EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- A year after New York and New Orleans combined to score 101 points, the MetLife Stadium rematch saw the teams produce 29 as the Giants posted a 16-13 victory over the Saints on Josh Brown's 23-yard game-winning field goal as time expired.
The low-scoring game saw the teams tied twice, including with 2:54 minutes left when New Orleans kicker Wil Lutz made a 45-yard field goal to knot the score at 13-13.
The Giants defense held the high-powered Saints offense to just 288 net yards of offenses, and just three of 13 third down conversions.
"We knew it was going to be a hard-fought game," said Saints quarterback Drew Brees. "We thought our output would be better offensively than it was today. We had the opportunity to sustain some drives and get some big plays that we weren't able to capitalize on, would have gotten us some more points we might have gotten some more points, but I don't think we were expecting to come here scoring 52."
Both offenses squandered away opportunities. The Giants turned the ball over three times in the second quarter on fumbles by running back Shane Vereen, quarterback Eli Manning and receiver Victor Cruz.
The Saints weren't able to capitalize on the Giants' miscues, though they came close to doing so after driving to the 20-yard line following the turnover by Manning. Defensive end Paul Kruger fell on the ball which came on a sack.
Instead, New York came away with the score as Lutz's 38-yard field goal attempt was blocked by defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins and scooped up for a score by cornerback Janoris Jenkins. The blocked field goal returned for a score was the Giants' first since Dec. 7, 2008, in a home game against the Philadelphia Eagles.
"That shouldn't be something we're discussing in Week 2 of the season," said Saints head coach Sean Payton of the blocked field goal. "We'll get that cleaned up; that's my fault."
Leading 7-3 at the half, New York had a chance to increase its advantage. However, Brown pulled the 53-yard attempt wide left. Brown, who had served a one-game suspension in the season opener, would later convert field goals of 48 and 19 yards.
Earlier, Brees and the Saints tied the game at the top of the fourth quarter when the quarterback found receiver Willie Snead for a 17-yard touchdown over the middle to make it 10-10.
The Giants defense, however, did a good job of clamping down on Brees and the Saints, holding them to just 288 net yards of offense, with only two pass plays exceeding 20 yards.
The key for the Giants in shutting down the Saints offense, according to defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, was something they picked up and honed in on during this week's film study.
"They had a lot of chip games," Pierre-Paul said of the Saints' tendency to chip blitzing defenders. "We kept our composure and played it wrong at first but then we got the job done."
Despite holding another opponent to under 20 points for a second straight week, Pierre-Paul said the Giants defense still has a way to go before it's anywhere close to reaching its full potential.
"We went out there and did what we had to do, but we made a lot of mistakes," he said. "That was a good quarterback out there. He was getting rid of the ball quickly."
Brown's winning field goal was set up on a 34-yard pass completion from Manning to receiver Victor Cruz which put the ball on the Saints' 2-yard line, making the game-winner a chip shot for the 37-year-old Brown.
"I told Victor maybe I could have had it a little longer--nah just joking," Brown said with a smile. "This was a big day, and I wanted to start off really strong, I would like to have that 53-yarder back, but that's part of it."
Saints cornerback P.J. Williams gave everyone a scare when he was hit on the head twice on a first-quarter tackle attempt of Giants tight end Larry Donnell. Williams was removed from the field on a head board, his neck stabilized. Williams was taken to a local hospital where he was diagnosed with a concussion. Williams was able to move his fingers and toes, according to Fox Sports.
With the win, the Giants are 2-0 for the first time at the start of the season since 2009. Head coach Ben McAdoo joins Dan Reeves (1993) and Joe Alexander (1926) as just the third head coach in franchise history to win his first two games.
The Giants will host Washington next week while the Saints (0-2), who have now lost their first two games by a total of four points, will host the Atlanta Falcons.
NOTES: Saints QB Drew Brees' 263 passing yards bumped his career total to 61,589 yards. That moved him ahead of Dan Marino of the Miami Dolphins for third place on the NFL's all-time passing yardage total leaderboard. Only Peyton Manning (71,940) and Brett Favre (71,838) have more career passing yards. ... Giants QB Eli Manning's 386 passing yards this week marked the 40th time his career than he topped the 300-yard passing mark. ... New York CB Leon Hall recorded his first career sack in 123 games when he dropped Brees for an 11-yard loss in the second quarter. Earlier in the game, teammate Landon Collins became the first member of the Giants to record the unit's first sack of the season. ... Saints OT Zack Strief suffered a chest injury in the third quarter. ... Giants RT Marshall Newhouse suffered a calf strain late in the fourth quarter and did not return. Newhouse was spotted after the game, his right foot in a walking boot. ... Giants RB Rashad Jennings suffered a right hand injury, the severity of which is unknown.
Team Stats Summary
- N.Y. Giants will play their next game at home against Washington. The Giants have a W/L % of 1.000 after a win and .000 after a loss.
- New Orleans will play their next game at home against Atlanta. The Saints have a W/L % of .000 after a win and .000 after a loss.