The Jacksonville Jaguars traveled to MetLife Stadium Saturday, to take on the Giants in week two of the preseason. Jacksonville scored on three straight possessions in the first half, but the Giants won the battle of the backups in the second half and came away with a 22-12 win.
Jacksonville (1-1) played well with much of the starting offense in the game, but stalled deep in the Giants’ end three times, settling for field goals instead of touchdowns. Blake Bortles, who threw for 98 yards on 8-of-16 passing, left the game with just under eight minutes to go in the second quarter, making way for Chad Henne and the second team offense.
While Bortles was in there, the offense was clicking. The first drive ended in a 52-yard field goal by Josh Scobee and drive number two was highlighted by a 36-yard slant pass to Allen Robinson, who got the ball inside the Giants 30. The Jags’ had to settle for another field goal of 38 yards, by Jason Myers.
“Obviously that kind of stings coming off the field,” said Bortles of the field goals. “But you’re able to get points. I think it’s definitely encouraging to move the ball the way we did. In a regular season game you’ll be able to go out there and fix things and change things.”
Much like last week in the win over Pittsburgh, Bortles was victimized by his receivers. There were three dropped passes in the game, one by Robinson, who giveth with the 36 yard catch and taketh away on a very catchable ball that would have kept a second quarter drive alive. Robinson caught three passes for 64 yards.
All-in-all, the Jaguars accomplished what they wanted early in the game. With the starters in there, Jacksonville possessed the ball and moved the ball well. They scored nine points against the Giants starting defense and led the game 9-3, when the second string players entered.
“Offensively, to move the ball like we did is a good sign, said Head Coach Gus Bradley after the game. “Obviously, you’d like to turn those field goals into touchdowns, but good to get points on the board. When the offense can take that much time off the clock and control the ball and keep the defense fresh, you can see we have a chance to do some pretty good things. That part, I was very pleased with.”
The Jaguars defense deserves some credit as well. They kept Giants’ quarterback Eli Manning at bay. He went 4-of-14 for 46 yards and although the Jaguars did not overpower him with pressure, they did knock some passes down and played well in coverage, keeping Manning from hitting the deep ball.
Ryan Nassib, took over For Manning and played well. He was 19-of-35 for 217 yards, throwing an eight yard touchdown to Dwayne Harris in the fourth quarter, to make it a 19-9 game.
The Jaguars have been hit hard by the injury bug in the early going of 2015. As expected, tight end Julius Thomas was held out of Saturday’s game, still recovering from a broken hand. Running back T.J. Yeldon, who is nursing a sprained finger, was a game-time decision. Bradley decided to give him one more week.
After Saturday’s game, more names were added to the injury list. Jaguars.com is reporting that wide receiver Arrelious Benn left the game late in the first quarter with a shoulder injury, as did offensive tackle Josh Wells, with a hand injury. Cornerback Demetrius McCray and linebacker LaRoy Reynolds left with knee injuries in the second quarter. Linebacker Khairi Fortt sustained a knee injury of his own, in the third quarter and did not return.
The Jaguars will be back in action on Friday night at EverBank Field, welcoming in the Detroit Lions. Game time is set for 8:00 p.m.