The defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants opened their preseason in Jacksonville on Friday with a 32-31 loss. The Giants started the game off well with a lead most of the way, but eventually fell to an 18-point comeback by the Jaguars.
Eli Manning went 4-for-8 for 60 yards, only playing two series. His first pass of the game was completed to Martellus Bennet for 11 yards and he then hit Ramses Barden for 14 yards.
The Giants scored their first touchdown in the first quarter when DJ Ware ran the ball into the end zone. Ware had five carries for 30 yards.
The first drive for the Giants' defense was not a pretty one. They allowed the Jaguars 13 plays, 89 yards which resulted in a touchdown. Prince Amukamara struggled with coverage and was burned by Cecil Shorts for the score. Though struggles came early, Amukamara was able to redeem himself by forcing a fumble which Justin Tuck was able to recover. Adrian Tracy also forced another fumble later in the game that Jason Pierre-Paul picked up.
The return game started off rather impressive. David Wilson returned a kickoff for 48 yards in the first quarter and Jayron Hosley showed his speed on returns. Holsey made one critical mistake on his last attempt when he called for a fair catch and fumbled the football in which the Jaguars returned. The turnover resulted in a touchdown just before the half. Jerrell Jernigan did not have a good night returning punts. He fumbled one which also resulted in a touchdown.
Backup quarterback David Carr came into the game in the second quarter and impressed. He went 4-for-6 with 23 yards and two touchdowns before the half, one to Bennett and one to Isaiah Stanback. Rookie Rueben Randle also snagged a touchdown in the third quarter, thrown by third-string quarterback Ryan Perrilloux.
Two players made big impressions tonight. Mark Herzlich came into the game with the second string as the middle linebacker and remained in the game with the third string. He wasted no time chasing the ball and making stuffs where necessary. He looked much better in the pass coverage than in 2011.
Also, the rookie Wilson was highly impressive. As mentioned above the first round pick ran 48 yards on a kickoff return. Wilson was used in the backfield in the third quarter and ran for 21 yards on three carries before the end of the quarter. Wilson's speed and explosiveness was what stood out about his performance, which comes to no surprise as coach Tom Coughlin and teammates have been raving about it.
Aside from some questionable officiating by the replacements, especially at the end of the game, the Giants first and second strings looked very solid and the rookies held their ground. The third string was very shaky, hence the 18-point comeback in the second half by the Jaguars. One preseason game is out of the way. It's a start.