A trip to Jacksonville to face the 1-10 Jaguars appeared to be just what the Giants needed to end their losing streak. Big Blue took a 21-3 into halftime, but Jacksonville battled back thanks to some key Giants turnovers and a last minute field goal by Josh Scobee. Instead of winning a game for the first time since the first week of October, New York fell to the Jaguars 25-24 and is now 3-9 for the season.
With every game Kennard plays, it becomes more and more clear that he’s a big piece of New York’s defensive future. Perry Fewell used blitzes to take advantage of the rookie’s athleticism on Sunday, and Kennard responded with two sacks of Blake Bortles. As a team, the Giants sacked the Jacksonville quarterback seven times and held him to 5.5 yards per pass attempt.
Although Jennings wasn’t a key part of the passing game like he was against Dallas in Week 12, the veteran ran hard against the Jags. On 26 carries, he gained 91 yards and scored a pair of touchdowns. While Jennings finding paydirt twice in the same game is a great sign for the Giants, he could also haved ended up in the “Jeers” section for failing to pick up an Eli Manning fumble in the third quarter. Instead of falling on the ball in the end zone for a safety, Jennings tried to scoop it up and carry it out. That only resulted in Jacksonville’s J.T. Thomas pouncing on the ball for a Jaguars touchdown.
New York’s starting tight end has only had to carry the ball 51 times this season, so it’s pretty remarkable that he has fumbled on four of those occasions. After losing the handle twice in Dallas during a Week 8 loss, Donnell went four games without a fumble. However, the problem emerged again on Sunday when he caught a short pass in the fourth quarter. Donnell was upended by Aaron Colvin and lost the ball in midair, allowing Colvin to scoop it up and dash to the end zone for Jacksonville’s first lead of the afternoon.
The Giants have struggled against the zone-read option this season, and Sunday was no exception even with a pocket passer like Bortles under center. The rookie ran for 68 yards, none of which were more crucial than the 20 he picked up to get into field goal range on Jacksonville’s final drive. Facing a 2nd-and-15 from the New York 45-yard line, Bortles faked the hand-off to Jordan Todman and watched Pierre-Paul follow the tailback into the middle of the line. The space vacated by Pierre-Paul allowed Bortles to run all the way to the New York 25-yard line. The veteran defensive end has got to be more disciplined in spots like that for the Giants to hope to stop anyone going forward.
Brown has been quite reliable for the Giants so far in 2014, but he picked a bad spot to miss a field goal for the first time all season. Midway through the third quarter, the veteran kicker had a chance to extend New York’s lead from 11 to 14 points, but he curled the ball around the upright on a 43-yard try. The miss allowed the Jaguars to take the lead rather than tie the game when they scored their next two touchdowns.