Cardinals blow 21-point lead, fall to awakened Giants

Sep 17, 2023, 4:19 PM | Updated: 8:39 pm

New York Giants QB Daniels Jones runs against the Arizona Cardinals...

Daniel Jones #8 of the New York Giants runs the ball during the fourth quarter in the game against the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium on September 17, 2023 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)

(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)

Spotting the Arizona Cardinals a 20-0 start, the New York Giants shifted into a gear of urgency to begin the seventh quarter of their 2023 season.

A week removed from a 40-0 loss to the Dallas Cowboys, the playoff team from a year ago started playing like it en route to a 31-28 win Sunday at State Farm Stadium.

It was the first time the Giants had overcome a halftime deficit of 20 or more points since they beat the Chicago Cardinals in October of 1949.

The Cardinals (0-2) had a hand in letting the comeback happen.

Giants quarterback Daniel Jones, who signed a $160 million contract extension in the offseason, began playing to the level of his paycheck.

New York (1-1) burned the final four minutes off the game clock and drove 56 yards for a 34-yard field goal by Graham Gano to break a 28-all tie with 19 seconds left. The fifth drive of the second half was the only one where the Giants failed to score a touchdown.

Jones’ second-half success came as the Cardinals entered the game down two starting defensive linemen (L.J. Collier and Leki Fotu) and then lost another (Carlos Watkins) in the middle of the game.

Arizona also was without star safety Budda Baker, who was out with a hamstring injury.

Arizona led 20-0 by outgaining New York 241-81 at halftime, a difference of 6.9-3.1 yards per play.

The 60 points allowed without scoring to begin a season was the second-most since the 1970 merger. Only the 1978 Baltimore Colts allowed more (86) before scoring themselves, according to ESPN Stats & Info.

The second half flipped in favor of the Giants, who outgained the Cardinals 358-138 with an average of 8.7 yards per play to 5.8.

Cardinals quarterback Joshua Dobbs went 21-for-31 for 228 yards and a touchdown, while a balanced attack was aided by James Conner’s 106-yard, one-touchdown game.

Dobbs had his own success on the ground, rushing three times for 41 yards and a score.

Out of the halftime break, things changed in favor of the Giants — and in a hurry.

Jones hit rookie Jalin Hyatt on a 58-yard shot after the third-round pick got behind the Arizona defense. Then Jones used his legs, rolling out unthreatened for a 14-yard touchdown run to break the scoring slump for New York at the 13:43 mark of the third quarter.

The teams traded 75-yard touchdown drives over the next two possessions, with Arizona’s largest lead of 28-7 coming with 9:34 left in the third quarter.

The Giants and Jones orchestrated a 13-play, 80-yard drive to pull within a touchdown with 8:51 left in the fourth quarter. It was an Arizona three-and-out later — set back by center Hjalte Froholdt’s false start — and a Giants 64-yard drive later that tied the game at 28 apiece.

With that, the Giants fans in the Glendale crowd began making noise. This time, two false starts by guard Elijah Wilkinson blew up the Cardinals’ chances of getting a first down, and the ball was back into New York’s hands with 4:25 to work with.

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