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Cover 4

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Cover 4: Breaking down fourth straight win


The crew reacts to Sunday's 23-17 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars:

John Schmeelk: If you look at the final stats in the game from Sunday, the thought would be that the Giants won this game with their rushing attack. They ran for 236 yards, including 130 in the fourth quarter that led to 10 points. But it masks some real progress from the Giants' passing game in the first half that led to 13 points and a halftime lead.

Daniel Jones completed six of seven passes for 65 yards on the Giants' first scoring drive, while only calling one running play for Saquon Barkley that went for -4 yards. The Jaguars were stacking the box with only one single-safety deep, and Darius Slayton made them pay by getting behind the defense to close the drive with a 32-yard touchdown catch.

On the Giants' two field goal drives in the first half, Barkley only ran it seven times for 20 yards. Jones completed 6-of-9 passes for 85 yards on those drives. The Giants had the lead at halftime because of the passing game, which was able to succeed because Jacksonville was focused on stopping Saquon Barkley.

Darius Slayton acted as an effective deep threat, while Wan'Dale Robinson caught six passes for 50 yards in the first half. The Giants passing game seems to be rounding into form. Discounting the shallow cross to Barkley that went for 41 yards against the Packers, Jones' touchdown throw to Slayton was his first 30-yard completion since Week 2. In his second game back from injury, Robinson is finding separation using his short area quickness and speed.

Eventually teams were going to load the box to stop Saquon Barkley, but how would the Giants respond? They did so successfully against the Jaguars with their passing game and using their quarterback's legs to make the Jaguars pay. It was a good sign for things to come.

Dan Salomone: Brian Daboll would have gladly exchanged any of these numbers for more time off the clock, but here are the Giants' rushing numbers in the fourth quarter alone: 17 carries, 130 yards (7.7 avg.), one touchdown, eight first downs, and five runs of 10+ yards. The Giants have outscored their opponents 36 points in the fourth quarter, trailing only the Jets' margin of 54 points for best in the NFL. There's a reason the word "FINISH" is engraved on the Giants' most recent Super Bowl ring.

"Was it demoralizing?" running back Saquon Barkley asked rhetorically in his postgame press conference. "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."

Lance Medow: It applies to life but it's extremely fitting for football: "Timing is everything" and that phrase sums up the Giants win over the Jaguars in Week 7. Jacksonville outgained New York, 452-436 in total yards, 310-200 in passing yards and had two red zone touchdown compared to one for the Giants but Brian Daboll's group still found a way to win. It all goes back to situational football and executing on both ends in critical moments.

Exhibit A takes us to late in the second quarter when the Jaguars were moving the ball down the field with ease, specifically through the air, and only faced one third down, which was for just one yard. However, just when they moved inside the New York 10, Xavier McKinney forced Travis Etienne to fumble and Julian Love recovered. The Giants' defense bent but it didn't break.

Let's skip ahead to early in the fourth quarter for Exhibit B. The Jaguars drove deep into New York territory thanks to the passing attack, the Giants' defense regrouped and stopped Trevor Lawrence on a 4th-and-1, forcing the Jaguars to turn over the ball on downs. The defense got such a strong push on that play that Jacksonville's offensive line was launched backwards into Lawrence. Yet another empty possession for the Jaguars. The same can be said for the very last play of the game when it took a group effort to stop Christian Kirk and prevent him from crossing the goal line. There's no margin for error in that situation.   

The offense was no different as Daniel Jones & Co. put together a 10-play, 79-yard go-ahead touchdown drive in the fourth quarter when they were able to lean on their run game to convert a pair of third downs and ultimately punch it in. Jones accounted for 35 of the 79 yards on the ground. When the Giants needed big game-changing plays, various individuals stepped up and that overshadowed some of the hiccups along the way. It's all about timing. 

Matt Citak: Brian Daboll is the first head coach to start his Giants tenure at 6-1 since 1929. Saquon Barkley leads the NFL with 906 total yards from scrimmage, 99 more than the next-highest player (Browns RB Nick Chubb has 807). Daboll and Barkley have been tremendous to start the season, but their success has seemingly overshadowed the strong performance of quarterback Daniel Jones.

Jones completed 19 of 30 passes for 202 yards and a touchdown. More impressively, he added a career-high 107 rushing yards on 11 carries (9.7 avg.) with an additional score, and for the fourth time this year did not register a turnover. Jones as a 62.6 QBR this season, which ranks sixth in the NFL behind Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, Tua Tagovailoa, Geno Smith and Lamar Jackson. Additionally, Jones has registered 15 runs of 10+ yards, the fifth-most in the league trailing only Nick Chubb, Jackson, Josh Jacobs, and Barkley.

Time and time again, Jones has done whatever the team has needed in order to secure a victory. The fourth-year quarterback has quite literally lead the team to its best start since 2008. Jones leads the NFL with five game-winning drives and four fourth-quarter comebacks. Situations in which the team has mostly lost over the last few years, the Giants are now finding themselves on the winning side. Every game this season has finished as a one-possession contest, with their biggest win coming in the form of an eight-point victory over the Bears. They are winning close games, and Jones' calmness and leadership in the fourth quarter has played a significant role in doing so.


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