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Giants Muff Winnable Game Against Coughlin’s Aggravating Jagoffs


New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley

New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley

Here’s my review and analysis of the new look New York Giants’ 20-15 loss to Tom Coughlin’s Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 1 of the 2018 NFL season.

The Giants defense didn’t look great in the first half. On Twitter, the Tweeters were tweeting about how the Jags could move at will, yet the score was only 13-6 at half. The Giants clamped down in the second half forcing something like 6 straight punts.

The BOAT Blake Bortles didn’t really set sail. He completed less than half of his passes and averaged a little more than 5 yards per attempt. Sure, he was without his top wideout Marquis Lee and he lost his top RB Leonard Fournette but he sure as hell wasn’t beating the Giants, especially when under duress.

We forced a lot of third downs but couldn’t get off the field. The long-ass Bortles run that got Jacksonville out of their end of the field to midfield was a kung fu chop to the mushroom top.

Janoris Jenkins had himself a day. Led the team in tackles and had a pick. After seeing Bortles connect on the vertical / stop route for a 31-yard gain, I thought we hadn’t learned from the Browns preseason game. But sho’ ’nuff, JackRabbit finally got his head around and made a spectacular snatch. Reeeeeaaaaaallly sucks he couldn’t come away with that second interception in Giants territory. That was at least a six point swing.

I’m still iffy on Eli Apple. For the most part, he’s got good coverage but never turns for the ball. So he either gets flagged for DPI or he doesn’t stop with the receiver to defend the back shoulder.

Lot of complaints about the Giants pass rush. We desperately missed Olivier Vernon. Only 1 sack. There were a few instances where we got pressure with secondary blitzes but it wasn’t the feeding frenzy many envisioned when Bettcher signed.

Aldrick Rosas was solid. It’ll be a while before he regains my trust. Meanwhile, free agent acquisition Riley Dixon had a helluva day punting. Averaged 43.4 and had a long of 59. Definitely helped sway field possession.

Our return game needs an extreme makeover. Kaelin Clay refusing to fair catch, 3 returns for 4 yards then fumbling a punt to end the game. Cody Latimer getting only 15 yards on his only kickoff return.

Beckham quietly caught 11 passes for 111 yards and could’ve had two touchdowns if Eli doesn’t overthrow him. I’m still not a fan of Beckham losing yards to gain yards but I guess you must have faith one of those is gonna work and he’ll take it to the penthouse.

Sterling Shepard continues to be Mr. Reliable while Evan Engram is Mr. Inconsistent. Shep has become Eli’s security blanket when Manning’s not in full-on dump-off, check-down mode. Engram, however, shows jaws-dropping athleticism one play than an inexcusable drop the next.

Saquon Barkley is better than advertised. Dude shouldn’t have a head after that ghastly face mask penalty and he pressed on like a Universal Soldier. I know he only averaged like 2 yards per carry before the long touchdown run but that long TD is his signature move. He’s like a bigger, stronger and dare I say faster version of Barry Sanders.

Barry would forego a hole here (3 yard gain?) and a hole there (4 yard gain?) for the sake of hitting a home run and it was downright John Maddening. Make no mistake, this offensive line is awful at opening up holes but the few they did Barkley would shimmy, shake, juke, try to bounce outside and get swarmed. With his muscle, you’re dying for him to just point his robust ass due north and plow.

Shurmur made some questionable decisions but none of them more head-scratching than calling Barkley’s number on the 2-point conversion. My man just ran 68 yards and you want him to power it in with all eyes on him? I know it looks like he should be wearing a cape, but the horse has limits.

Eli Eli Eli. I know he started off the game with something like 11 consecutive completions and he didn’t have a ton of time to throw and he looked way more evasive than usual. But there were a handful of throws that could’ve been game-changers. Hate to nitpick but those misfires were killers.

First was with the Giants moving from right to left on your TV — the deep shot in which Beckham ran past Jalen Ramsey in zone coverage and the safety (Church?) couldn’t get over. Manning overshot OBJ by a couple yards.

Second was moving left to right — bad snap from new center Jon Halapaio and pressure from Ereck Flowers’ side (shocker!) so Eli had to find the handle quick and release quicker. Beckham had beaten Ramsey with no one over top but again out of his reach.

Third was the underthrow to Shepard on fourth down with under 2 minutes in regulation. Shep had his man beat thanks to a clean rub by Beckham. Nobody over the top. But Eli felt pressure and rushed the toss. He puts that in the right place, it’s either 6 or the Giants have four cracks at 6 from inside the 10.

I get it. Jacksonville has the best defense in the league. Tom Coughlin has assembled an absolute unit. He’d be laughing his disciplined dong off if he knew how to laugh. It’s just infuriating to know that he couldn’t wield his personnel power in the draft or free agency with the Giants. Maybe 2015 ends differently with a legit defense.

If the Giants are really serious about winning big games against playoff-caliber teams they need to find a right tackle. Ereck Flowers is a massive liability. From the holding penalty near the end zone that almost gave JAX 2 points to the trip on the first drive to the holding penalty that negated a big gain to Engram to getting bull-rushed into oblivion on obvious passing downs.

There are a lot of ifs. If Eli gets time and hits the deep balls like we know he can, the Giants will win. If the defense can continue its success from the second half, the Giants will win. If Evan Engram can avoid drops, if Flowers can fix his footwork. Too many ifs to put a stamp on a playoff berth.

This game gave me flashbacks of both the 2016 and 2017 seasons. The sturdy defensive effort and one big play from the offense resembled 2016. The Myles Jack int return for a touchdown off a deflection was so very 2017. For some reason, I have confidence the squad will work out the kinks and get back to — and hopefully get better than — the 2016 team. But I also think this loss will come back to haunt us.

Next up is the Sunday night game against the Cowboys, who are currently losing 10-0 to the Panthers at the half. Not sure why but I’m not one bit afraid of Dallas. Witten’s gone, Dez is gone (not that he made a difference), and the Giants will be sour knowing they let one slip away. As ugly as today was, coming within 36 yards of beating last year’s AFC champs has me sportin’ beer goggles.

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