EAST RUTHERFORD – Well, at least the offense is alive. Less than a week after being shut out by the Patriots, the Giants first-team offense awoke and led Big Blue to a 27-5 win over Jacksonville at Giants Stadium.
"We were really running the ball well," Head Coach Jim Fassel said. "The run sets up everything. We're playing quick and that's a good thing. Our emphasis this week was to play quick, and I'm happy that's what we're doing. The other thing is our passing game; we seem to have our timing and rhythm."
With starting WR Ike Hilliard out of the lineup indefinitely, Joe Jurevicius has had a basically non-descript training camp. However, he exploded on the Jaguars secondary to the tune of seven catches, 68 yards and a four-yard TD – all coming in the first half when New York jumped out to a 20-0 lead.
QB Kerry Collins was efficient; completing eight-of-11 passes for 89 yards. Collins tossed a six-yard TD to FB Greg Comella for New York's opening TD of the game.
"We wanted to be sharp and play with some emotion and excitement, and I thought the first unit came out and really showed that," Collins said.
RB Ron Dayne received much more of a workload than he did in the first preseason game, and he responded. Dayne broke off a couple long runs en route to a 12-carry, 43-yard evening. He rumbled for 13 yards on his first two carries, more yards than he gained (11) all game against New England.
"I felt more comfortable and relaxed this week," Dayne said
Big Blue's top defense, playing without CB Jason Sehorn, suffocated the Jags' first-teamers, holding them to 60 total yards in the first half. MLB Micheal Barrow had a sack-and-a-half, while new starting SAM ‘backer Brandon Short delivered the hit of the game, when he came uncontested off the left side and drilled Jags backup QB Jamie Martin for a seven-yard loss.
"We performed as one tonight," Barrow said. "We came out focused and intense. They were a good challenge for us, but we answered the bell. We didn't wait for them to make the first move; we came out and attacked."
K Jaret Holmes also took a step forward as he drilled two field goals – from 45 and 30 – and put a couple kickoffs into the end zone. His opposition, John Markham, failed on his one kickoff, reaching only the 16-yard line.
Second-half highlights included an interception by Giants CB Kelly Herndon, a blocked punt for a safety by Jags LB Eric Westmoreland and a 44-yard TD connection between Giants QB Jesse Palmer and WR Jonathan Carter.
The Giants suffered three notable injuries in the game. WR Amani Toomer sprained his right ankle on the first play of the game and will probably be out at least a week. TE Howard Cross sprained his left knee and will be sidelined two weeks. DT Keith Hamilton injured his right quad and said he was fine.