The New York Giants had their chances to come away with a win on Sunday, but missed opportunities plagued them in the 20-15 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars.
EAST RUTHERFORD—The New York Giants fought valiantly but came up just short, falling to the Jacksonville Jaguars, 20-15, in the season opener at MetLife Stadium.
This was a game that when the players and coaches look back on, they’ll realize that they missed several opportunities to make a play that could have changed the outcome of the game.
Head coach Pat Shurmur alluded to this in his opening postgame comments.
“It’s disappointing when you lose. The one good thing is our team fought from the front to the back. They fought all the way through the game. Unfortunately as is the case in a lot of these games that are close, we just didn’t make enough plays in the end to win the game. It’s unfortunate we lost, we’re disappointed because we lost but we’ve got to move on and regroup and get ready to play Dallas. I’m sure you’ve got a lot of questions, I’ll try to answer them for you.”
One area in particular that plagued the Giants on Sunday was the inability to convert red-zone opportunities into touchdowns.
Two times the Giants had the ball inside the Jaguars 15-yard line and only came away with two Aldrick Rosas field goals. In both drives, Eli Manning had a chance to connect with Odell Beckham Jr. for a touchdown, but just missed connecting with him because he had to hurry his throw due to pressure.
If Giants offensive line gave Eli Manning just a second or two more, he would've had time to hit OBJ for the TD. He had Ramsey beat. Just not enough time with zero timeouts left.
— Art Stapleton (@art_stapleton) September 9, 2018
Shurmur also mentioned these two specific plays after the game.
“The first one was a full blitz. We had a play call, Eli checked to it and then we had some leakage inside that put a little bit more pressure on Eli than the law allows, then the ball was still close to being completed. We missed on it. That’s it. That happens once in a while. Then after, assuming it was the post we threw to Odell – we threw a post and we missed. That’s it. We didn’t connect. There’s no hunt for Red October there.”
Had the Giants being able to convert even one of these opportunities into a touchdown instead of a field goal, then following Saquon Barkley’s 68-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter, the Giants could have kicked an extra point that would have tied the game, rather than going for a two-point conversion to try and cut the deficit to three points.
.@SAQUON TO THE ?!!! #GiantsPride #JAXvsNYG pic.twitter.com/i0apEIKLRG
— New York Giants (@Giants) September 9, 2018
Another key missed opportunity was the Giants’ inability to convert on a 4th-and-2 from the Jaguars 38-yard line trailing 13-9 with 6:28 remaining in the third quarter. The Giants ran the ball up the middle with Barkley but he gained only one yard.
Had they been able to convert on fourth down, they would have likely come away with points that would at the very least change the momentum of the game, if not put the Giants ahead.
The next area where the Giants squandered potential points had to do with tight end Evan Engram. The drops not only negated possible big plays with runs after the catch, but they deflated the team and the fans in attendance.
But ultimately the Giants were done in by turnovers. The Giants lost the turnover battle two to one, and one of their turnovers was an interception in the fourth that Myles Jack ran back 32 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter that put the Jaguars up 20-9.
*Clears Throat*@MylesJack was not down (on that INT)… and took it to the house.#DUUUVAL pic.twitter.com/e2zxtXmhuH
— #DUUUVAL (@Jaguars) September 9, 2018
The last turnover that put the final nail in the coffin was with 54 seconds remaining in the game when Kaelin Clay muffed a punt at the Giants’ 19-yard line that was recovered by Donald Payne.
The Giants will need to correct these miscues when they take on the Dallas Cowboys (0-1) next Sunday on Sunday Night Football.