GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — On the first play of the second half, New York quarterback Daniel Jones dropped back and heaved a 58-yard completion to rookie Jalin Hyatt over the middle of the field.
The Giants had played some historically awful football this season until that moment. Instead of pouting, they started executing.
Jones threw for 321 yards and two touchdowns, Graham Gano connected on a 34-yard field goal with 19 seconds remaining, and the Giants rallied from a 21-point third-quarter deficit to stun the Arizona Cardinals 31-28 on Sunday.
“It's about execution,” Jones said. “You can't really afford to get emotional or think about anything outside of what your job is, and that's to execute, focus on one play at a time and be in that play.”
It was the biggest comeback win for the Giants since a 21-point rally in 1949 — also against the Cardinals. Arizona blew its biggest lead since 2011.
The Giants (1-1) lost 40-0 in Week 1 against the Cowboys and didn't look much better against the Cardinals during the first half, falling into a 20-0 hole at halftime. They trailed 28-7 in the third quarter but cut the margin to 28-14 on Saquon Barkley's 1-yard touchdown run.
“I think we have some mentally tough players on our team, and coaches," New York coach Brian Daboll said. “It's not always easy to be mentally tough when you're down 60-0 after a game and a half.”
New York kept the pressure on in the fourth, pulling within 28-21 with 8:51 left on a 9-yard touchdown pass from Jones to Barkley. The Giants tied it on Jones' perfectly placed 11-yard touchdown pass to a diving Isaiah Hodgins.
New York forced a three-and-out, then drove 56 yards in eight plays to set up Gano's go-ahead kick.
“The second half, the difference was explosive plays,” Giants safety Xavier McKinney said. “They didn’t have any and we were able get explosive. We were able to get our energy up and that was what we needed.”
Jones was 26 of 37 passing. He also ran for 59 yards and a 14-yard touchdown. Barkley ran for 63 yards and a touchdown, but hobbled off the field late in the fourth quarter with an apparent right ankle injury.
James Conner ran for 106 yards and a touchdown for the Cardinals.
Arizona (0-2) has lost six straight games at home dating to last October. The Giants denied quarterback Joshua Dobbs his first win as an NFL starter and first-year coach Jonathan Gannon his first NFL victory.
Gannon said he thought the offense played well for much of the game but couldn't sustain its momentum during the final 1 1/2 quarters.
“It's always going to be execution — making a couple more plays,” Gannon said. “It all starts with the coaches, being on the details of everything that we're doing, so we've got answers."
Dobbs — making his second start with the Cardinals after being acquired in a trade with the Browns last month — pushed the Cardinals ahead 14-0 early in the second quarter on a 23-yard touchdown run, bowling through Giants safety Xavier McKinney on the way to the end zone.
Dobbs fell to 0-4 as a starter; he lost twice with Tennessee last season. He was 21 of 31 passing for 228 yards and a touchdown.
Arizona went ahead 7-0 midway through the first quarter after an impressive nine-play, 86-yard drive that ended with Conner's 4-yard touchdown run.
Things got worse for the Giants late in the second quarter when Jones' pass to Barkley bounced off the running back and into the arms of Arizona safety Jalen Thompson, who ran it back 35 yards to the New York 34. The Cardinals capitalized with Matt Prater's 44-yard field goal.
New York's first six quarters this year were — at least by one measure — among the worst in NFL history.
The Giants gave up 60 points before Jones ran for a touchdown and the team's first points of the season. It was the third-most points given up before scoring since 1950, according to Sportradar.
The 1978 Colts gave up 86 points before scoring while the 1961 Raiders gave up 99.
Giants: Daboll said Barkley and LG Ben Bredeson, who left in the second half with a concussion, were being evaluated and he wasn’t sure the extent of their injuries. ... Starting LT Andrew Thomas (hamstring) was inactive.
Cardinals: S Budda Baker (hamstring) was inactive. The two-time All-Pro has missed just four games over the past four seasons.
The Giants plan to stay on the West Coast to prepare for Thursday night's game at San Francisco.
The Cardinals host Dallas next Sunday.
AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl
David Brandt, The Associated Press