Nov 282010
 
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Giants Come From Behind to Save Season: It wasn’t pretty. But the Giants and their fans will take it. The Giants scored 15 fourth-quarter points to come from behind and defeat the Jacksonville Jaguars 24-20 earlier today at New Meadowlands Stadium. The Giants improved their record to 7-4 with five games left to play.

The Giants were without their two starting wide receivers and offensive linemen Shawn Andrews, David Diehl, and Shaun O’Hara.

The Giants trailed 17-6 at halftime as the Giants’ offense had trouble scoring touchdowns in the red zone and the defense had problems stopping the Jaguars’ running game. The Giants were 0-of-3 in red zone opportunities, settling for short field goals on all three occasions, including twice in the first half. Jacksonville rushed for 145 first-half yards, and finished the game with 207 yards rushing and 26 first downs. Jacksonville ran 73 offensive plays to the Giants’ 50. The Jaguars also dominated time of possession, holding the football for over 35 minutes while the Giants had it for less than 25 minutes. Jacksonville was 10-of-16 (63 percent) on their third-down conversion attempts.

But the Giants, who entered the game with a League-leading 30 turnovers, did not turn the football over. There were no interceptions and no fumbles by the Giants.

Not counting the Giants’ final drive in the first half where they received the ball with only 19 seconds left before intermission, the Giants only had the ball three times in the first half. Their first drive was an 11-play 75-yard effort that stalled when HB Ahmad Bradshaw was stuffed for a 2-yard loss on 3rd-and-2 from the Jaguars’ 3-yard line. New York settled for a 22-yard field goal by PK Lawrence Tynes.

The Giants went three-and-out on their second possession. On their third possession, the Giants drove the ball 64 yards in seven plays, but again were forced to settle for a short field goal. After a 27-yard run by Bradshaw and a 29-yard reception by H-Back Travis Beckum, QB Eli Manning hit WR Mario Manningham for what looked to be a 9-yard touchdown pass. But the touchdown was erased by an offensive holding penalty on TE Kevin Boss. The closest the Giants could get was the Jacksonville 5-yard line, and Tynes kicked a 29-yard field goal.

Jacksonville also only had the ball three times in the first half. But they scored on all three possessions. After the Giants went up 3-0, the Jaguars drove 75 yards in nine plays to take a 7-3 advantage. Sixty-four of those yards were on the ground. The Jaguars then went up 10-3 on their second offensive possession as they drove 85 yards in 15 plays. After the Giants cut the lead to 10-6, the Jaguars then drove 71 yards in 13 plays to score their second touchdown, a 5-yard scramble by QB David Garrard for a touchdown on 3rd-and-goal.

The Jaguars led 17-6 at halftime.

The Jaguars received the football to start the second half and the Giants immediately got the ball back as Garrard was intercepted by CB Terrell Thomas at the Jaguars’ 39-yard line on Jacksonville’s first offensive play of the half. The Giants managed to drive to the 9-yard line, but could not gain another yard on three subsequent plays and settled for a 28-yard field goal by Tynes. Jaguars 17 – Giants 9.

The Jaguars gained two first downs on their second possession of the second half, and then were forced to punt. The Giants could do nothing on their second possession and went three-and-out. The Jaguars continued to win the battle of field position on their third possession by gaining two more first downs before punting near the end of the third quarter.

Then came the comeback.

Starting at their own 12-yard line, the Giants drove 88 yards in five plays to score their first touchdown of the game. Manning hit Boss for 17 yards. HB Brandon Jacobs gained 17 yards. Manning to Boss for 25. Jacobs up the middle for three yards. And then Manning to Manningham for 26 yards and the touchdown. Bradshaw scored on the two-point conversion attempt and the game was tied 17-17 early in the fourth quarter.

But the Jaguars immediately responded with a 10-play, 42-yard drive that set up a successful 42-yard field goal attempt. Jaguars 20 – Giants 17.

New York went three-and-out, and then so did Jacksonville. With less than six minutes to go in the game, the Giants trailed by a field goal. The Giants started the game-winning drive at their own 31-yard line. Jacobs gained one yard. Manning found Manningham for 18. Jacobs then ran up the middle for 18 yards. After an incomplete pass and a no-gain run by Bradshaw, Manning hit Boss for a 32-yard touchdown on 3rd-and-10. Giants 24 – Jaguars 20.

However, the win was not yet secure. The Jaguars drove from their 27-yard line to the Giants’ 29-yard line with just under two minutes to play. But three straight sacks by the Giants’ defense ended the threat and the game. First DE Justin Tuck and S Antrel Rolle split a sack on 1st-and-10 from the 29-yard line. On 2nd-and-21, DE Jason Pierre-Paul sacked Garrard and forced a fumble that the quarterback recovered. On 3rd-and-25, Thomas sacked Garrard and forced a fumble that Rolle recovered. Game over.

“I give Justin Tuck a lot of credit, he gave a halftime speech for the ages,” said DT Barry Cofield. “I was teary-eyed running back on the field. I was just ready to get back out there. I can’t repeat it, but a lot of it was about we have to protect our house. You don’t let a team come in here and run the ball like that. This was, in the first half, was against everything we’ve worked for as a Giants defense. The second half was more like it.”

Highlights of the game are available at NFL.com.

Post-Game Notes: Inactive for the Giants were WR Steve Smith (pectoral), WR Hakeem Nicks (leg), WR Devin Thomas, OC Shaun O’Hara (foot), OL David Diehl (hip/hamstring), OL Shawn Andrews (back), LB Phillip Dillard, and CB/Returner Will Blackmon (chest).

The Giants broke a 12-game losing streak in games in which they trailed after three quarters.

The Giants did not score a first-half touchdown for the third consecutive game, the first time that has happened since 2004.

The Jaguars are the fourth Giants opponent this season to score a touchdown on its first offensive possession.

The Giants did not allow a second-half touchdown for the third time this season.

The Giants did not allow a sack for the fourth consecutive game, their longest such streak since 1972, when they also played four games in a row without allowing a sack.

The Giants did not have a turnover for the first time since December 21, 2009 at Washington.

This was the 15th time QB Eli Manning has led the Giants back from a fourth-quarter deficit to win a game (13 regular season, two postseason).

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Eric Kennedy

Founder and owner of BigBlueInteractive.com, which is now entering its 20th season. Follow Eric on Twitter @BigBlueInteract.

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