NEW ORLEANS — Make it a good one, Kyle Rudolph.
The veteran tight end, in his first season for the Giants, has a good meal waiting for him, courtesy of Saquon Barkley. Given the importance of Rudolph’s bail-out of his teammate, figure this will be an expensive dinner.
The Giants would not have come away with a 27-21 overtime victory over the Saints on Sunday if not for Rudolph’s quick action. They reached the Saints 34-yard line on a screen pass that Barkley took 18 yards, thanks to a block by right guard Will Hernandez. On the next play though, Jones out of the shotgun got the ball to Barkley, who made a series of moves and then fumbled without getting hit. Rudolph pounced on the loose ball and the net result was the Giants lost 1 yard. Crisis averted.
“I don’t know what happened,’’ Barkley said. “I know I fell, got up, fell, got up, caught it. I don’t think anyone hit me, it kind of just slipped out of my hand. When I saw that ball hit the ground I was just like ‘Oh, no.’ ”
Barkley went after the ball but Rudolph beat him, and the Saints, to it.
“If that ball bounced anywhere … let’s just say I owe Kyle Rudolph a dinner or something like that.’’
Safety Jabrill Peppers did not finish the game, as he was forced out in the second quarter with a hamstring injury that left him hobbled afterwards. Peppers said he felt the muscle strain a few plays before he was beaten on an in-cut by tight end Juwan Johnson for a 15-yard touchdown pass from Jameis Winston to tie the game at 7-7 just before halftime.
Peppers will get an MRI exam on Monday and clearly is in danger of missing the Week 5 game against the Cowboys.
“It’s gonna be hard as hell to keep me off the field in Dallas, that’s all I’m gonna say about it,’’ Peppers said.
Matt Skura became the fourth player to start at left guard for the Giants in the first four weeks of the season, as that particular spot has been ravaged by injuries. Shane Lemieux started Week 1, followed by Nick Gates, Ben Bredeson and now Skura, who came in with 51 career NFL starts, mostly at center for the Ravens. The makeshift offensive line was not called for any false start penalties despite the noise inside the Superdome. The only penalty accepted on the offensive line was a hold on Skura.
Here is a statistical anomaly. Even though John Ross lost the ball and then recovered his own fumble in the end zone, he gets credit for a 52-yard touchdown reception in the first quarter and Daniel Jones gets credit with a 52-yard touchdown pass. Ross is credited with the net yardage gained because, as the fumbling player, he recovered his own fumble in the category “initiating the action.’’
The Giants called for a gadget play in the fourth quarter, with rookie WR Kadarius Toney — who was a high school quarterback and has a strong arm — to throw the ball down the field, but the play did not fool the Saints and Toney opted to keep it for a 1-yard gain.