Tackling trials: How the Giants surprised fans this season


Jack Kurzenknabe | Flickr

Victoria Lisi, Sports Editor

New York Giants fans remained skeptical, but optimistic heading into the 2022 NFL season. The team compiled a 10-23 overall record the previous two seasons, which led to the firing of former head coach Joe Judge.

With the arrival of new general manager Joe Schoen and head coach Brian Daboll, fans hoped the Giants would build a foundation for success and develop players to contend in the 2023 campaign.

It became evident in Week 1 of the regular season that Daboll instilled a new mindset in the team and that the Giants could possibly exceed expectations under the guidance of its new staff.

Kicking off the season, the Giants had major questions to answer on offense, ranging from whether Daniel Jones was the quarterback of the future to if running back Saquon Barkley could replicate his electric rookie season.

In week one, the Giants trailed the Tennessee Titans 13-0 at halftime in Nashville. The offense looked one-dimensional and failed to sustain drives throughout the first half.

But the Giants made adjustments in the second half, with running back Barkley spearheading a comeback with 18 carries, 164 yards and one touchdown. The team rallied to win the game 21-20, which set the stage for a remarkable first year for their new head coach.

The coaching staff did a fantastic job of making halftime adjustments throughout the season, which led the team to a 4-1 record heading into its week 6 matchup with the Baltimore Ravens.

The Giants trailed at the half yet again in its home game against the Ravens that week. But after rival quarterback Lamar Jackson turned the ball over twice in the second half, the Giants surged ahead for the win 24-20.

With the victory, the Giants surpassed their 2021 win total, and it took them only six weeks to do so.

After five straight losing seasons, the Giants had an opportunity to make the playoffs for the first time since the 2016 season.

Week 15 was another highlight for the Giants.

The team grinded out a 20-12 road win against the Washington Commanders to inch closer to a playoff berth. The Giants defense held on for a goal line stand against their NFC East rival Commanders, batting down a pass in the endzone to seal the win.

Rookie defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux was the star of the defense. Thibodeaux had a strip sack of Commanders quarterback Taylor Heinicke, scooping up the fumble for a touchdown in what was one of many defensive highlights for the Giants that evening.

The Giants continued their momentum heading into their Week 17 home game against the Indianapolis Colts. The team left no doubt with a dominating 38-10 win, clinching a wildcard berth and proving they were back to contending in the conference.

The Giants finished the regular season with a 9-7-1 overall record, allowing them to return to the playoffs.

In the Wild Card Game, the Giants recorded their first playoff victory since the 2011 season, defeating the Minnesota Vikings 31-24 on the road.

Jones led the Giants on offense, completing 24 of 35 passes for 301 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions.

The Giants season ended with a 38-7 road loss to the NFC Champion Philadelphia Eagles.

While the season is over, the team has potential for the 2023 campaign.

Jones finished the season completing 67% of his passes for 3,205 yards, with 15 touchdowns and five interceptions.

Barkley finished the year with 1,312 rushing yards and 10 rushing touchdowns.

And wide receiver Isaiah Hodgins emerged as a clutch target that can be counted on for next year. Hodgins caught 33 passes with the Giants for 351 yards with four touchdowns in 2022.