The Jacksonville Jaguars overcame a late rally by the New York Giants to secure a 20-15 win for their first victory of the season at MetLife Stadium on Sunday.
Whew! That was a little too close for comfort. The Jacksonville Jaguars defense once again rose to the occasion when it mattered most. Linebacker Myles Jack intercepted an Eli Manning pass and took it back 32 yards for a touchdown to give Jacksonville a 20-9 lead before Saquon Barkley broke off a 68-yard touchdown run to close the gap to the final score.
The defense held on for a victory when the offense sputtered mightily in the second half. But a victory is a victory.
This marks the second road win in a row to kick off the NFL season for the Jaguars, who host the New England Patriots next Sunday for their first home game of the year at TIAA Bank Field.
Here is a look at the Good, the Bad, and the unanswered from Sunday’s action.
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Defense, Defense, Defense
When the game was on the line, the defense did its job. The Jaguars applied pressure all afternoon on Manning and sacked him twice. For the most part, the run defense did its part as well until Barkley, the rookie out of Penn State, took the ball around the corner for 68 yards for a score. Without the long run, Jacksonville held him to 38 yards on 17 attempts.
Also, T.J. Yeldon played a solid game, scoring the only touchdown on offense for the Jaguars on a pass from Blake Bortles to put Jacksonville up 13-3. Yeldon, playing in the final year of his rookie deal, filled in for the injured Leonard Fournette and gained 51 yards rushing and caught three passes for 18 yards, including the touchdown.
Penalties were killers today as the Jaguars were flagged 11 times for 119 yards. It’s a problem the Jaguars coaching staff must fix. The team earned a victory in spite of the errors on the field.
Despite not giving up a passing touchdown, the secondary was continually beaten on passing routes. Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham caught 11 passes for 111 yards.
The Jaguars only gave up 210 passing yards, but the Giants had more total yards, 324-305. Also, New York held the ball longer than Jacksonville, leaving the defense on the field longer.
Fournette’s hamstring injury has to be a concern as he dealt with hamstring and ankle issues last season. Yeldon played well in his absence, but its the second-year back’s style of play that proves to be more effective.
Before he left the game, he had nine carries for 46 yards and was able to run through the right side of the Giants defensive line.
The Jaguars only have three running backs on their roster right now. With the Patriots coming to town next week, the team will need a full complement of runners at their disposal.
Also, if Fournette is injured for any amount of time, it will affect the team’s roster. Jacksonville gets defensive end Dante Fowler back from a one-game suspension in time to face the Patriots.