By Paul Dottino
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Sunday’s loss is hard to believe.
The Giants scored and scored in their 52-49 defeat to the Saints. This after twice fighting back from a 14-point deficit on the road and leading with nearly seven minutes to play. At 4-4, they are somehow still in first place in the NFC East.
House of Horrors? Indeed. There’s no other way to describe what the Superdome has been for the Giants. Perhaps they ought to lobby the NFL to play their next road game against the Saints in London.
Let’s hit a few numbers before we get to our review:
* Drew Brees tied an NFL record with seven TD passes and Eli Manning set a career high with six. The combined 13 set an NFL single-game record.
* The 101 combined points ties this game for the third-most in NFL history behind the Giants’ 72-41 loss to Washington in 1966.
* The 49 points were the most scored by the Giants in a loss and Brees set a record for passing yards (511) by a Giants’ opponent.
Offense — QB Eli Manning
An outstanding performance (30-41, 350 yards, 6 TDs, 0 INTs) that gets lost in the defeat. And when was the last time you could remember a quarterback throwing two fourth-down TD passes in the same game? In the fourth quarter, Manning hit WR Dwayne Harris for a 9-yard TD on 4th-and-5 to cut the deficit to 42-35 with 12:05 to play. On the Giants’ opening drive of the game, Manning fired a 2-yard scoring strike to Odell Beckham Jr. on 4th-and-goal for a 7-0 lead.
Defense — CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie
He created two huge turnovers to get the Giants back into the game. With 7:26 left in the third, DRC came up with an interception at the Giants 7 — Brees was hurried by DE Robert Ayers — on a left sideline throw intended for WR Brandin Cooks. The theft came three snaps after Giants TE Will Tye turned over the ball on a fumble with the Saints up, 35-28. DRC helped put the Giants in front with 7:23 left when his hit on WR Willie Snead popped the ball into the hands of CB Trumaine McBride, who scampered 63 yards for a score to make it 49-42.
Special teams — Shane Vereen
Vereen took over kickoff return duties after Harris got banged around and opened the third quarter with a 36-yard dash from inside his end zone to start the Giants at their own 35. It sparked the offense coming out of the locker room and, four plays later, Beckham caught a 50-yard TD pass to tie it at 28.
Offense — WR Dwayne Harris
It’s hard to hand out one of these after an offensive explosion, but Harris needed to do a better job of grabbing a 3rd-and-5 pass from Manning just before the Giants punted with 20 seconds left in the game. The throw was a bit high but Harris was able to reach up and it appeared the ball split his hands before it was nearly intercepted by CB Kennan Lewis. Harris would have had the first down and prevented the punt from taking place.
Defense — The Front Seven
We’re going after these guys again — and it’s not about going without a sack on Brees (50 attempts). It’s possible to go through a game without a sack yet still be effective by either hitting the quarterback often or hurrying many of his throws. The Giants didn’t do any of these things. In fact, Brees was hit just three times. Ayers got him twice.
Special teams — P Brad Wing
There is no other place to go. His facemask penalty (on Snead) with 5 seconds left moved the ball to the Giants’ 33 and allowed Kai Forbath to boot the winning 50-yard field goal as time expired. Snead recovered a fumble by Marcus Murphy, who initially eluded S Craig Dahl and Zak DeOssie, only to have Dahl chase him down from behind and rip the ball free.
Follow Paul on Twitter at @GiantsWFAN