Saints 27

(5-8, 2-5 away)

Giants 52

(8-5, 5-2 home)

Coverage: FOX

4:25 PM ET, December 9, 2012

MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ 

1 2 3 4 T
NO 7 6 14 027
NYG 14 7 14 1752

Top Performers

Passing: D. Brees (NO) - 354 YDS, 1 TD, 2 INT

Rushing: D. Wilson (NYG) - 13 CAR, 100 YDS, 2 TD

Receiving: V. Cruz (NYG) - 8 REC, 121 YDS, 1 TD

David Wilson scores 3 TDs as Giants beat Saints, remain atop NFC East

Associated Press

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Rookie David Wilson was given a simple piece of advice by special teams coach Tom Quinn before the New York Giants' game against the New Orleans Saints: "Run fast."

The first-round draft pick did more than that. He might have provided the spark that gets the defending Super Bowl champions back to the playoffs with several electrifying kickoff returns and big-gainers on handoffs from Eli Manning.

Wilson sprinted 97 yards on a kickoff return for one touchdown, ran for 100 yards and two more scores and piled up a team-record 327 all-purpose yards in a 52-27 win over the Saints on Sunday. Manning, meanwhile, chipped in with four touchdown passes.

"To come up and have a breakout game like this is an excellent feeling," said Wilson, who became the first NFL player to have 200 yards in kickoff returns and 100 yards rushing in a game. "You want to have a good game every game. I went out there and my teammates went out there and we played great and put up 50 points."

The performance could not have come in a bigger game. It allowed the Giants (8-5) to maintain their one-game lead in the NFC East over Washington and Dallas, and it finally showed the league the talent that teammates have seen almost every day in practice.

Wilson's NFL career did not start well. He was benched after fumbling in the season opener against Dallas and it's taken until recently for him to work his way back into coach Tom Coughlin's good graces.

"He made some huge plays today, when we needed it the most," said receiver Victor Cruz, who had eight catches for 121 yards and a touchdown. "Some were unexpected. We've watched him in practice just do amazing things, be it breaking plays or making cuts that you only see guys who are Hall of Famers make. So he definitely is the most athletic on the team and showed it today."

In all but ending the playoff hopes of Drew Brees and the Saints (5-8), the Giants showed they again can be a force in the postseason if they can get there.

New York snapped a three-game losing streak against the Saints, who turned over the ball four times in losing their third straight.

"Honestly, this is our playoffs," defensive end Justin Tuck said. "These are playoff-type games. The teams we're going to play, the atmosphere we're going to play in, this is what it is about. This is the type of football that leads into the playoffs and this is what we need."

Manning had TD passes of 6 yards to Martellus Bennett, 5 yards to Domenik Hixon, 25 yards to Hakeem Nicks and 10 yards to Cruz. Wilson scored on runs of 6 and 52 yards and hit 100 yards on only 13 carries for the biggest day of his short career.

The 52 points are the most for the Giants since scoring 55 against Green Bay in 1986. It also was the most given up by New Orleans, whose defense is run by former New York coordinator Steve Spagnuolo.

"I wouldn't say we're fragile," said linebacker Jonathan Vilma, whose fate for the balance of the season might be decided Tuesday when former commissioner Paul Tagliabue hands down a decision on his Bountygate suspension appeal. "I wouldn't know what to call it. We're accustomed to finding ways to win. This year, we're just not good enough to overcome a lot of the mistakes. We have to be more conscious in games and more detail-oriented in practice about how we handle our business on Sundays."

Darren Sproles scored on a 13-yard run and caught a 9-yard touchdown pass from Brees late in the third quarter, cutting the Giants' lead to 35-27.

However, Jerrel Jernigan returned the ensuing kickoff 60 yards to set up Manning's touchdown pass to Cruz. New York iced the game when Stevie Brown returned one of his two interceptions of Brees to set up Lawrence Tynes' 39-yard field goal.

The biggest play was Wilson's kickoff return, which came one play after Elbert Mack intercepted Manning in the left flat and returned it 73 yards to give the Saints a 7-0 lead.

The touchdown came minutes after Dallas rallied for a 20-19 win over Cincinnati and Washington beat Baltimore 31-28 in overtime despite losing Robert Griffin III to a knee injury.

Manning, Tuck and safety Antrel Rolle all said they knew the results of the other games by halftime, at least the Redskins' game.

"Our concern for the next three weeks is the New York Giants and that's all we can focus on," said Manning, who completed 22 of 35 for 259 yards.

The Giants could have folded against a team that had routed them the past two meetings. Instead, Wilson, who has been threatening all season to break a kickoff, fielded one at the 3, went up the middle and then veered toward the right corner of the end zone. He capped it with a somersault.

"That was huge," Rolle said. "That was huge. He has always been a fraction away from breaking it all year long and guys have been constantly pushing him to do it."

A fumble near midfield by Jed Collins led to Manning's touchdown pass to Bennett and New York never trailed again.

Brees, who had never lost to the Giants and had eight TD passes and no interceptions in the last two games, finished 26 of 43 for 354 yards. New Orleans outgained New York 487-394, but mistakes were its undoing.

The Giants didn't cash in after Wilson's returns of 58 and 52 yards, but his 20-yarder late in the half after a short kickoff set up a 69-yard touchdown drive. Manning capped it with the fade route to Hixon.

Defensive tackle Linval Joseph returned Collins' miscue 16 yards to the Saints 35. A 16-yard pass to Hixon and a couple of penalties set up a 6-yard touchdown toss to Bennett for a 14-7 lead.

Brees took the Saints on drives of 81 and 67 yards in the second quarter, but each time the NFL's top red-zone offense settled for field goals of 32 and 25 yards by Garrett Hartley.

Game notes

Hixon had the old Giants single-season record for all-purposes yards at 303 in 2009. ... Wilson also set a single-season record for kickoff return yards with 1,301 yards. ... Brown has broken the Giants single-season record for interception return yards with 259 on seven interceptions. The old mark of 251 was set by Dick Lynch and Emlen Tunnell. ... Patrick Robinson had the Saints' other interception of Manning. Joseph Morgan has two catches for 106 yards for New Orleans.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Team Stat Comparison

1st Downs2224
Passing 1st downs
Rushing 1st downs
1st downs from penalties
3rd down efficiency
4th down efficiency
Total Plays6862
Total Yards487394
Yards per play7.26.4
Total Drives1515
Yards per pass
Interceptions thrown
Sacks-Yards Lost
Rushing Attempts
Yards per rush
Red Zone (Made-Att)0-00-0
Fumbles lost
Interceptions thrown
Defensive / Special Teams TDs11

Passing Leaders


Rushing Leaders


Receiving Leaders


Scoring Summary

noTD9:54Elbert Mack 73 Yard Interception Return (Garrett Hartley Kick is Good)
Drive info: 5 plays, 16 yds, 2:54
nygTD9:38David Wilson 97 Yard Kickoff Return (Lawrence Tynes Kick is Good)
Drive info: 1 plays, 96 yds, 0:00
nygTD4:28Martellus Bennett 6 Yard Pass From Eli Manning (Lawrence Tynes Kick is Good)
Drive info: 4 plays, 35 yds, 2:24
noFG9:47Garrett Hartley 32 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 14 plays, 81 yds, 5:44
noFG2:00Garrett Hartley 25 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 8 plays, 67 yds, 4:06
nygTD0:25Domenik Hixon 5 Yard Pass From Eli Manning (Lawrence Tynes Kick is Good)
Drive info: 9 plays, 69 yds, 1:37
nygTD13:18David Wilson 6 Yard Run (Lawrence Tynes Kick is Good)
Drive info: 4 plays, 20 yds, 1:40
nygTD8:21Hakeem Nicks 25 Yard Pass From Eli Manning (Lawrence Tynes Kick is Good)
Drive info: 6 plays, 62 yds, 3:09
noTD7:28Darren Sproles 13 Yard Run (Garrett Hartley Kick is Good)
Drive info: 3 plays, 75 yds, 0:52
noTD2:00Darren Sproles 9 Yard Pass From Drew Brees (Garrett Hartley Kick is Good)
Drive info: 6 plays, 68 yds, 3:09
nygTD14:27Victor Cruz 10 Yard Pass From Eli Manning (Lawrence Tynes Kick is Good)
Drive info: 5 plays, 25 yds, 2:31
nygFG10:23Lawrence Tynes 39 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 4 plays, 2 yds, 1:31
nygTD5:20David Wilson 52 Yard Run (Lawrence Tynes Kick is Good)
Drive info: 1 plays, 52 yds, 0:00

Research Notes

Drew Brees completed 8-of-13 passes for 228 yards deeper than 10 yards downfield with two interceptions Sunday. In his last three games, Brees has no touchdowns and six interceptions on 43 attempts more than 10 yards downfield. In his first 10 games, Brees had 13 touchdowns and six interceptions on 130 attempts of such distances.
David Wilson had the best game of his career, rushing for 100 yards on only 13 carries. Wilson averaged 7.7 yards per rush, the highest by a Giants rusher with at least 10 carries since Week 14 of 2010. He averaged 2.8 yards after contact per rush, the second-highest by a Giants rusher this season.
Bolstered by the kick return game, the Giants had their average drive start at the Saints 49-yard line on Sunday and seven of their 14 offensive drives began in New Orleans territory (excludes kickoff return TD). It was the best average starting position by any team in a game in 2012 and tied for the 2nd-best over the last 10 seasons. Every team in the last decade to have its average starting field position in opponents' territory won the game.
From Elias: David Wilson is the first player in NFL history with at least 200 kickoff return yards and 100 rush yards in a single game.
From Elias: FROM ELIAS: With 121 rec yards tonight, undrafted free agent Victor Cruz of the Giants surpassed 1,000 receiving yards for the 2nd consecutive season. The previous 3 undrafted free agents to post consecutive consecutive 1000-yard receiving seasons are Wes Welker (2007-09, 11-12), Miles Austin (2009-10), and Rod Smith (1997-2002, 04-05)
The Giants finish with 287 kickoff return yards, the most in a single game in team history.
David Wilson finishes with 327 all-purpose yards, the most in a single game in Giants history.

ESPN Stats & Information