Sunday, November 30, 2014

Tom Coughlin Giants' Era May Have Ended in Jacksonville

JAGUARS 25
GIANTS 24

In 1995 Tom Coughlin left his position as head coach at Boston College to take over the NFL expansion Jacksonville Jaguars as its head coach. Coughlin put Jacksonville on the NFL map, turning the Jags into a perennial playoff contender in the late 90s with a pair of AFC Championship Game appearances, and it's fair to say that ever since he left the Jaguars in 2004 that franchise has never been the same.

It's ironic in lot of ways that Coughlin's storied coaching career with the Giants might have officially come to a close in the same city in which his NFL journey began, Jacksonville.

Sure the Giants came into their game at 3-8, riding a six game losing streak. It has been a bad season, but to lose a game to the once 1-10 Jaguars is excusable. There is no way to justify a loss of this magnitude to this kind of team. The Jaguars are one of the league's worst teams, so much so their head coach Gus Bradley isn't even on the hot seat because this franchise has been the definition of stink for years.

Yet the Giants found a way to give them a rare moment of joy.

Big Blue built a 21-0 lead with three touchdown drives on their first four possessions. After that the offense was putrid. Of their next nine possessions that Giants had four punts, three fumbles and two field goal attempts, one of which was missed.  In short, the Giants made the Jaguars defense look like the Seahawks as the second half wore on.

The momentum started to turn when Eli Manning got drilled so hard by Roy Miller III that he lost the football. The ball squirted into the endzone and it was J.T. Thomas who fell on it in the end zone for the score to cut the Giants lead to 21-10.

That was bad. Then it got worse.

A missed 43-yard field goal by Giants kicker Josh Brown gave the Jaguars renewed life and they took full advantage. The Jaguars tore up the Giants defense on a six play 67-yard drive, culminating in a 30-yard touchdown pass by Blake Bortles to Marqies Lee to cut the Giants lead to 21-16.

At this point this eery feeling that the game was starting to slip away from the Giants become more and more prominent. The Giants had no answer for the Jacksonville charge. 

After Manning was sacked on second and long, the Giants decided to with a short screen pass to Larry Donnell on third and 15. However Donnell was upended at the 41 yard line and fumbled. Aaron Colvin scooped up the loose ball and dashed into the endzone for the score and Jacksonville's first lead of the day, 22-21.

Even though the Giants soon responded with a field goal of their own to retake the lead 24-22, it never  felt like the Giants had the momentum to hold on and win this game. They were playing with the mentality of a loser and in the end, they lost. Bortles cut through the Giants defense like a seasoned veteran, converting four first downs on the drive to put the Jaguars deep into Giants territory as the clock wound down to :32. The effort was close enough for Josh Scobee who connected on the 43-yard field goal to win it 25-24.

Losing to the Cowboys last week on a last second touchdown is on thing, losing to the horrible Jaguars is another. It is official, the Giants need to clean house. From both coordinators, Perry Fewell and Ben McAdoo, to general manager Jerry Reece and Coughlin, the head coach. The time has come for the Mara family to make changes to the entire infrastructure of this Giants organization -- it has rotted to the core -- there is no pride, no shame, nothing. Change is never easy, but now it's necessary.

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