The New York Giants weren’t supposed to have a chance, especially down 14 points in the first half to the Green Bay Packers. Don’t tell quarterback Daniel Jones & Co., despite having every excuse possible for a poor result.
Jones led the injury-riddled Giants to a 27-22 come-from-behind upset win over the Packers on Sunday at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London. Running back Saquon Barkley ran in the game-winning touchdown out of the Wildcat formation from 2 yards out midway through the fourth quarter, helping New York (4-1) match its win total from 2021.
Playing with an injured left ankle, Jones went 21-of-27 for 217 yards. He added 10 rushes for 37 yards to produce perhaps the signature win of his career with all eyes on this early morning game.
“We were aware that we were underdogs in the game — you realize that but I think we’re a motivated group,” Jones said. “We’re motivated to play for each other.”
It was all the more impressive because Jones wasn’t 100%. He injured the ankle in last week’s victory over the Chicago Bears and didn’t have his usual explosion while on the move. Jones came into the contest on pace for more than 800 yards rushing for the season.
He also didn’t have his top four wide receivers, and Barkley had to leave the contest for part of the second half because of a shoulder injury. Kadarius Toney (hamstring), Kenny Golladay (knee), Wan’Dale Robinson (knee) and Sterling Shepard (knee) all missed the contest.
“Just got banged up,” Barkley said.
The Giants’ receivers on Sunday were Marcus Johnson, Darius Slayton, David Sills V and Richie James. Not exactly what they envisioned entering the season. Slayton led the Giants with six catches on seven targets for 69 yards. He came into the contest with one catch for 11 yards.
It didn’t matter who was missing for the Giants, who also saw top cornerback Adoree’ Jackson (knee/neck) leave after the first half with an injury. Jones and the Giants rallied from a 17-3 deficit, scoring 17 straight points in the second half, to continue to surprise the NFL.
New York, which went 4-13 last season, hasn’t had a winning record since 2016.
It has been quite the start for first-year coach Brian Daboll. He has his offense producing despite all the Giants’ injuries, putting them in position to contend for a playoff spot. Their 27 points against the Packers was the most they have scored in a game this season.
The Giants entered Sunday as 9-point underdogs, according to Caesars Sportsbook.
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers and the Packers looked to be cruising to an easy victory for most of the first half, punting once on their five drives.
But much like it has done most of this season, the Giants’ coaching staff made the right adjustments at halftime, and New York got contributions from deep down the roster.
Gary Brightwell scored the first touchdown of his career. Late-summer additions Justin Layne and Nick McCloud stepped in at cornerback with Jackson out. Johnson was elevated from the practice squad and led all Giants wide receivers in offensive snaps (45). Undrafted rookie Tomon Fox made some key plays late, and the once-forgotten Oshane Ximines had a sack/fumble to stop Rodgers’ potential Hail Mary on the game’s final play.
The Giants needed every bit of Jones’ brilliance and the unheralded players’ contributions. Rodgers marched the Packers inside New York’s 10-yard line in the final minutes, only to have a pair of his passes deflected (by rookie Kayvon Thibodeaux and safety Xavier McKinney) on third and fourth down to secure the victory.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.