NFL: New York Giants rookie David Wilson stars against New Orleans Saints
By Paul Higham Twitter: @SkySportsPaulH. Last Updated: 10/12/12 11:14am
David Wilson: Record explosion for the New York Giants
Reigning Super Bowl champions New York Giants remained in a slender lead in the NFC East as rookie running back David Wilson finally showed his electrifying big-play ability during a 52-27 victory over the New Orleans Saints.
Wilson's NFL career started with a fumble and a benching in New York, but he dazzled against the Saints with three touchdowns and a team-record 327 all-purpose yards at MetLife Stadium.
The Virginia Tech product raced in a 97-yard kick-off return in the first quarter to spark the Giants into life in the game and also in their play-off chase as they recovered from a damaging loss to Washington last week to stay a game ahead in the NFC East.
Elbert Mack had returned an Eli Manning interception 73 yards for the opening touchdown for the Saints in a worrying start for the Giants, but both Wilson and Manning responded to get the home side back on track.
Wilson provided a much-needed spark in the return game, enabling Manning to start his drives at an average of the Saints 49-yard line, which instantly put the squeeze on the Saints' 30th-ranked defence.
Wilson also starred in the running game for the first time, with 100 yards rushing and two touchdowns to go along with his 200-yards returning - the first player in NFL history to have such a stat line.
Manning threw four touchdowns to four different receivers - Martellus Bennett, Domenik Hixon, Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz all finding the end zone.
Manning's superb drive just before half-time resulted in the TD throw to Hixon and gave the Giants a 21-13 lead at the break after the Saints could add just two Garrett Hartley field goals.
After the Giants had raced into a 35-13 lead in the third quarter Darren Sproles found the end zone twice to get New Orleans within eight points before they were blown away in the fourth quarter.
With it looks to have gone any slim chance they had of scraping into the play-offs and having a chance of playing in a home Super Bowl next February.
Wilson, though, may have just provided the spark needed by the champions to turn a so-so campaign into a strong defence of the crown they won in Indianapolis.