Giants 24, Jaguars 20
The Jets aren't the only team in town capable of comebacks.
The Giants looked ordinary for the first three quarters yet found a way to gut out a 24-20 win over Jacksonville when Eli Manning found Kevin Boss for a 32-yard touchdown with 3:15 remaining.
Both teams traded scores in the final quarter, including Manning to Mario Manningham for a 26-yard touchdown early in the fourth. Ahmad Bradshaw punched in the two-point conversion to tie it at 17, capping a five-play, 88-yard drive. The Jaguars [6-5] responded on the ensuing possession with a methodic 10-play, 42-yard drive that was capped by a Josh Scobee 42-yard field goal. Those were the final points for a Jaguars team that netted 17 in the first half, as the Giants’ defense clamped down when it mattered most.
The Giants allowed Maurice Jones-Drew to record his fourth-consecutive 100-yard rushing game and gave up 207 total yards rushing to the Jags. But it was the Giants pass rush that stymied a late Jaguars comeback attempt that finally sealed the win.
Cornerback Terrell Thomas was one of the stars down the stretch as he registered a sack and strip of quarterback David Garrard with 1:25 remaining. Thomas, who recorded an interception, was relieved to get the ugly win.
“We woke up,” Thomas said of the clinching stop. “We know the offense is banged up, so we had to make up for that. We didn’t have a great practice week but we were hungry to get the win.”
Head coach Tom Coughlin agreed, saying that the real keys were the adjustments his team made at the half, as New York only allowed three points in the second half.
“We found a way to win and my hat’s off to the coaches and players,” said Coughlin. “We made a few adjustments in the locker room because they ran the ball great. David Garrard played a heck of a game but we found a way to win it.”
Although he’ll certainly take the win, Coughlin said he’d be remiss if he didn’t mention how much more physical the Jags were on both sides of the ball, especially in the first half.
“Our primary thing was to win the physical battle and we didn’t do that, especially in the first half,” Coughlin said. “I wouldn’t say surprised [at Jacksonville’s success on the ground] but disappointed is a good word to use.”
Coughlin brightened a bit when discussing the eventual game-winning score, though, showing appreciation for Boss, who was needed more than ever due to the rash of injuries to Big Blue receivers.
“It was a big play from a guy that we needed to get a big play from,” Coughlin said.
New York will need more heroics from unlikely players on offense if they plan to weather the rash of injuries. The receiving corps was thought to be one of the strengths of this team but without Smith and Nicks, Big Blue’s wideouts severely lacked cohesion with Manning. Outside of Manningham’s three catches for 61 yards and a touchdown, no Giant receiver separated himself. Recently re-signed Derek Hagan was the only other wideout to get into the books with a measly three catches for 21 yards. It could be a sign of things to come if the remaining Giant receivers can’t pick up the slack until Smith and Nicks return within the next couple of weeks.
What went right ...
1 Who’s the Boss — Eli Manning found Kevin Boss for a 32-yard, game-winning touchdown with 3:15 remaining. The passing game was anemic for most of the game, but it was the oft-forgotten Boss who stepped up for Big Blue, which was playing without Hakeem Nicks and Steve Smith. The tight end took a 6-yard hitch over the middle, broke a tackle and raced to the pylon. “It was a big play from a guy that we needed to get a big play from,” head coach Tom Coughlin said.
2 Turning over a new leaf — The Giants were down early but it wasn’t because of turnovers — they went without one for the first time all season. The usual culprits, Eli Manning and Ahmad Bradshaw, protected the football and had efficient afternoons. “We kind of said it would be a game [that] if we had patience and took the game to the fourth quarter, we had to find a way to win,”?Manning said. “Sure enough, that was exactly what happened.”
3 Better late than never — The Giants recorded three straight sacks on the Jags’ final three plays. Terrell Thomas stripped David Garrard and Antrel Rolle recovered the fumble on the Jags’ 39-yard line with 1:25 left to seal it.
What went wrong ...
1 First half to forget — The Jags jumped out to a 17-6 halftime lead by scoring on three straight drives of 70-plus yards to start the game.
2 Run over — The Giants couldn’t bottle up MJD. The Jags gashed the NFL’s fifth-best rushing D for 207 yards.
3 Zoned out — The loss of Hakeem Nicks really hurt in the red zone, where the Giants went 0-for-3.
Giants 24, Jaguars 20
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