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Giants-Jaguars 'Kudos & Wet Willies' Review

Who played well for the Giants on Sunday? Who did not?

Odell Beckham returns a punt vs. Jacksonville
Odell Beckham returns a punt vs. Jacksonville
Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

As painful as we know it is going to be, let's review the New York Giants 25-24 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday in our traditional 'Kudos & Wet Willies' style.

'Kudos' To ...

Devon Kennard -- If there was anything for the Giants and their fans to smile about on Sunday it was the play of this rookie linebacker. Kennard got his first two career sacks. He was credited with three tackles, all for loss. He was credited with two hits on Jacksonville quarterback Blake Bortles. Kennard ended the game with the highest Pro FootballFocus grade of any Giant defender.

Kerry Wynn -- The undrafted free agent rookie did a nice job in his first professional appearance. In 22 snaps, Wynn came away with a half-sack, three tackles and a quarterback hurry.

Odell Beckham -- No spectacular one-handed grab this week, but he did have a solid seven catches for 90 yards. Beckham also returned five punts for 48 yards, an average of 9.6 yards per return. Probably should have had the ball in his hands more in the second half.

Wet Willies To ...

Offensive line -- No Justin Pugh. No Geoff Schwartz. Eventually no James Brewer. No chance. The Giants survived in the first half with their makeshift line, but, as Coughlin said, "didn't respond well to the pressure" when the Jaguars turned up the heat in the second half.

Question the play-calling all you want, and we know that Odell Beckham did, but the Giants really were helpless in the second half against a Jaguars' defense that smelled blood. I won't spoil our upcoming look at the PFF grades, but I have to single out a couple of guys. Center J.D. Walton was a sieve. Can the Giants just move Weston Richburg to center already and get on with it? Brewer wasn't good and was responsible for more pressures than any other Giants lineman in his 46 snaps. How down on Brandon Mosley must the Giants be if the completely over-matched Dallas Reynolds is active and Mosley is not?

Larry Donnell -- Criticize the fact that the Giants threw Donnell a "give-up" dump pass on third-and-15 if you really want to. A punt is always better than a turnover, especially one that turns into seven points and wipes out what was left of a lead. If you are Donnell you have to see that there is no way you are getting a first down and find a way to get to the ground safely WITH THE BALL!

Rueben Randle -- Had to sit the first quarter after being late for a Friday meeting. Randle's professionalism has always been the thing you hear questioned most, and this is another example.

Josh Brown -- It's tough to criticize a guy who hadn't missed a field goal all season, but Brown picked a horrible time for his first miss of the season. When the Giants desperately needed something to stem Jacksonville's surge, Brown pushed a 43-yard field goal just wide to the right. Ultimately, those points might have been enough for the Giants to turn back the Jaguars. Instead, the miss helped Jacksonville continue building momentum.

Kwillies To ...

Rashad Jennings -- Good God, Rashad, what were you thinking? Jennings ran the ball well, except for one backward 11-yard loss, gaining 91 yards on 26 carries. What was he doing on that aborted fumble recovery in the end zone, though? He told reporters after the game his intent was to pick the ball up and kneel for a safety. Umm ... what? Fall on the ball! It sure looked like he tried to pick it up and run with it, which resulted in having the ball ripped out of his hands for a Jacksonville touchdown.

Criticize Tom Coughlin for a lot of things, but not for his math skills.

"Do the math for me. Two from seven," Coughlin said in reference to the play. "We have done some things that aren't real smart."

Eli Manning -- The Giants' quarterback threw the ball fine, going 24-of-34 for 247 yards. Eleven seasons into his career, however, and Manning still has difficulty protecting the ball under pressure. He had two fumbles, one of which cost the Giants seven points.

Final Thoughts

I started writing my game story Sunday afternoon in the third quarter when the Giants were still winning. One of the sub-categories I was toying with at the time was 'Props for Perry.' That's because, for a while, it looked like defensive coordinator Perry Fewell was actually calling a solid, creative game. The Giants were using lots of twists and stunts, blitzing regularly and making life miserable for Blake Bortles.

Then the Giants defense reminded us that it is the Giants defense. The defense reminded us that stopping the read option is something it basically has no idea how to do. It's as if the Giants don't believe it's even legal for the quarterback to keep the ball. The defense reminded us that, no matter what the reason, when push comes to shove it can't make big stops or force turnovers at critical junctures.

In the final drive, Fewell also showed us that he really didn't learn anything from the personnel disaster that was the final drive against the Dallas Cowboys a week ago. Once again Sunday vs. Jacksonville it was package over personnel. The best defender Sunday for the Giants was Kennard. Yet, he spent most of the final drive on the bench in favor of Spencer Paysinger. Incidentally, whether he was held or not, it was Paysinger who was victimized for the 20-yard run by Bortles that set up the game-winning field goal for Jacksonville.

Antrel Rolle appeared to criticize Fewell after the game, saying the Giants weren't in defensive calls that could account for the zone read. Unreal.

On the flip side, there is also criticism from Beckham and other quarters of McAdoo. Some say the Giants should have run the ball more in the second half. Some say they ran too much and played too conservatively, not to lose instead of playing to win. It's true that in the second half the Giants did not get a pass in Beckham's direction until they were trailing. I have a harder time criticizing McAdoo here, though. In a 15-of-19 first half Manning was not sacked. In the second half he was sacked four times and fumbled twice. There was no chance to get the ball down the field. They ran 23 times for 77 yards in the first half and 12 for 43 in the second, so roughly the same success rate.

The Giants are, simply, a mess right now. Sunday's inexcusable loss, and the way the Giants lost the game, puts the franchise about as low as it can get.

Everyone has theories on what needs to change, who needs to be replaced, how to straighten out this mess. It isn't worth re-hashing them. Where do the Giants go from here? Who knows?