Victor Cruz was gone for a long time, but he’s made himself right back at home through the first two weeks of this season.
Cruz scored the go-ahead touchdown in Dallas in Week One and he came up with a huge catch late in the fourth quarter against the Saints in Week Two. The Giants faced a third-and-eight from the New Orleans 34-yard-line after Odell Beckham couldn’t hold onto a pass and Manning looked in Cruz’s direction deep down the other sideline.
He wrestled the ball away from cornerback Ken Crawley for a 32-yard gain and the Giants were able to run out the clock before Josh Brown’s 23-yard field goal at the gun to move to 2-0 with a 16-13 win.
That probably wasn’t the way most people expected this one to go after the two teams combined to score 101 points last season, but it’s a new world on defense for the Giants. They held the Saints to 288 yards and three conversions on 13 third-down tries in a second strong outing in a row.
The Saints defense was better than they were in the opener, forcing three turnovers and keeping the Giants offense out of the end zone all afternoon despite playing without cornerbacks Delvin Breaux and P.J. Williams for almost all of the game. Breaux is out with a broken leg and Williams was taken to the hospital after taking two knees to the head on the same play in the first quarter. Williams has a concussion, but Laura Okmin of FOX Sports reported during the game that the Saints hope he can travel home with them after spinal tests were completed.
The play of the defense through the first two weeks of the season qualifies as very good news for the Giants after they sunk nine figures into bringing in new bodies after years of dismal results. They likely thought their offense would be less of an issue, but those three turnovers helped keep them out of the end zone this week. There were good results in terms of moving the ball for much of the day, however, as Eli Manning wound up with 368 yards despite the inability to get into the end zone.
Previous success on that side of the ball should keep much panic from rising as long as the new-look defense continues to be a good one for the 2-0 Giants.