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What the victory means for 6-1 Giants


The phrase "competitive stamina" reverberated around the Quest Diagnostics Training Center this week.

The Giants preached the importance of focusing on the next play no matter the situation or score. And no team this season has done that better in the NFL, where the average margin of victory is at an all-time low.

The Giants, who were just the fourth team ever to claim three victories after trailing by 10+ points in their first six games, once again found themselves down in their seventh outing. While they never trailed by double digits on Sunday in Jacksonville, they were down by four as late as 5:31 to play in the fourth quarter. That's when Daniel Jones pushed ahead for a one-yard touchdown run, capping a 107-yard rushing performance by the quarterback and yet another game-winning drive in a 23-17 victory over the Jaguars.

"I'm glad we won, but like I say every week, there's certain things to clean up, and this week is no exception," said Brian Daboll, who improved to 6-1 in his first year as head coach. "There were some good things we did. I thought offense got off to a fast start, did a good job of converting third downs, did a good enough job in the red zone, took care of the ball defensively, got the ball out there when they were going into the red zone, had a critical 4th down stop. At critical moments that was good, but we gave up too many yards, we didn't capitalize in the red zone. Didn't finish the game [when] we should have finished the game. There're always things to clean up."


Graham Gano tacked on his third field goal to give the Giants a six-point cushion with 1:04 remaining, leaving Trevor Lawrence and Jaguars one more chance. After a touchback, they drove all the way down the Giants 17-yard line and were faced with a third-and-10 with five seconds on the clock. Lawrence then fired a pass to wide receiver Christian Kirk, whose back was to the goal line as he leapt up just short of the end zone. He was initially met by Julian Love and Fabian Moreau, who slowed his initial momentum. Love, Xavier McKinney and eventually Landon Collins then drove him back farther and farther away as time expired.

"I mean, we knew the situation," McKinney said. "That whole drive, our mentality, and kind of what I was preaching was just to just keep them inbounds. We knew they didn't have any timeouts left, so we were just trying to delay as much time as we could, and then the last play obviously we were just trying to keep them out of the end zone. I think it was a great play call by [Giants Defensive Coordinator Don] 'Wink' [Martindale], and we've got to execute it, and we kept them out of the end zone in the end."


Never judge a run game by the first half. The Giants imposed their will down the stretch against the third-ranked run defense, carrying the ball 25 times for 175 yards in the second half after having just 61 yards on 14 attempts through the first two quarters.

Furthermore, they ran for 130 yards, a touchdown, and eight first downs in the fourth quarter alone as Jones and Saquon Barkley became the first pair of Giants teammates to run for 100 yards apiece in a game since Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs at Minnesota in 2010.

On the season, 807 of the Giants' 1,214 rush yards (66.5 percent) have come in the second half. Keep in mind, the Giants lost two starting offensive linemen – left guard Ben Bredeson and right tackle Evan Neal – due to injuries in the first half.

"It can look like we're running the same play, but you can run so many things out of that formation," Barkley said. "That's credit to Kaf [offensive coordinator Mike Kafka] and [offensive line coach] Bobby [Johnson] for setting us up. Was it demoralizing? I don't know. Just I can tell when you lean on defense, when you lean on defense throughout the game, you can feel them starting to soften up, and take them to the deep water and drown."

"Well, I thought our defense for honestly three and a half quarters just stymied their run game and kept them at bay and all of that," Jaguars coach Doug Pederson said. "Of course, they get in their four-minute offense, and things change a little bit. For those three and a half quarters, I thought our defense did a nice job stopping the run and handling that. We know Daniel is an athletic guy and some of the zone read stuff he kept. Obviously, you have to look at the film and see where we dropped that one. Again, credit them. They did what they needed to do to win the game at the end."


Whether the team boasts league MVPs or No. 1 overall draft picks, the Giants proved their 6-1 record has staying power. Winners of their last four games, they will stay on the road for one more week and travel to Seattle before returning home for the bye.

"I think there's just a competitive spirit," Jones said. "There's a mental toughness to our group, and regardless of what's happened earlier in the game or regardless of the situation, we've got confidence that we're going to execute and find ways to win. Like I said, there's a lot of points in the game, a lot of plays that we would like to have back, to clean up, and hopefully make a couple more plays so we're not in that situation, but credit to Jacksonville. They're a good team, good defense, and they played well today."


Opposite of the Giants, the Jaguars have found themselves on the wrong side of close games. All five of their losses have been decided by eight points or fewer. Their two wins, however, were by 28 and 24 points.

"That's the way this league is," Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence said. "Most games come down to the very end. That's how it is. Like we've been saying, you have to find ways to win and just find ways to make those plays that decide the game. Those plays are scattered throughout the game, but no matter what happened in the prior three quarters and whatever minutes of that fourth quarter, at the very end—how can we find ways to make those plays to win the game?

"We're just not making enough of those plays right now. We're that close. That's what's frustrating for us, too, as players. You know, you put so much into it, and coaches too, obviously. You put so much into it. To come up that short especially this many times, early in the season, is frustrating. Everybody feels that. Guys are sticking together. We have a lot of belief in that locker room, and you saw it today. We came up a yard short at the very end to [potentially] win that game by a point. [If we were to] kick the extra point, we beat them. So that's how close it is. That's why I think you see the look on the guys' faces and just the energy. That's the way it should be when you are losing like that. No one is, obviously, happy about it."


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