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Giants ride Daniel Jones, Saquon Barkley during second-half comeback

Green Bay’s defense remains confident in its potential

Giants QB Daniel Jones
Giants QB Daniel Jones

LONDON – Daniel Jones' ankle didn't appear to be a problem, and neither was the shoulder injury that briefly sent Saquon Barkley to the locker room.

The New York Giants rode their quarterback, Pro Bowl running back and a wave of second-half momentum to a come-from-behind 27-22 win over the Packers in front of a record crowd of 61,024 at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Along with completing 21-of-29 passes for 217 yards, Jones converted several key first downs among his 10 scrambles while aiding the Giants in 6-of-11 third downs against a Green Bay defense that entered No. 1 in the league in that category.

The Packers held Barkley mostly in check out of the backfield aside from a 40-yard run out of a Wildcat formation in the first half.

However, the NFL's leading rusher still made an impact when he picked up 41 yards after coming wide open in the middle of the field in the fourth quarter. In the locker room moments before with a shoulder injury, Barkley finished the drive with a 2-yard touchdown run off a direct snap from the Wildcat to put New York ahead.

"They executed off a lot of our mistakes and they had opportunities to get first downs when we could've executed a lot better," said linebacker Preston Smith, who recorded Green Bay's only sack of Jones. "I know they had a lot of QB scrambles in the second half; more than they had in the first half.

"We've got to watch the film, get better, move forward and make sure that we don't allow those same mistakes to happen again."

Things started well enough for the Packers' defense. Barkley had just four total yards on four touches to start the game, as the Giants went three-and-out on their first two drives.

Even after a 26-yard pass from Jones to receiver Darius Slayton sparked the Giants a little near the end of the first quarter, Green Bay's defense responded and forced a Graham Gano 48-yard field goal.

The Packers held the lead until the fourth quarter but couldn't get the defensive stops they needed. When they did, Jones often called his own number and moved the chains with his feet.

New York went 6-of-8 on third downs on Sunday after starting the game 0-of-3. The difference was reflected in the drive summary, as five consecutive Giants series ended with points.

"We gotta just get them down and get them off the field on third downs," defensive lineman Kenny Clark said. "They can't have (conversions on) third-and-9 situations. It just wasn't up to our standard. The whole second half just wasn't up to our standard and we gotta get back to it."

Struggling to get off the field on third down, Green Bay uncharacteristically lost the time of possession battle to the Giants, 32:11 to 27:49. Almost half of that time came on New York's two second-half TD drives: 11 plays for 56 yards in 7:03 and 15 plays for 91 yards in 8:07.

Penalties also were an issue for the Packers, who were flagged six times for 63 yards, including a defensive holding call after halftime that wiped out Rashan Gary's sack of Jones for an 11-yard loss.

Once the ball started rolling in New York's favor, it was a difficult train to stop. Sixteen of New York's 24 first downs and 198 of their 338 total yards came in the last two quarters.

See scenes from the Sunday afternoon matchup between the Green Bay Packers and New York Giants at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London on Oct. 9, 2022.

"I feel like setbacks, losses make us stronger – I ain't worried," cornerback Jaire Alexander said. "It's a new situation for everybody. New circumstances, sleep patterns. It's a whole adjustment here in London."

Big things were expected for a Green Bay defense that returned most of its starters from last season and invested a pair of first-round picks to help fortify the unit.

Despite Sunday's setback, the defense still feels its goals are achievable. But it'll need to make corrections fast, as Green Bay welcomes the New York Jets to Lambeau Field next Sunday.

"We know how good we can be and how great we need to play in order to look like who we are, and we feel like tonight we didn't play up to our potential," Smith said.

"It's a lot of mistakes we made, a lot of things we could've did better, a lot of plays we wish we had back, but the result is the result and we've got to make sure we're critical of ourselves.

"… (We have to) move forward with a positive attitude and an attitude that we're going to attack next week and make sure we don't make those mistakes again and give up any big plays."


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