The Giants kept their season from flying out of control Sunday with their 24-20 victory over the Jaguars.
Barely avoiding a three-game losing streak, the Giants (7-4) did just enough with their patchwork offense to beat a gritty and confident Jacksonville (6-5) squad that tore up the Giants' run defense.
And they can thank tough tight end Kevin Boss for that.
Boss, who dropped two previous passes, came alive late in the fourth quarter. On third-and-10 from the Jacksonville 33, Boss took only his third reception of the game, shook off safety Courtney Greene and got into the end zone for the winning score and his third touchdown of 2010.
Then the defense, victimized all day by Maurice Jones-Drew’s fourth straight 100-yard rushing game and the scrambling of quarterback David Garrard, produced its biggest plays of the day.
After Aaron Ross handed Jacksonville a first down on the 29 with his hold on third-and-10, Justin Tuck threw Garrard for an 11-yard sack. Rookie defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul got a hand on the ball on second down, causing a fumble that Garrard recovered. But on third down, Terrell Thomas, who made an earlier interception, knocked the ball loose from Garrard, with Antrel Rolle recovering to allow the Giants to run out the clock.
It wasn’t particularly pretty, but the Giants kept their playoff hopes alive. With NFC East foe Washington coming to the New Meadowlands Stadium next Sunday, a Giants loss would have been mentally devastating as well as injurious in the standings.
The Giants very nearly didn’t escape, as a lackluster first half sent them into intermission down 17-6 amid the crowd’s vocal displeasure. But Thomas’ pick on the first play of the second half set up a Lawrence Tynes field goal, and Mario Manningham’s 26-yard touchdown pass and a two-point conversion tied the score.