- Kieran Darcy, ESPN Staff Writer
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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- A quick take on the first half:
Shaky start: Eli Manning nearly threw an interception on the very first possession of the game, on a ball intended for Domenik Hixon. On the Giants' second possession, Manning did throw a pick, and it was returned 73 yards for a touchdown by Elbert Mack, giving New Orleans a 7-0 lead.
Game changer: Rookie David Wilson has had some big kickoff returns this season, but he finally broke one for a touchdown in Week 14. Right after the Saints' touchdown, Wilson returned the ensuing kickoff 97 yards for a TD, tying the game at 7.
Wilson also had kick returns of 58 and 52 yards in the first half -- but the Giants failed to score on either of those possessions despite the great field position.
Strong finish: The Giants had just 80 total yards of offense until their final drive of the first half. Starting at his own 31-yard line with just under two minutes remaining, Manning methodically marched the Giants down the field -- as he often does in the two-minute drill. He finished it off with a 5-yard touchdown pass to Hixon, who made a beautiful grab in the back corner of the end zone.
Manning also threw a 6-yard TD pass to Martellus Bennett late in the first quarter. He was 15-for-22 for 146 yards in the first half. But the Giants rushed for just 13 yards on eight carries.
The other side: The Saints racked up 227 yards of offense in the first half -- 126 in the air, 101 on the ground. But a pair of first-quarter turnovers hurt them badly. Wideout Marques Colston fumbled at the end of a 30-yard catch and run, recovered by Antrel Rolle. And on the Saints' very next possession, fullback Jed Collins fumbled after catching a short pass, recovered by Linval Joseph.
Automatic no more: Giants kicker Lawrence Tynes, who was 32-for-36 on field goals coming into the game, missed a 32-yarder in the second quarter.
2dBy Dan Graziano