For the third week in a row, the Giants overturned a 4th quarter deficit to find a way to win and improve their record to 6-1. Let’s take a look at five things that stood out this week:
Coming of Age
Although Saquon Barkley finished yesterday’s game with 110 yards rushing, he made 40 of those yards in the clock-churning final offensive drive that ended in a field goal. For the rest of the game, the Giants’ offensive fortunes rested on one man’s shoulders: Daniel Jones.
Multiple times this season, Jones has shown the grit, determination, decision-making, and game management that many Giants fans have been waiting to see since he stepped into Eli Manning’s shoes, and it’s not too farfetched to say that this season Jones looks very much like Manning in his breakout season.
Yesterday, Jones looked the part in both the passing game and the rushing game. Despite six drops from his wide receivers, he completed 19 passes from 30 passing attempts for 202 yards and a touchdown and repeatedly took advantage of open space as he ran for a career high of 107 yards and a touchdown, becoming the first Giants quarterback to rush for over 100 yards in 76 years
Close Out the Game!
One concerning part of the game that hopefully isn’t the start of a trend was the inability to close out the game due to lapses in concentration. On both offence and defense, we made avoidable mistakes that would have either settled the game or at least made it much more comfortable than it was.
The first one was a bizarre play call from our offence on 3rd down that saw Barkley run out towards the side-line. In what should have been an opportunity to run the clock down to 25 seconds before making a field goal attempt, Barkley was pushed out of bounds, which stopped the clock at 1:07, plenty of time for the Jaguars to attempt a comeback
The refs (more on them later), intent on driving the heart rate of Giants fans through the roof, found two questionable calls that negated two huge plays from the defence and that led to the Jags being able to extend their drive toward the crazy final play of the game.
The Final Play(s)
In what felt like the longest minute and four seconds ever, it all came down to one last set of downs.
After a long completion on 4th down, coupled with a roughing the passer call, the Jags quarterback, Trevor Lawrence, took his position on the Giants’ 17-yard line and, with sixteen seconds on the clock, had ample time to break Giants fans’ hearts. His first throw thrown towards Zay Jones was broken up by Adoree Jackson, and his second sailed over Marvin Jones’ head.
With seven seconds left, it all came down to one play, and it almost paid dividends. Lawrence, with an empty backfield, took the ball and almost immediately threw a dart to Christian Kirk. Kirk secured the ball in the air and seemed destined to fall into the endzone before Fabian Moreau, who was having another outstanding game, stopped him dead on the one-yard line. Xavier McKinney and Julian Love both smothered Kirk to keep him out of the endzone as time expired.
Come On Ref!
In what seems to be a weekly occurrence in the NFL, the referees decided that they wanted to be a bigger part of the action, and it was the Giants’ turn to see some questionable calls and no calls both for and against them.
Mistakes were rife throughout the game, but nothing highlighted how inconsistent the officiating crew were more than a pair of hits on the quarterbacks that ended up yielding differing results. In one drive, Daniel Jones, albeit awkwardly slid down and was clearly hit late by the Jags’ Cisco; no flag. Yet earlier in the half, Dexter Lawrence slightly pulled on Trevor Lawrence’s jersey, causing him to stumble to his hands and knees; flag thrown.
As previously mentioned, there were also questionable calls in the Jags’ final drive, but the worst of the day was the horrendous face mask and eye poke on Daniel Bellinger that was not deemed worthy of a flag despite Bellinger having to leave the game on the cart
Beyond a Joke
I feel like this point has been copied and pasted from week to week, but yet again, in what seems to be the norm for the Giants, the injuries are piling up again.
In the first half alone, we had offensive linemen Evan Neal and Ben Bredeson and tight end Daniel Bellinger leave the game and not return, whilst in the second half, Adoree Jackson briefly left the game for a concussion check that came back negative.
As mentioned in my previous point, Bellinger had his eye poked, which ended with the rookie heading to the nearest medical facility. After the game, it was revealed that he would have to visit an ophthalmologist and would likely need surgery. Luckily, both Neal and Bredeson seem to have avoided season-ending injuries, but both are being evaluated for MCL sprains that will keep them out for a few weeks at the very least.