Giants record: 7-8
This time last year: 10-5
Time of game: 3:17
Stat worth noting: The Giants only gained six first downs during the entire contest. Two of them came during the game-opening drive, when they went 67 yards in only four plays.
Stat worth noting II: The Saints converted their first four fourth-down tries, including the go-ahead TD in the second quarter.
Turning point: No one can accuse Sean Payton and the Saints of playing passive. Trailing New York 7-6 late in the opening half and facing a fourth-and-goal from the 2-yard line, Payton opted to go for it. Drew Brees threw a perfect fade pass to Marques Colston, who beat R.W. McQuarters in coverage, giving New Orleans the lead for good.
Play to remember: The Giants started off this game in style. As expected, Tiki Barber got the ball a couple times on the game’s first drive. After that, Eli Manning went up top to Plaxico Burress, who had run right by the defense. Manning’s ball was caught up in the wind, but Burress waited for it, changed directions and outraced two defenders before diving over the goal line with a 55-yard TD catch and a 7-0 Giants lead.
Play to forget: Leading 7-0, Chad Morton handed the momentum right over to New Orleans, when he muffed a punt at his own 17-yard line and the Saints recovered. Untouched, Morton couldn’t handle Steve Weatherford’s boot and put it on the ground where Jamal Jones recovered, setting up New Orleans’ first points of the game.
0 – Number of plays the Giants ran from Saints territory.
81 – Yards super rookie Reggie Bush hung on New York’s defense – in the first half alone. Bush averaged 7.4 yards per pop in the opening half.
89 – Length in yards of New Orleans’ monumental, 18-play drive in the second quarter, during which they took a 13-7 lead. The Saints used 8:39 off the clock on the march.
“That one really hurt. Obviously we let the game get out of control.” – Giants coach Tom Coughlin
“I’m proud of this team. We played a good football team on the road. Our defense was magnificent.” – Saints coach Sean Payton
What went right
At least the Giants weren’t shut out. Their opening-drive TD was certainly not an indication of what was to come.
Will Demps put together his second consecutive excellent game – and second of the season. Demps had 11 tackles, including an absolute blowup of Reggie Bush and another nice goal line stop on Deuce McAllister. He also broke up a pass. As disappointing as he was for most of the year, he’s played superb lately.
In the first quarter, New Orleans kicker Billy Cundiff missed a 51-yard field goal wide right, which gave Big Blue the ball at its own 41-yard line.
On the same drive late in the first quarter, first Saints WR Devery Henderson dropped a long pass that could have gone for a touchdown. Then, Tom Coughlin challenged and overturned Reggie Bush’s 18-yard catch that would have moved the ball to New York’s 14. Bush was juggling the ball as he went out of bounds.
There’s most likely only one game left in this most promising turned horrific of seasons. While the Giants aren’t officially eliminated from the jumbled NFC playoff race yet, anyone out there interested in laying odds on their actual chances?
What went wrong
The Giants offense couldn’t get anything going all game long. With New York looking to feature Tiki Barber, their Pro Bowl back could never get on-track. Eli Manning was awful once again, failing to recognize open receivers and completing only nine-of-25 passes.
Things were no better defensively. The Saints running game ran roughshod over, around and through New York’s defense. Both Reggie Bush (126) and Deuce McAllister (108) topped the 100-yard mark.
New Orleans coach Sean Payton correctly challenged and had overturned the spot of a Tim Carter third-down catch in the opening period. Instead of New York having a first down right past midfield, Tom Coughlin opted to punt the ball away.
Late in the first half, the Giants went for it on fourth-and-two from midfield. A wide-open Jeremy Shockey dropped the pass, which would have definitely been a first down and could have moved New York into field goal range. Yet Shockey, who earlier in the game showed displeasure toward Manning for a poor pass that led to a seven-yard loss, had nothing to say this time around – with his hands or his mouth.