Jaguars 20 – Giants 15
Frustrating, man. A game truly there for the taking and an all too familiar result. I was at the game so wasn’t able to hear the broadcast from commentators, go through Twitter at an alarming rate, or roll my DVR back to review key plays but lets unpack this Giants loss, shall we?
Eli missing Odell, twice, for touchdowns hurt my soul. The first one, a post route Odell ran, was inexcusable . OBJ was able to split the Cover 2 coverage and break free towards the back of the end zone and Eli had sufficient time to connect with #13. The second was a crossing route in the end zone, with Odell, that Eli had to get rid of quick because of the pressure brought by the Jags. What hurt the most, other than being wide open, was that Odell was covered by a safety who had no business covering him.
Can’t talk about missed opportunities and not bring up Sterling Shepard’s first down drop with 2:38 remaining was a killer. The Jags were vulnerable with the Giants and Eli marching in a rhythm. That play would’ve resulted in another first down, the ball inside Jacksonville’s 30, and incredible momentum for the Giants and pressure for the Jags.
Fresh off a newly signed highest paid WR in the game contract, Odell came back and was Odell. 11 catches for 111 yards in his return to game action at MetLife was really great to see. And to put those numbers up against a top flight secondary, led by Jalen Ramsey and AJ Buoye, made the feat even more impressive.
Tested early and frequently, the much maligned Apple had a solid afternoon. 2 pass break ups and no big plays to speak of, Eli took a big step forward in finding a way back into the Giants fans good graces.
James Bettcher and the Defense
Make no mistake, this game was not on the defense. They got stops when they needed to, made big plays in big moments, got off the field when they needed to, and gave the offense a chance to win this game. The injury to Leonard Fournette was also a factor in the defense being able to get key stops.
I know, I know. How can I give such a grade when this happened:
— New York Giants (@Giants) September 9, 2018
Well, outside of that electrifying run, Saquon was a mere 17 for 38 on runs. He wasn’t much of a factor in the passing game (2-22), either, which was a little disappointing. The kid is a stud and the Jags front seven is nails, moving forward I’d just like to see brilliance throughout the game over one magical moment.
Overall, I liked what I saw from #10 today. I thought Head Coach Pat Shurmur game planned around the offense’s strengths and put Eli in good situations. As mentioned above, missing Odell on two sure-fire touchdowns was brutal, so was the pick six to Myles Jack and having no touchdowns, in general, is not what you want out of the Big Blue legend. Drops and poor offensive line play were also enormous factors in Eli having a less than stellar day.
Can you please for the love of god hold onto the ball?! I counted at least three separate balls Eli put on EE that NEED to be caught. Plain and simple. Engram needs to be better.
Watching him today actually felt like intentional sabotage. How many opportunities is this guy going to receive? There has to be someone better than this clown at right tackle! Two penalties on the first drive of the season, being chiefly responsible for the Eli/Jack pick six when he refused to put his hands on a Jags defender, poor play the entire game and being the only O-Lineman to not be accountable and speak to the media after the game – it is officially time to cut ties with this loser.
For the life of me I cannot understand why this dude fielded the final punt of the game. Of course he muffs it and gift wraps the game to Jacksonville. My move would’ve been to send Odell out there and force the Jags to do one of the following: kick the ball out of bounds or sky the punt (which equates to a shorter punt). Even if Odell was out there strictly as a decoy, it was worth it to put the game in his hands and not in Kaelin “soon to be ex-Giant” Clay’s.
My fear became realized almost instantaneously when Flowers committed the tripping penalty. I knew the rest of the game was going to be a true struggle as the Jags front seven eviscerated the O-Line. The Giants are on their way to having a top 10 offense but it will take time to scheme around said weakness. I came away impressed with Bettcher’s defense without OV and was glad there was some sort normalcy with time of possession.
Thank goodness Dallas lost, as well. Next week already has “must-win” connotations and that my friends is New York Giants football!