The Jaguars should’ve provided the perfect tonic for the struggling Giants, but the frisky squad made life miserable for Big Blue in a shocking 25-24 decision Sunday. Josh Scobee’s 43-yard field goal with 28 seconds remaining gave the Jaguars (2-10) their first win since Oct. 19 and stamped the largest comeback win in franchise history. The Giants (3-9) were cruising to an easy victory off the strength of an impressive 21-0 first-half lead, but the second half showed why New York will be home for the playoffs once again. Here’s three main reasons why the Giants couldn’t keep it together down south Sunday.
Not sticking to plan
Eli Manning initially began the game as if the slump was out of sight and mind as he carved up the Jaguars’ secondary, going 15-for-19. But something happened in the locker room, as the second half was full of gaffes. Manning fumbled twice — one resulting in a recovered fumble in the end zone off a sack, and the other the game-sealer for the Jaguars. He finished an efficient 24-of-34 for 237 yards and a touchdown pass, but fair or not, all he will be remembered for is the way he gave away chances in the second half that led to Big Blue’s league-high seventh-straight setback.
Jennings breaks out
Rashad Jennings, the former Jaguar who was a career backup during his earlier years in Jacksonville (and later Oakland), did his best to show his former employer what they were missing. Jennings managed to tally game-highs in yards (91) and carries (26), including two touchdowns, but was mostly ignored by maligned offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo in the second half when he had only seven more carries. Both of Jennings’s scores displayed his underrated running power, but the Giants seemed to get away from power football in the second half. The 21-0 lead should’ve been all that the Giants would need, as Jennings’s hard-nosed running set the tone for Big Blue, but the second-half gameplan led the Giants into an avoidable bitter fight.
Bortles knockout blow
Manning’s opposite number, rookie Blake Bortles, had a rough go of things, especially in the first half — but it was Bortles’ second half that set him apart from his veteran counterpart. Bortles engineered a comeback despite being harassed and chased all game (sacked six times), and starting the game 8-for-17. He stayed poised and didn’t commit a turnover for the first time all season, finishing 21-for-35 for 194 yards and a touchdown. He also added 68 rushing yards on five carries.