Could anyone have envisioned a worse start than the one the Giants and right tackle Ereck Flowers endured?
It’s unlikely. In his first start at his new position, Flowers was flagged for two penalties during the first three snaps of the game, both of which nullified completed passes that could have jump-started the offense.
On the first play, he was beaten by Calais Campbell on an inside move and stuck out his leg to try to slow the pass rusher, which resulted in a tripping call.
Two plays later, on second-and-17 from the 7, Eli Manning scrambled and hit Evan Engram for a long gain across the 40, but Flowers was called for holding. Engram, who got up and celebrated his big play only to look back and see the flag, called it “gut-wrenching.”
“That was such a weird series,” tackle Nate Solder said. “I guess that was a microcosm of how the whole game went.”
Actually, it could have been a little worse. Flowers’ hold began at the 1 and carried into the end zone. Had the penalty taken place inside the goal line, it would have been a safety.
So the beginning was awful. How about the end?
That was probably just as wrenching. The Giants used their timeouts and forced a punt, giving them a chance to take a few shots at a go-ahead touchdown with less than a minute remaining. However, return man Kaelin Clay muffed the punt and Jacksonville recovered it with 45 seconds left.
Wait. Who muffed the punt?
Kaelin Clay. He was one of the players claimed off waivers by the Giants in the past week. Needless to say, he did not make a strong first impression on his new team.
Pat Shurmur said he would consider using Odell Beckham Jr. on punt returns. Was that a consideration on the final one? Or the one with 4:10 remaining?
Said Shurmur: “No.”
It would have been nice if the Giants had all three timeouts during that final defensive stand, right?
Absolutely. Instead, they had only two remaining after burning one before the first snap of the second half. The radio in Manning’s helmet malfunctioned and the Giants were slow in getting that first play called, so they stopped the clock rather than take a delay-of-game penalty. “My helmet just died,” Manning said. “I had some problems in the first half. I got a new helmet the next play and it was much clearer with the communication.”
What happened on the Jaguars’ only offensive touchdown of the game?
It was a rollout by Blake Bortles from the 1. Landon Collins was on a blitz from that side, then cut it short and trailed running back T.J. Yeldon to the pylon.
“One of the [defensive] backs has to scrape over to take the back,” Collins said of the short pass.
And on the Jaguars’ only defensive touchdown of the game?
Manning was pressured from the right side and had to step up in the pocket. “They had a pretty good fake blitz that put Ereck in a bind trying to block two guys,” Manning said of Flowers after the pass rush threw off the angles of the play.
After that, Abry Jones was able to reach up and tip the pass intended for Saquon Barkley into the air. It landed in the arms of the Jaguars’ Myles Jack.
“We have to keep their hands down,” guard Patrick Omameh said of the responsibility of an offensive lineman when his man tips a pass like that. It was Omameh blocking Jones on the play.