Jaguars 26, Giants 10

Tuesday, November 21st 2006, 6:34 am
By: News On 6

JACKSONVILLE, Florida (AP) _ Tom Coughlin's voice echoed through the locker room and permeated the closed doors. He was frustrated, disappointed and searching for answers.

It was hardly the way he imagined his homecoming would end.

Jacksonville's defense 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. The Jaguars (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 he unleashed a tirade on his team.

``Tom had every right to be upset with us, to be mad at us,'' Manning said. ``We're not playing well. ... Everyone was angry.''

Not the Jaguars.

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.

Jacksonville 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 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.''

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 by replay, and the Jaguars finally pulled away in a game that could have been much worse.

Taylor fumbled near the goal line. A penalty wiped out a sack and fumble that was returned for a touchdown. And the Jaguars settled mostly for field goals instead of touchdowns.

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,'' said Coughlin, who led the expansion franchise to the AFC championship game twice in its first five seasons. ``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.''