By Paul Dottino
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EAST RUTHERFORD – A wise man once said that an ugly win is better than any kind of loss.
The Giants, undermanned by a plethora of injuries, learned how much truth is contained in that statement during their 24-20 come-from-behind victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Eli Manning directed fourth-quarter touchdown drives of 88 and 69 yards, capping them with scoring strikes to Mario Manningham and Kevin Boss. The defense, which claimed to have been inspired by Justin Tuck’s halftime comments, allowed just 92 yards in the second half and closed out the Jaguars’ final drive with three consecutive sacks.
Not only did this game mark the Giants’ first fourth-quarter comeback win of the season, it also was the first time they got through a game without committing any turnovers – the Jags had two. So you can consider this the latest piece of evidence that Giants coach Tom Coughlin may present to his players about how turnovers sometimes turn out to be the most significant factor in determining the outcome. Now it’s time for our game review:
Offense-TE Kevin Boss. This is a very unique situation because he was involved in several significant plays, both good and bad. We’ll give him a game ball for the good ones and save the negative plays for later in this column. He caught three passes and each was significant, capped by the winning 32-yard TD pass with 3:15 to play. Boss broke off his route and found an opening in the Jags’ zone along the left side, caught the ball and broke through Courtney Greene’s attempted tackle on his way into the end zone. Boss also made two grabs on the tying touchdown drive – a 17-yard fingertip stab at the Giants’ 29 to open the possession near the close of the third quarter and a 25-yard reception on the first play of the fourth.
Defense-CB Terrell Thomas. He made two of the most significant defensive plays in the game, both involving turnovers. He finished off the Jags by participating in a zone pressure from the left side of the defense with 1:34 to play – Thomas raced into the backfield and clocked QB David Garrard, who coughed up the ball at the Jaguars’ 48 and it was recovered by Antrel Rolle to seal the game. Thomas also was the beneficiary of a tipped ball on the first snap of the third quarter, intercepting the pass off the hands of WR Mike Sims-Walker at the Jacksonville 39 – and it led to a field goal that cut the Giants’ deficit to 17-9. We’ll allow these two plays to overshadow Thomas’ dropped interception midway into the third quarter, although his fellow defensive backs surely will fine him for missing out on this opportunity.
Special teams-DB Michael Coe. He was activated off the practice squad last week and immediately proved his value on the coverage units, coming up with two solo tackles and an assist. He made his presence felt after Matt Dodge’s first-quarter punt, drilling Mike Thomas as soon as he caught the kick at the Jacksonville 11. In addition, LB Clint Sintim made forceful 1-on-1 stops on the Jags’ two third-quarter kickoff returns.
Offense-TE Kevin Boss. We told you that this was a rare call, but Boss will get to carry a game ball while running his wind sprints. You disagree? Well, consider the second of his two penalties – this one a hold – wiped out Mario Manningham’s 8-yard TD catch and the offense had to settle for a second-quarter field goal. Boss also had a false start in the first quarter. Midway through the third quarter, Boss also was charged with the offense’s only drop of the game and it came inside the Giants’ 15.
Defense-CB Aaron Ross. Ok, so the guy has been battling plantar fasciitis. We’ll let him take a rain check on his sprints until after the season. And we realize this is a rough call because the entire front seven did a horrible job of holding their run fits against the Jags in the first half, allowing 145 yards on the ground. But we’re going to whistle Ross because of his most untimely third-down penalty on the Jags’ final drive. With 1:56 left, QB David Garrard fired an incomplete pass on third-and-10 from the Giants’ 34, but Ross was flagged for holding, creating an automatic first down at the Giants’ 29. Ross’ teammates bailed him out with three consecutive sacks – the final one by Thomas.
Special teams-LB Chase Blackburn. This was a very good day for the coverage teams but, since he’s a co-captain and has set a high bar, so we’re going be hard on him. Blackburn missed a clean shot at KOR Deji Karim after Boss’ TD put the Giants up with nearly 3 minutes to play, but it only cost five yards as Deon Grant and Duke Calhoun stopped him at the Jags’ 27. After the Giants’ first-quarter field goal, Blackburn was the first man downfield but was unable to shed his block to make a stop on Karim.
- Manning Drives Giants To 24-20 Win Over Jaguars (newyork.cbslocal.com)