EAST RUTHERFORD NJ - NOVEMBER 28: David Garrard #9 of the Jacksonville Jaguars fumbles the ball against the New York Giantsduring their game on November 28 2010 at The New Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford New Jersey. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
The Jacksonville Jaguars entered halftime in New Meadowlands Stadium with a 17-6 lead over the New York Giants. In the final two quarters, the Jaguars were outscored 18-6. The game ended in the same lopsided fashion in which it began. The Giants feared pass rush had been slowed and contained nearly all game took over and sacked David Garrard on three consecutive plays, forcing a fumble on the final one.While a lot of fans are already piling on the likes of Mike Sims-Walker and Dirk Koetter, blame should be shared all around for the Jaguars second half collapse. The game was literally a tale of two halves. In the first half runningback Maurice Jones-Drew gashed the Giants defense at 7.3 yards per clip (10 for 73). In the second half however, the Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell made some adjustments and Jones-Drew was held to just 3.6 yards per carry (11 for 40) as the Jaguars offense began to stagnate.
The second half started off with a drop by Mike Sims-Walker on a slant pattern that was intercepted. Sims-Walker should have made a better play on the ball, but the quarterback isn't absolved on this interception. David Garrard threw the ball in to Sims-Walker on the slant high and behind, which is always bad news on that pattern. Sims-Walker reached his hands back at the ball and tipped it in the air for Terrell Thomas.
After playing a very serviceable first half, actually making more plays with his legs than his arm, Garrard wilted in the second half. The drive after he threw the interception, Garrard nearly threw an interception on consecutive plays. He launched a ball down the field to a covered Mike Thomas that was nearly intercepted, if not for a good defensive play by Thomas. On the very next play, Garrard hit defensive end Justin Tuck in the face, literally, with a pass while Tuck was dropped back in coverage.
Garrard ended the day with a higher yards per carry (6.8) than yards per attempt (4.6). The Jaguars make-shift offensive line with former Giant Guy Whimper starting in place of Eugene Monroe was able to protect Garrard most of the day. On the final drive however, the Giants pass rush we've all come to know showed up and sacked Garrard on three consecutive plays. The offensive line however shouldn't shoulder full blame for the sacks, Garrard was responsible for at least two of the three. On first down, the Giants blitzed Antrel Rolle, which forced Garrard into defensive end Justin Tuck. On the play, Garrard could see Rolle coming through unblocked, but stood there and at the last second tried to take off on the play. Protection wasn't great, but in that point of the game he's got to get rid of the football instead of trying to make a play with his feet.
The final play of the game was a similar situation. The Giants blitzed corner Terrell Thomas and Rolle again, and again Garrard held the ball and tried to make a play with his feet instead of his arm. The protection wasn't perfect either, but again.. the quarterback has got to get the ball out in that situation. For the second consecutive play, Garrard also fumbled the ball again. This time however, he didn't get to scoop it back up.
We all know the protection was going to be suspect in this game and Garrard needed to adjust his internal clock. It seemed he had for much of the game, but towards the end it was just a calamity of errors all around in the second half by everyone.
The Jaguars may have lost more than the game today, as David Garrard went to have X-Rays on his left wrist after the game. The fear is Garrard may have broken it, but he thinks it's just a sprain.