It was a conversation between Saquon Barkley and Daniel Jones in the Giants’ win over the Saints that led to the game’s biggest moment.
NEW ORLEANS – Saquon Barkley burned Marshon Lattimore – an All-Pro cornerback – and threw a Saints safety en route to the end zone. After scoring, Barkley, the Giants’ star running back, did not linger.
He ran past a sea of Giants teammates running towards him. He ran straight for Daniel Jones. The quarterback was the first person Barkley kissed after one of his most impressive games of the season. It was a game that could have saved the Giants’ season – or at least kept it from derailing even further – and it started during a conversation between Barkley and Jones earlier in the game.
That’s why he ran straight to Jones.
The game: Barkley was lined up on the outside as a receiver, Lattimore in front of him. Lattimore was caught watching Jones as he slammed the ball, and Barkley passed him. Jones easily completed the pass to a wide open Barkley, who did the rest of the job himself. It was a 54-yard touchdown pass at a crucial moment, the Giants leading 21-10 midway through the fourth quarter. The touchdown made it 21-16, then Jones converted a two run conversion.
It changed the game. The Giants ultimately won 27-21 in overtime.
And that moment happened because Barkley and Jones both saw Lattimore bite that play earlier in the game.
“We played this game earlier and saw that (Lattimore) was sitting outside,” Barkley said. “Me and (Jones) had a conversation that it could be there. So I was just ready for that, DJ threw a great ball at me, and when you’re one-on-one with security, you gotta make this guy miss and I was able to do it.
The Giants recovered the ball, tied it to a field goal from Graham Gano, then took the overtime victory over a Barkley touchdown – at the end of another impressive practice from Jones. But it was Jones’ touchdown pass to Barkley that got the Giants the win.
“At this point in the game we have to make a play,” Jones said. “But it’s the same mindset of trusting what we’re doing as an offense, trusting the group and taking what they give us. They gave us an opportunity there, so it’s about seizing it. In these situations, it’s about trusting what we’re doing, staying true to that, and knowing that someone is going to step in and play the role. Saquon did a great job there.
The Giants picked Barkley second overall in 2018, much to the chagrin. They were downright mocked for picking Jones sixth overall in 2019.
It’s now 2021, and Jones and Barkley were the engines behind one of the Giants’ most impressive (and shocking) wins in recent memory. Jones pitched for a career-high 402 yards. Barkley had 126 total yards and two touchdowns.
But the most important thing started with a conversation and ended with a celebration.
“It’s pretty cool when you can see things before they happen,” Barkley said. “He and me were on the same page so (after scoring) I just went up to him and said ‘great ball and a hell of a game’.”
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Zack Rosenblatt can be reached at [email protected].