JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP)—Tom Coughlin’s homecoming ended with a locker room tirade.
It’s OK coach, you’re not alone. The Jacksonville Jaguars’ defense tends to frustrate just about everyone.
The Jaguars wore all black, Jack Del Rio sported a blue tie, and Jacksonville’s defense followed suit Monday night with a thorough bruising of the New York Giants.
The Jaguars forced three turnovers, pressured Eli Manning into several poor throws and held Tiki Barber to a season-low 27 yards rushing in a 26-10 victory over the injury-riddled Giants. Jacksonville (6-4) rebounded from an embarrassing loss to Houston and spoiled Coughlin’s first game in Jacksonville since getting fired four years ago.
“We just didn’t play well, and there’s no excuse for it,” Coughlin said. “This was a big, disappointing game for us.”
Coughlin was much less diplomatic in the locker room, where his screaming voice could be heard through the closed doors.
“Tom had every right to be upset with us, to be mad at us,” Manning said. “We’re not playing well. … Everyone was angry.”
David Garrard, who had four interceptions against the Texans, threw for 249 yards and ran for 31 more. Josh Scobee kicked four field goals. Fred Taylor and Maurice Drew combined for 124 yards rushing and two touchdowns.
As well as the Jaguars offense played, the defense was even better.
The Jaguars harassed Manning into numerous mistakes and bottled up Barber like few teams have in recent years. Barber’s 27 yards were his lowest since Nov. 30, 2003 against Buffalo, when he finished with 20 yards on 12 carries.
“It was a pretty pitiful performance all the way around,” Barber said. “I’m shocked our running game could be this unproductive.”
The Giants (6-4) dropped their second straight after a five-game winning streak. They played without defensive ends Michael Strahan (foot) and Osi Umenyiora (hip), cornerback Sam Madison (quadriceps), linebacker Brandon Short (quad) and offensive tackle Luke Petitgout (leg).
The injuries certainly contributed to the poor showing.
Jacksonville’s defense, meanwhile, lost another starter of its own—but didn’t miss a beat.
Already playing without their best tackler in Mike Peterson and best pass rusher in Reggie Hayward, the Jaguars lost safety Donovin Darius for the season in the first quarter with a broken leg. It’s the second consecutive season that ended early for Darius, who missed most of last year after tearing a ligament in his left knee.
He’ll be missed in the Jaguars’ secondary, but on Monday night, Jacksonville got along fine without him.
Manning finished 19-of-41 for 230 yards, most of which came after the game was decided.
“Mainly,” Manning said, “I’ve got to start playing better football.”
Manning said he wouldn’t lose confidence in himself, but lamented that the Giants are “not on the same page” and conceded that they have work to do.
“We have to regroup and try to get this thing turned around,” Barber said.
Although the Jaguars dominated much of the game, the Giants looked like they might cut into a 16-10 lead when Manning connected with Plaxico Burress for a 53-yard gain early in the fourth quarter. But the catch was overturned, and the Jaguars finally pulled away in a game that could have been much worse.
Garrard found Matt Jones over the middle for a 49-yard gain, then Drew scored from 3 yards out to make it 23-10.
Garrard’s best play, though, may have been a run—a few plays after the Giants made it 13-10 in the third.
Manning completed a screen pass to Burress that went for a 25-yard score, making it a three-point game. Burress made two nice moves to avoid defenders Brian Williams and Gerald Sensabaugh to get to the end zone, finishing a 70-yard drive that was kept alive by a penalty. The hands-to-the-face penalty against Rashean Mathis wiped out a sack and fumble that Jacksonville’s Paul Spicer scooped up and returned for an apparent touchdown.
The score would have been 20-3. Instead, Manning’s TD pass made it considerably closer.
On the ensuing drive, though, Garrard came up big.
Facing a third-and-5 at the New York 38, Reggie Torbor zeroed in on Garrard in the backfield. Garrard somehow spun out of the tackle near midfield and scrambled for 17 yards.
His run set up Scobee’s third field goal.
“I felt like I played pretty decent,” Garrard said. “I’m still learning, still have room to grow. The thing I really feel good about is coming back after last week. This was a chance for me to show where I was.”
Taylor’s 10-yard run put the Jags ahead 10-3 in the second quarter. Jacksonville would have led by two touchdowns at the half if Taylor, close to scoring again, hadn’t fumbled into the end zone. Antonio Pierce recovered to keep the game close.
Jacksonville wore all black for the fourth time in franchise history. Coughlin’s successor, Jack Del Rio, was dressed for the occasion, too, sporting a spiffy black dress suit the NFL granted him permission to wear.
The Jacksonville coach wore a white shirt and completed the ensemble with a teal-blue tie with black and white stripes and a gold Jaguars lapel pin.
On the opposite sideline, Coughlin mostly just wore a grim look.
“We weren’t successful,” Coughlin said. “It was a very disappointing game for us. There are an awful lot of plays that we’re leaving out on the field. We’re just not making any plays.”
He was the Jaguars’ first coach and led the expansion franchise to the AFC championship game twice in its first five seasons. He was fired after the 2002 season, leaving with a 68-60 record that included two AFC Central titles and four playoff appearances.
“It felt good to beat him,” Garrard said. “But it also feels good that he brought me into this league, that he saw something in me to believe I could play.”
Scobee has made 15 consecutive field goals. … New York’s 25 yards rushing was a franchise record for the Jaguars. … Jags WR Ernest Wilford caught five passes for 72 yards, but sprained his right ankle late in the game and had to be helped to the locker room. … TE Jeremy Shockey led the Giants with seven catches for 82 yards.