If you hold the ball for 34 minutes and outproduce your opponent in yards, first downs and almost every category that matters, you should win the game. The Giants did all those things in Jacksonville Sunday, but lost. After scoring 21 first half points, they managed just three against the Jaguars in the second half, arguably the worst team in the NFL entering Week 13.
In the third and fourth quarters, the Giants had eight possessions: one resulted in a FG and another ended on a missed FG. The other six possessions ended with the Giants punting three times and fumbling three times. They lost all three fumbles, two went for Jacksonville TDs. After racking up 254 yards in the first half, the Giants could only muster 75 in the second, prompting head coach Tom Coughlin to say after the game they would have been better off just kneeling on ball instead of trying to advance it. Yes, it has come to that.
Overall Grade: F
QB: Eli had a terrific first half. He looked sharp (15/19, 177 yds and a TD, 0 sacks) and it appeared the Giants would be on their way to an easy win. But then the line broke down, RB Rashad Jennings left with an ankle injury and the wheels came flying off the wagon. He went 9/15 for 70 yards in the second half, got sacked four times and lost two fumbles, one which was fallen on in the end zone for Jacksonville TD.
For the first time in years, I'm going to absolve Eli from all wrongdoing. This loss was not his fault. The fumbles were due to poor protection. His passing was crisp and he was on point, until he started to get heavy pressure in the second half.
RB: This is an easy one. No Rashad Jennings, no running game. Once he went out of the game, the Giants running game disappeared. In a game where they needed to run the ball to preserve a lead, they couldn't. Rookie Andre Williams could not pick up the slack. He rushed eight times for 21 yards with a long of eleven. That means he ran seven times for ten yards on his other carries. Unacceptable.
Jennings had a great day before getting injured (91 yards rushing, 2 TDs) but Williams was simply ineffective as his replacement. You can point to the chaos on the line, but IMO he just hasn't taken his game to the next level yet and the Giants need him to do that soon.
TE: Larry Donnell re-emerged with five catches for 55 yards but his fumble at midfield that was run in for a TD killed a possible scoring drive. Donnell continues to show flashes of becoming a force, but his game is far from complete. His ball security issues are a concern and Coughlin will surely cut down his snaps gong forward in favor of Adrien Robinson and Daniel Fells.
Again, he can be an effective weapon in the passing game, but the mistakes - the fumbles, poor blocking and inability to reel in passes at times - are dragging him down.
WR: The unit has become Odell Beckham Jr and some other guys. He caught seven of his eight targets for 90 yards. Rueben Randle, who was benched for the first quarter (it is believed he had a lateness during the week) had four catches for 52 yards. Preston Parker and Kevin Ogletree has two receptions apiece.
The first half was a productive one, but the pass protection caused the Giants to reel everyone in during the second half. Not their fault.
OL: Injuries had the line in flux going into the game and then during the game, caused them to shuffle around even further. As a result, they got pushed around in the trenches and the protection broke down big time in the second half. The line has been getting leakier as the season has drawn on no matter who has been on the field. After only surrendering seven sacks over the first five games (in which they went 3-2), the Giants have allowed 21 sacks over the last seven, all losses. RT Geoff Schwartz left the game after 14 plays and was replaced by James Brewer, who has been inactive for most of the season, and then by John Jerry after Brewer went down in the fourth quarter with a concussion.
A tale of two halves. They played well enough to get by in the first, but were atrocious in the second. You can point to the injuries, but these guys are pros (we think) and should have fared better.