Archive for Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Jacksonville defense keys blowout of Giants, 26-10

Jaguars force three turnovers, pester QB Manning

November 21, 2006

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— The Jaguars wore all black, Jack Del Rio sported a blue tie, and Jacksonville's defense followed suit Monday night with a thorough bruising of the New York Giants.

The Jaguars forced three turnovers, pressured Eli Manning into several poor throws and held Tiki Barber to a season-low 27 yards rushing in a 26-10 victory over the injury-riddled Giants. Jacksonville (6-4) rebounded from an embarrassing loss to Houston and spoiled former coach Tom Coughlin's homecoming.

"We just didn't play well, and there's no excuse for it," Coughlin said.

David Garrard, who had four interceptions against the Texans, threw for 249 yards and ran for 31 more. Josh Scobee kicked four field goals. Fred Taylor and Maurice Drew combined for 124 yards rushing and two touchdowns.

As well as the Jaguars offense played, the defense was even better.

The Jaguars harassed Manning into numerous mistakes and bottled up Barber like few teams have in recent years.

Barber's 27 yards were his lowest since Nov. 30, 2003 against Buffalo, when he finished with 20 yards on 12 carries.

The Giants (6-4) dropped their second straight after a five-game winning streak. They played without defensive ends Michael Strahan (foot) and Osi Umenyiora (hip), cornerback Sam Madison (quadriceps), linebacker Brandon Short (quad) and offensive tackle Luke Petitgout (leg).

The injuries certainly contributed to the poor showing.

Jacksonville, meanwhile, lost another defensive starter but didn't miss a beat.

Already playing without their best tackler in Mike Peterson and best pass rusher in Reggie Hayward, the Jaguars lost safety Donovin Darius in the first quarter to a sprained right ankle.

He was hardly missed.

Manning finished 19-of-41 for 230 yards, most of which came after the game was decided.

"Mainly," Manning said, "I've got to start playing better football."

Manning said he wouldn't lose confidence in himself, but lamented that the Giants are "not on the same page" and conceded that the Giants have work to do.

Although the Jaguars dominated much of the game, the Giants looked like they might cut into a 16-10 lead when Manning connected with Plaxico Burress for a 53-yard gain early in the fourth quarter. But the catch was overturned, and the Jaguars finally pulled away in a game that could have been much worse.

Garrard found Matt Jones over the middle for a 49-yard gain, then Drew scored from 3 yards out to make it 23-10.

Taylor's 10-yard run put the Jags ahead 10-3 in the second quarter. Jacksonville would have led by two touchdowns at the half if Taylor, close to scoring again, hadn't fumbled into the end zone. Antonio Pierce recovered to keep the game close.

The Jaguars had to settle for field goal, too.

Jacksonville wore all black for the fourth time in franchise history. Coughlin's successor, Jack Del Rio, was dressed for the occasion, too, sporting a spiffy black dress suit the NFL granted him permission to wear.

The Jacksonville coach wore a white shirt and completed the ensemble with a teal-blue tie with black and white stripes and a gold Jaguars lapel pin.

On the opposite sideline, Coughlin wore a grim look.

"We weren't successful," Coughlin said.

"It was a very disappointing game for us. There are an awful lot of plays that we're leaving out on the field. We're just not making any plays."

He was the expansion franchise's first coach and led them to the AFC championship game twice in its first five seasons. He was fired after the 2002 season, leaving with a 68-60 record that included two AFC Central titles and four playoff appearances.

Jacksonville has 13 players remaining from Coughlin's tenure.

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