MLB Clint Ingram looked like the intended receiver, as Eli Manning threw an early fourth-quarter pass right to him. Manning's second interception essentially ended their comeback from a 23-10 deficit. Rolling right, Manning didn't get nearly enough on a deep pass to wide-open WR Plaxico Burress late in the second quarter. FS Deon Grant intercepted it and returned it 24 yards to the Giants' 30. Manning's misfire on a second-and-three screen to Tiki Barber and his overthrow of Burress in the end zone on third-and-three forced the Giants to settle for Jay Feely's 40-yard FG on their game-opening drive. Bottom Line: Manning was about as bad as he has ever been.
Only three of Tiki Barber's 10 carries accounted for more than three yards, while only two of his 11 touches overall were good for first downs. Barber dropped a catchable screen pass late in the second quarter, and another early in the fourth quarter. The hole wasn't huge, but Ingram stuffed Brandon Jacobs on a third-and-one play from the Giants' 36 midway through the first quarter. Bottom Line: This was a rare poor performance by Barber.
WIDE RECEIVERS/TIGHT ENDS
WR Tim Carter's lack of awareness allowed LCB Scott Starks to reach in with his left hand and poke the ball away. With the Giants down 23-10 and 4:29 to play, Carter's fumble was recovered by SS Gerald Sensabaugh at Jacksonville's 7. WR Plaxico Burress faked outside and juked RCB Brian Williams at Jacksonville's 25, and side-stepped Sensabaugh 15 yards later en route to a 25-yard TD reception that drew the Giants within three (13-10) with 6:32 left in the third quarter. Bottom Line: Amani Toomer is missed more with each passing week.
LDE Bobby McCray blew by RT Kareem McKenzie for a costly 8-yard sack of Manning early in the fourth quarter. LT Bob Whitfield missed a block on McCray, which enabled McCray to slip inside and drop Barber for a three-yard loss. The loss of yardage backed the Giants into a third-and-18 situation from their own 5 late in the second quarter. McKenzie committed a false start on the previous play. Bottom Line: Luke Petitgout's absence was noticeable when they ran and passed.
DT Fred Robbins provided pressure up the middle on a third-and-10 play late in the first quarter, forcing QB David Garrard to underthrow WR Ernest Wilford, who was open deep down the sideline. But other than Robbins, not a single defensive lineman so much as pressured Garrard the entire game. Bottom Line: Strahan and Umenyiora couldn't come back soon enough.
RG Chris Naeole smothered MLB Antonio Pierce, blowing open a huge hole for Maurice Jones-Drew, whose 3-yard TD helped put Jacksonville ahead 23-10 with 12:40 to play. SLB Reggie Torbor had his arms wrapped around Garrard's waist, which should've amounted to a 10-yard sack late in the third quarter. Garrard slipped from Torbor's grasp, though, and ran for 17 yards, a 27-yard swing that helped the Jaguars go up 16-10 seven plays later. Bottom Line: They were average at best.
LCB Corey Webster slipped about 10 yards off the line of scrimmage, a fall that enabled wide-open WR Matt Jones to catch a pass across the middle and streak down Jacksonville's sideline. The 49-yard gain got the Jaguars to the Giants' 3 and immediately preceded their fourth-quarter TD. SS Gibril Wilson prevented the Giants from going down 17-3 late in the first half, when he poked the ball away from Fred Taylor four yards before Taylor reached the end zone. Pierce recovered the ball in the end zone. Bottom Line: The Jones catch cost them dearly.
Derrick Ward returned one kickoff 36 yards, but averaged only 14.3 yards on three other returns, not exactly an improvement over Chad Morton. The coverage units were sound, limiting Jacksonville to 6.8 yards per punt return and 21.7 yards per kick return. Jeff Feagles boomed a 50-yard punt and dropped a 36-yarder inside Jacksonville's 20, but was inconsistent in good conditions. Bottom Line: They need to find a consistent kick returner.
Tom Coughlin and offensive coordinator John Hufnagel must find a way to get TE Jeremy Shockey, who caught five of his seven passes in the second half, involved earlier. This team looked flat on the offensive side of the ball, especially early. Coughlin won two replay challenges, though, which earned the Giants a third challenge. Bottom Line: This was a horrible homecoming for Coughlin.
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