passes for 59 yards. He also had five punt returns for 62 yards, 12.4 per return.
- Titans’ star running back Derrick Henry had 82 yards on 21 carries.
Ben Bredeson started at left guard for Shane Lemieux, who is on short-term IR. The Giants rotated Bredeson and third-round pick Joshua Ezeudu at that spot.
Jihad Ward and Oshane Ximines started on the edge in place of Kayvon Thibodeaux and Azeez Ojulari, who were inactive.
Daboll wins first challenge
Brian Daboll challenged a call in the fourth quarter, his first challenge as a head coach. He won, saving the Giants 8 yards after a fourth-quarter catch by Tennessee tight end Chig Ogonkwo.
The Giants host the Carolina Panthers next Sunday, Sept. 18, in their home opener at MetLife Stadium. Game time is 1 p.m., and FOX will have the telecast.