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Giants-Cardinals ‘things I think’: Yogi would have been proud of this one

It wasn’t over when it looked like it should have been over for the Giants

New York Giants v Arizona Cardinals
Even Daniel Jones was showing emotion as the Giants came back Sunday evening.
Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images

Like everyone else, I think I am having a hard time processing what the New York Giants did in defeating the Arizona Cardinals 31-28, on Sunday.

Whatever just happened, it was truly amazing.

The Giants spent the first half setting records for futility.

In falling behind 20-0, they had been outscored 60-0 over the first six quarters of the season.

The Giants became the first NFL team since 1992 to fail to score a point in their first six quarters of a season.

In the second half, the Giants rescued a season that looked to already be on the brink of disaster with the franchise’s biggest comeback in the Super Bowl era. Per Elias Sports Bureau, the Giants had only rallied from 21-point deficits to win two other times in franchise history:

  • Dec. 2, 1945 vs. Philadelphia
  • Dec. 30, 1949 vs. Chicago Cardinals


I am still struggling to process what I just witnessed.

I think this is a game that requires a couple of Yogi Berra quotes.

“It gets late early out here.”

It certainly was getting late early for the Giants when they entered the locker room at halftime. Trailing the team many think is the worst in football by 20 points and staring at an 0-2 record with a Thursday game looming against the powerhouse San Francisco 49ers, the Giants’ season looked like it might be over before they even scored a point.

Which, of course, brings us to the second Yogi-ism:

“It ain’t over till it’s over.”

Daniel Jones, Jalin Hyatt, Saquon Barkley, Darren Waller and a defense that finally showed up in the fourth quarter did something most of us have never seen the Giants do in our lifetimes. That stunning comeback makes it possible that the Giants, who looked like the 1961 Mets or the 0-14 1977 Tampa Bay Buccaneers for six quarters, could still have a meaningful season.

The second half was a rollercoaster. The Giants struck quickly, finally getting on the board with a three-play, 75-yard drive thanks to Jalin Hyatt and Daniel Jones, but the defense gave that right back.

With no margin for error after the score reached 28-7 with 9:34 left in the third quarter, the Giants did what seemed impossible. ESPN Analytics gave the Giants less than a 4% chance of winning at that point.

Yet, they won. They seemingly came back from the dead. The Giants scored on every possession of the second half. They got four consecutive defensive stops in the fourth quarter, their only ones of the game. Graham Gano did what he always does.

I’m still amazed. Here are a few other ‘things I think.’

Jalin Hyatt announces himself

The Giants needed a play. They needed some juice. They went right to rookie third-round pick Jalin Hyatt, who hauled in a 58-yard pass on the first play of the second half. He added a contested 31-yard catch later. This kid is a difference-maker.

I think I agree with Hyatt’s thoughts about his 58-yard catch:

A few more passing game thoughts

  • Darren Waller controlled the middle of the field with six receptions for 76 yards.
  • Isaiah Hodgins had a nice night with four catches for 40 yards and the game-tying score.
  • As much as I love Saquon Barkley the player, I just can’t agree with those who continue to believe he is a great, under-used pass receiver. The Giants were very fortunate that ball that went through his hands on Sunday was not a pick six.
  • Parris Campbell is playing Wan’Dale Robinson into the Giants’ wide receiver rotation.

About Daniel Jones

This is what the Giants’ quarterback did in the second half of Sunday’s game:

Jones is not a top five NFL quarterback. Maybe he isn’t top 10, although if he keeps playing like he did in the second half on Sunday there will be a case to be made.

If you don’t think the Giants can win with Jones, I think Sunday screams pretty loudly that you’re wrong.

Makeshift offensive line did OK

Things did not start well for the Giants’ revamped offensive line as substitute left tackle Joshua Ezeudu had a false start on the game’s first play.

The group, which included Mark Glowinski at left guard after Ben Bredeson suffered a concussion, did OK.

Ezeudu gave up an early sack, but that was all. McKethan’s name was barely mentioned on the broadcast, and that was fine. Evan Neal had an ill-time penalty, but seemed to play well enough.

The performance offered some hope.

Injury concerns

The Giants will have some injury issues heading into Thursday’s difficult game against the San Francisco 49ers.

Andrew Thomas did not sound certain after the game that he will be ready to go by Thursday.

Bredeson (concussion) will almost certainly not play. It seems highly unlikely he would clear the league’s concussion protocol in time. So Glowinski, who last played left guard in 2016, might have to start there. Unless Thomas plays and the Giants slide Ezeudu to that spot, which is the one he competed for during the summer.

Best early guess is that Barkley’s ankle keeps him out Thursday, even though early indications seem to be that the injury could have been worse.

Defensive concerns

The Giants did — finally — get four stops in the fourth quarter. They were aided somewhat by a panicking Cardinals team that could see the game slipping away, but give them credit.

Still, what we saw for most of the game — on the heels of what we saw vs. Dallas — has to be a concern.

No real pass rush for the second straight game. No sign of Kayvon Thibodeaux. No turnovers forced. Too many gaping holes in the secondary. A run defense that allowed 5.1 yards per attempt.

That has got to get better.

Finally ...

I think we shouldn’t end on a down note. This is a game it looked like the Giants had no chance to win at halftime. They stunningly did just that.

The Giants can be an infuriating, hard to understand team. They can, and do, look awful at times. Then, they do things you don’t think they can do — like come back to beat Tenneesee and Green Bay a year ago. Like win on Sunday with the odds stacked heavily against them.

“We came in at halftime and we rallied together,” Hodgins said. “We got together, we said all time in the offseason spending time with each other and camaraderie you find out about that now in the hard times, you don’t find out how close you are when you’re up 30-0 you find that out when you’re down. It just shows how close of a team we have.”

Heart. Resilience. Guts. Call it whatever you want, it’s a big part of what makes this an interesting team. And, it might be the biggest reason they pulled off a historic comeback on Sunday.