The Jacksonville Jaguars limped their way to a 20-15 win against the New York Giants this afternoon. The offense could only muster 13 of those 20 points, largely because Leonard Fournette left in the second quarter with a hamstring injury and didn’t return, and Blake Bortles was (per usual) ineffective for long stretches of the game.
The defense, however, was masterful.
Who stood out in the season opener? Let’s find out!
1. Leonard Fournette
Before leaving in the second quarter, Fournette had 55 yards on 12 touches. The offense was absolutely running through him and it dropped off dramatically when he left. T.J. Yeldon did the best he could in Fournette’s absence, but if this team is going to break away from inferior teams in the future — like they should have done today — they need Fournette in the backfield.
2. Blake Bortles
We got classic Blake today. He threw an awful interception on the second drive of the game to Janoris Jenkins, he led a great touchdown drive a little later. He threw into triple coverage one play and then ran for 41 yards on the next. Awful throws in the fourth quarter when we needed to chew the clock and give the defense a rest. The team needed him to take over when Fournette went down and it was the defense that did the heavy lifting. 54.5 completion percentage, 5.3 yards per pass attempt, and a 1:1 touchdown to turnover ratio. Not a good day for Blake.
3. Telvin Smith
I saw at least three, maybe four, missed tackles by Telvin Smith in the first half alone. I don’t know what it was but he was bouncing off Giants running backs and receivers or getting juked out in the open field throughout the entire game.
4. Jalen Ramsey
The Giants called a smart game offensively. The crossing routes created natural pick plays that left Ramsey out of position and allowed Odell Beckham, Jr. several catches throughout the game, including the fourth quarter drive on what could have been a go ahead score. Beckham finished with 111 yards on 11 catches from 15 targets, which Ramsey was directly responsible for the minority of, but the execution by the Giants receivers still allowed Beckham to take advantage of the Jaguars secondary at times.
5. Myles Jack
Okay, enough negativity. Let’s talk about a guy who was all over the field for the defense today. A team-high 10 tackles, a pass deflected, and sideline to sideline coverage — covering Odell Beckham, Jr. on one play and Evan Engram on another. Pick-six when the Jaguars needed it the most. He was the best player on the field for the Jaguars today.
6. Yannick Ngakoue
And who was responsible for the pick-six by Myles? Yannick, of course. He forced an errant Eli Manning that was tipped by Abry Jones to make it all happen. He was held, double-teamed, and schemed against, making his box score look pretty bad — but watching the game you saw how much attention the Giants offense gave him.
7. Barry Church
HOO BOY! From the red zone defensive stand in the first quarter to a pivotal third down stop on what could have been the go ahead drive for the Giants, Church was everywhere today making plays. He finished the game with six tackles (two for a loss) and a pass deflection.
8. Lerentee McCray
Filling in for the suspended Dante Fowler, McCray did very well all things considered. He had the first sack of the season for the team and finished with three sacks overall.
9. Wiggle Man
Not taking any chances. Headed to church.— Wiggle Man (@Wiggle_Man) September 9, 2018
Thank you for your service, Wiggle Man.