EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Rookie David Wilson's brilliant game might be the spark that gets the New York Giants back to the playoffs.
Wilson returned a kickoff 97 yards for one touchdown, ran for two more scores, and piled up a team-record 327 all-purpose yards in the Giants' 52-27 win over the New Orleans Saints on Sunday.
Eli Manning was no slouch either, throwing four TD passes as the Giants scored the most points since putting up 55 against Green Bay in 1986.
New York also ended a three-game losing streak against the Saints, who lost their third straight.
Manning had TD passes of 6 yards to Martellus Bennett, 5 yards to Domenik Hixon, 25 yards to Hakeem Nicks, and 10 yards to Victor Cruz. Wilson scored on runs of 6 and 52 yards and finished with 100 yards on 13 carries for the biggest day of his short career.
The Giants (8-5) maintained their one-game lead in the NFC East over Washington and Dallas. The loss all but ended the playoff hopes of Drew Brees and the Saints (5-8).
It also was the most points given up by New Orleans, whose defense is run by former New York coordinator Steve Spagnuolo.
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.
Jerrel Jernigan, however, returned the ensuing kickoff 60 yards to set up Manning's scoring pass to Cruz. New York iced the game when Stevie Brown returned one of two interceptions thrown by 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 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.
Manning finished 22 of 35 for 259 yards and two interceptions. Brees, who had never lost to the Giants and had eight TD passes and no picks in the last two games, finished 26 of 43 for 354 yards.
Giants 52, Saints 27
New Orleans 7 6 14 0 – 27
N.Y. Giants 14 7 14 17 – 52
NO–Mack 73 interception return (Hartley kick), 9:38.
NYG–Wilson 97 kickoff return (Tynes kick), 9:25.
NYG–Bennett 6 pass from Manning (Tynes kick), 4:19.
NO–FG Hartley 32, 9:46.
NO–FG Hartley 25, 1:57.
NYG–Hixon 5 pass from Manning (Tynes kick), :20.
NYG–Wilson 6 run (Tynes kick), 13:04.
NYG–Nicks 25 pass from Manning (Tynes kick), 8:13.
NO–Sproles 13 run (Hartley kick), 7:21.
NO–Sproles 9 pass from Brees (Hartley kick), 1:51.
NYG–Cruz 10 pass from Manning (Tynes kick), 14:20.
NYG–FG Tynes 39, 10:19.
NYG–Wilson 52 run (Tynes kick), 5:10.
First downs 22 24
Total Net Yards 487 394
Rushes-yards 24-142 27-135
Passing 345 259
Punt Returns 2-5 2-19
Kickoff Returns 8-149 6-287
Interceptions Ret. 2-85 2-91
Comp-Att-Int 26-43-2 22-35-2
Sacked-Yards Lost 1-9 0-0
Punts 4-50.5 3-38.7
Fumbles-Lost 2-2 0-0
Penalties-Yards 10-81 6-55
Time of Possession 30:18 29:42
Rushing: New Orleans, Ingram 13-68, Sproles 5-56, P.Thomas 5-19, Brees 1-(minus 1). N.Y. Giants, Wilson 13-100, Bradshaw 11-33, Hynoski 1-5, Manning 2-(minus 3).
Passing: New Orleans, Brees 26-43-2-354. N.Y. Giants, Manning 22-35-2-259.
Receiving: New Orleans, P.Thomas 7-57, Graham 5-56, Colston 4-61, Sproles 4-28, Morgan 2-106, Collins 2-9, Moore 1-26, Henderson 1-11. N.Y. Giants, Cruz 8-121, Bennett 5-32, Nicks 4-67, Hixon 3-30, Hynoski 2-9.
Missed Field Goals: N.Y. Giants, Tynes 36 (WL).