Giants hang on by a thread, improve to 6-1 with another comeback win over Jaguars

Saquon Barkley New York Giants
Saquon Barkley (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

By the hair on their chinny-chin-chin, the New York Giants are 6-1 with a 23-17 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday afternoon at TIAA Bank Field.

After taking a six-point lead thanks to a Graham Gano 34-yard field goal, the Giants nearly yielded what could have been the game-winning touchdown as time expired when Trevor Lawrence connected with Christian Kirk at the Giants 1-yard-line, but the combination of Xavier McKinney and Julian Love kept the Jaguars receiver out of the end zone to preserve the win.

In what has become their comfort zone in 2022, the Giants continue coming up with positive results as they are now 6-0 in one-score games this season.

A suddenly demonstrative Daniel Jones drove home what was the game-winning touchdown — a one-yard punch in with 5:31 left in the fourth quarter before Saquon Barkley racked up 44 yards on the Giants’ final drive to see things out and set up a field goal to put them up six with 1:04 remaining.

Both Jones and Barkley rushed for over 100 yards despite losing a pair of offensive linemen in Evan Neal and Ben Bredeson due to injury in the first half. Jones posted 107 on the ground while Barkley led the way with 110.

It was a just reward for a staunch Giants defense that often bent in Week 7 but never broke — most notably when the Jaguars drove 74 yards on 10 plays in the final 1:04, supported by four costly New York penalties that gifted 30 free yards to Jacksonville. That included a 15-yard roughing the passer penalty on Dexter Lawrence after Trevor Lawrence converted a 4th-&-15 to Marvin Jones that ultimately moved the hosts down to the Giants’ 17-yard-line. 

Wink Martindale’s defense also forced a key fumble toward the end of the first half to turn the tide of an 11-10 Giants hole before stuffing the Jaguars on a 4th-&-1 inside the red zone with a chance to ice the game with 11:30 to go in the fourth. 

It was the fifth time in seven games this season that the Giants held opponents to 20 points or fewer.

As for Jones, he continues to stake a strong claim as to why he’s New York’s franchise quarterback of the future. While improving his record to 6-1 this season, he completed 19-of-30 passes for 202 yards to go with one passing and one rushing score

The Giants’ start was as uncommon as they come, scoring an opening-drive touchdown for the first time in 14 games. Jones went 6-for-7 for 65 yards on New York’s first possession of the day, hooking up with Darius Slayton for a 32-yard touchdown to put Big Blue in front from the jump.

Jacksonville provided a swift response, though, going 70 yards on six plays in just 3:23 — Travis Etienne punching home a score from one yard out on the ensuing drive. A successful two-point conversion put the Jaguars up 8-7.

While the Jaguars continued to slice the Giants’ defense open, they couldn’t pull away. 

They drove 70 yards on their next drive but stalled at the New York 9-yard-line to settle for a field goal, which was quickly answered by the Giants on the ensuing drive to keep it a one-point game. 

The Jaguars then went 76 yards to the Giants’ 17-yard-line inside four minutes to go before the half before Etienne bolted up the middle down to the 5-yard-line, but McKinney punched the ball out and it was recovered by Love in the end zone.

They went 65 yards to get into Jacksonville territory, setting up Gano’s go-ahead field goal to make it 13-11 with 28 seconds to go in the half. 

Etienne made up for his turnover when he busted loose for 49 yards on the Jaguars’ opening drive of the second half to immediately get the hosts deep into Giants territory. Lawerence ultimately punched it in from a yard out to give the Jaguars the lead just 3:15 into the third quarter, but the extra point was blocked to keep New York’s deficit within four.

Rather than kicking a field goal on a 4th-&-2 from the Jaguars 3-yard-line with 6:22 to go in the third, head coach Brian Daboll opted to go for it, but Jones’ quick slant intended for Marcus Johnson was dropped at the 1-yard-line to turn it over on downs.

It was Johnson’s second drop of the day and the fifth drop by a Giants receiver at that point. 

The Jaguars had a chance to put the game away early in the fourth quarter driving down to the Giants’ 20-yard-line, but Lawrence was stuffed on a 4th-&-1 attempt to give New York the ball back and an abundance of momentum. 

For more on the Giants, visit AMNY.com

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