With the Giants playing minus the services of Olivier Vernon - decidedly their best defensive player - they hold Jacksonville to 13 offensive points.
Leonard Fournette was having his way early, rushing nine times for 41-yards. But a cranky hamstring takes him out of action. T.J. Yeldon then steps in with 51 yards on 14 carries. Meanwhile, Blake Bortles only passes for (18/33) 176 yards, an INT, and a touchdown, but scrambles twice for 42 yards. All told the Jaguars gained 137 yards on the ground.
But then, the Jaguars aren't exactly known for offense.
On the other side of the ball, the Giants create good scoring opportunities against a stout Jacksonville defense. But three times they settle for field goals. In the first-half, Eli Manning overthrows a wide open Odell Beckham in the end zone. In the second-half Manning has a pass batted at the line of scrimmage which is intercepted and returned for six points. Evan Engram even drops what could have been a big play.
Special teams seals the loss, fumbling a punt that negates the Giants final possession of the game.
Odell Beckham registers 11 catches for 111 yards while rookie Saquon Barkley rushes 18 times for 106 yards and a touchdown. Yet, the Giants lose by five.
Truth be told, Eli Manning's accuracy decreased as the afternoon wore on. For the game, Eli was 23 of 37 (62%) for 224 yards, with no touchdowns and a pick-six. In the first-half Eli is 13 of 17 (76%) (regardless of negating penalties committed by Ereck Flowers or other plays that went for minimal gain). In the second-half, Eli only completes roughly 50% of his passes.
The offensive line allows two sacks, both within the final two minutes of the first half. Jacksonville hits Eli six other times. Now playing right guard, Ereck Flowers couldn't have gotten off to a worse start, wasting little time committing two inane penalties on the Giants very first two plays from scrimmage.
But the running game paints a somewhat different picture of Flowers' performance. The Giants run 23 times for 114 net yards. Saquon Barkely accounts for 18 rushes and 106 yards (5.9 avg). Take away Barkley's touchdown romp, he rushes 17 times for 38 yards (2.2 avg).
Here's the rub ...
Together, Jonathan Stewart and Saquon Barkley rush 20 times. Five plays go left side for +16 yards; five plays up the middle go for +6 yards; but nine plays go right side towards Ereck Flowers for +24 yards. Now add Saquon Barkley's 68-yard touchdown that started middle, but then bounced right around Flowers.
Too bad this will be lost in the narrative of the Giants first regular season loss.