From the depths of 60-0 deficit six quarters into their season, and a 21-point third-quarter hole Sunday in Arizona, the Giants suddenly, improbably, have life.
And Sean Payton and the Broncos — after blowing a 21-3 lead to the Commanders, then nearly tying the score with a 50-yard Hail Mary from Russell Wilson to Brandon Johnson as time expired — are now 0-2.
Sunday’s NFL slate was defined by a slew of furious finishes, none more unlikely than the 21-point rally the Giants staged in the desert. A week after an embarrassing 40-0 loss to Dallas, New York played just as poorly in the first half against the Cardinals, piling up just 76 yards of total offense en route to a 20-0 hole.
It looked bad. Really bad.
All told, the Giants opened the 2023 season with more than 90 minutes of scoreless football.
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But by game’s end, it was a 31-28 triumph, courtesy of 24 unanswered points across the final two quarters, the largest comeback win for the franchise in more than 70 years. Saquon Barkley scored twice but left the game late with an injury, slamming his helmet on the bench in frustration. His status, along with that of the Colts’ Anthony Richardson (concussion) and the Bengals’ Joe Burrow (calf), will be among the injuries to monitor in the coming days.
In Detroit, the Seahawks won on a walk-off touchdown from Geno Smith to Tyler Lockett in overtime; in Atlanta, the Falcons outplayed the Packers down the stretch and won on a Younghoe Koo 25-yard field goal with 57 seconds left; and in Nashville, the Titans sent the Chargers to 0-2 with Nick Folk 41-yard game-winner in overtime.
And Russell Wilson nearly upstaged them all, connecting with Johnson on a 50-yard heave with no time on the clock. The touchdown cut the Commanders’ lead to 35-33; all Denver needed was a successful two-point conversion to force overtime. But Russell’s pass to Courtland Sutton fell incomplete, after some contact. Ron Rivera’s team is now a surprising 2-0, and Sean Payton is winless in his first two games as Denver’s coach.
Here’s what we learned from the afternoon slate of Week 2:
Dallas looks like a contender
The Cowboys officially own the city of New York after routing the Giants and Jets by a combined score of 70-10 in consecutive weeks to open the season. The engine behind their early success has been Dan Quinn’s defense, a Super Bowl-caliber unit led by the early favorite for Defensive Player of the Year. Micah Parsons has been good since he entered the league, but he’s never been this good.
So far, the All-Pro linebacker looks utterly unblockable.
It was never close Sunday in Dallas, as Parsons and the Cowboys dominated the Jets 30-10. Taking over for Aaron Rodgers, Zach Wilson’s first start of 2023 was a rough one: He completed just 12 passes on 27 attempts for 170 yards, a touchdown and three interceptions. Dallas’ defense now has seven turnovers and nine sacks in two games.
The offense was sharp Sunday, as well, with Dak Prescott piling up 255 passing yards on 31 completions…