It’s not often a 60-yard kick return can be overshadowed. But that’s what happens when a teammate racks up 227 return yards, including a 97-yard touchdown.
Welcome to Jerrel Jernigan’s world.
After David Wilson already tore off three returns of 50-plus yards, Jernigan ripped off his own chunk late in third quarter that set up Eli Manning and the offense with the ball at New Orleans’ 25. The long return came at a time when the Saints had clawed back to make it a one-possession game. Victor Cruz later scored on the ensuing possession to swing the momentum back.
“We kind of knew, the coach kind of knew, that they were going to kick it short because they didn’t want to kick it to David anymore,” Jernigan said. “So coach had already told me that they were going to kick it short and to scoot up. So I was expecting it anyway, and when it came, my kickoff return team did a good job of blocking and they got on their man early because it was a short kick. I had pretty much nothing to do but hit the hole. It was a big hole right there. Just hit it and run. But the bad part on me is I let the kicker catch me.”
Jernigan was part of a tweak in the return game last week against New Orleans that placed him as the off-returner to Wilson. The Giants have used multiple combinations and formations back there, but always with Wilson as the primary returner.
“It was a good switch-up because [Thomas Morstead] was so used to kicking indoors,” Jernigan said of the Saints’ kickoff man. “Coach didn’t want to have any mishit or him try to kick the ball away from David. So he wanted me back there just in case. I’m just doing the best I can do back there with getting those off-balls and blocking for David back there.”
Jernigan could now see more time back there with Wilson’s growing and needed role on offense. But all parties were coy on what to expect Sunday. All special teams coordinator Tom Quinn would say was that the team always has “two or three guys ready” and that Wilson is always part of the plan.
Quinn was also asked if it becomes a game of cat-and-mouse with teams trying to avoid the explosive returner.
“We’ve talked about that and we have adjustments ready,” Quinn said. “But I think teams are paid to do their job in this league and they’re going to do it to the best of their ability. They’re going to kick it deep and we have to block because Atlanta’s really good on kickoff coverage. That could happen, we have to have some adjustments ready, but I think they’ll kick and cover it.”
Tags: David Wilson, Jerrel Jernigan
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14:56 — Stevie Brown grabs his sixth interception on a tipped pass intended for Jimmy Graham (covered by Antrel Rolle). Brown returns it 21 yards down to the Saints’ 20.
13:18 — TOUCHDOWN GIANTS. David Wilson powers in for a 6-yard score. XP is good. NEW YORK 28, NEW ORLEANS 13 (Drive: 4 plays, 20 yards in 1:40)
*Mark Herzlich makes a big tackle on the ensuing return, pinning the Saints back at their own 12. Giants force a quick three-and-out.
11:22 — TOUCHDOWN GIANTS. Hakeem Nicks grabs his third touchdown of the season on a 25-yard pass from Eli manning. XP is good. NEW YORK 35, NEW ORLEANS 13 (Drive: 6 plays, 62 yards in 3:09)
8:07 — Saints march into Giants territory after a 62-yard pass from Drew Brees to Joe Morgan, their longest play of the day.
7:28 — TOUCHDOWN SAINTS. Sproles rushes 13 yards for the score. XP is good. NEW YORK 35, NEW ORLEANS 20 (Drive: 3 plays, 75 yards in 0:52)
6:36 — Victor Cruz hits the 100-yard mark (111) after a 34-yard catch from manning.
5:10 — Manning’s pass intended for Martellus Bennett is intercepted by Isa Abdul-Quddus. Saints take over on their own 32.
1:51 — TOUCHDOWN SAINTS. Darren Sproles takes a short pass from Brees nine yards into the end zone. XP is good. NEW YORK 35, NEW ORLEANS 27 (6 plays, 68 yards in 3:09)
*Jerrel Jernigan returns the ensuing kickoff 60 yards down to the Saints’ 25.
*Paid attendance announced at 81,437
0:00 — GIANTS 35, SAINTS 27
Tags: Antrel Rolle, David Wilson, Eli Manning, Hakeem Nicks, Jerrel Jernigan, Mark Herzlich, Martellus Bennett, Stevie Brown, Victor Cruz
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The Giants and New Orleans Saints meet for the 27th time in the regular season, with the Giants holding a 14-12 lead in the series. The two teams have never met in the postseason. In their last meeting, the Saints defeated the Giants, 49-24, in New Orleans on Monday Night Football in Week 12 of the 2011 regular season.
Kickoff: 4:25 PM ET
Location: MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, N.J.
Radio: WFAN 660AM/101.9FM
Weather: Light rain until 4pm. 44°F. Winds ENE at 5 to 10 mph.
24 CB Corey White
29 RB Chris Ivory
58 LB Scott Shanle
71 T Charles Brown
75 DT Tyrunn Walker
81 TE Michael Higgins
90 DE Turk McBride
Lineup changes: None
15:00 — Game Day Captains: Victor Cruz and Antrel Rolle along with season captains Eli Manning, Justin Tuck and Zak DeOssie. Giants win the coin toss and elect to receive. Saints defend the west goal.
*David Wilson returns the opening kickoff 58 yards down to the Saints’ 44 (Jerrel Jernigan was also back to receive)
13:30 — Giants fail to capitalize and go three-and-out.
12:46 — Will Hill and Stevie Brown force Marques Colston to fumble. Giants recover on Saints’ 45.
9:38 — TOUCHDOWN SAINTS. Elbert Mack intercepts Manning and returns it 73 yards to the end zone. XP is good. NEW ORLEANS 7, NEW YORK 0
9:25 — TOUCHDOWN GIANTS. Wilson returns the ensuing kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown and does a backflip for the exclamation point. XP is good. NEW YORK 7, NEW ORLEANS 7
*That was the Giants first kickoff return for a touchdown since Domenik Hixon did it Dec. 29, 2007.
6:57 — Antrel Rolle strips the ball from Jed Collins and Linval Joseph recovers. That’s two forced fumbles so far by Giants safeties.
4:28 — TOUCHDOWN GIANTS. Manning finds Martellus Bennett in the end zone for a six-yard score. XP is good. NEW YORK 14, NEW ORLEANS 7 (Drive: 4 plays, 35 yards in 2:24)
*That’s Bennett’s fifth of the season and second straight game with a touchdown.
2:04 — Hixon back to return the first punt of the game, not the usual Rueben Randle.
0:00 — GIANTS 14, SAINTS 7
Tags: Adewale Ojomo, Adrien Robinson, Antrel Rolle, David Wilson, Domenik Hixon, Eli Manning, Jerrel Jernigan, Justin Tuck, Kenny Phillips, Linval Joseph, Martellus Bennett, Marvin Austin, Rueben Randle, Ryan Torain, Stevie Brown, Travis Beckum, Tyler Sash, Victor Cruz, Will Hill, Zak DeOssie
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This week’s game is the 160th regular season meeting between the two teams, with the Giants leading the series, 92-63-4. The two teams have met twice in the postseason, with the series tied, 1-1. The Giants won the first game in 2012, at MetLife Stadium in Week 7 by a 27-23 score. The Giants have a 22-32-1 record on Monday Night Football, including a 4-2 record against the Redskins.
Kickoff: 8:30 PM ET
Location: FedEx Field, Landover, Md.
Weather: Clear. 57°F. Winds light and variable.
New York Lineup Changes
» 72 Osi Umenyiora will start at RE
Washington Lineup Changes
*Keith Rivers gets the start at linebacker. That’s the fourth time of the season for Rivers in seven games played.
14:50 — An early challenge from Mike Shanahan gives the Redskins a first down. Washington challenged where Paulsen went out of bounds.
12:54 — After forcing Washington to punt on the opening drive, Eli Manning hooks up with Bear Pascoe for a first down on the first play. It was Pascoe’s first catch since Week 5 against Cleveland.
10:54 — Coincidentally, Jerrel Jernigan also gets his first catch since that same Browns game, good for nine yards and another first down.
9:40 — Expected to see a larger role, David Wilson gets his first touch — a toss which he turns into a five-yard gain.
6:27 — FIELD GOAL GIANTS. Lawrence Tynes makes a 39-yard attempt. NEW YORK 3, WASHINGTON 0 (Drive: 11 plays, 69 yards in 6:32)
4:27 — TOUCHDOWN REDSKINS. Robert Griffin III rushed for 12 yards, fumbles, but is recovered by Josh Morgan, who takes it in for the score. XP is GOOD. WASHINGTON 7, NEW YORK 3
3:14 — Manning unable to hook up with Victor Cruz streaking downfield.
2:28 — Ahmad Bradshaw takes a direct snap for 14 yards. He has 40 yards on 7 carries so far.
Tags: Ahmad Bradshaw, Bear Pascoe, Chase Blackburn, Chris Snee, David Wilson, Eli Manning, Jerrel Jernigan, Justin Tuck, Keith Rivers, Lawrence Tynes, Victor Cruz, Zak DeOssie
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0:00 — GIANTS 3, PATRIOTS 3
1:13 — Jernigan shows what he brings to the table with a 25-yard catch-and-run, injecting the stadium with some life before the final quarter of the preseason.
7: 40 — FIELD GOAL: GIANTS. Lawrence Tynes knocks in a 34-yarder. He is now 7/7 this preseason. Giants 3, Patriots 3 (drive: 13 plays, 64 yards in 7:30)
9:10 — WR Ramses Barden hauls in his fourth catch of the night. He currently leads all receivers in receptions and yards (31).
13:24 — RB Andre Brown breaks a 16-yard run. Brown is getting the bulk of the carries now, has been featured on seven plays during the current drive.
15:00 — Giants will receive the ball to start the second half.
Tags: Andre Brown, Jerrel Jernigan, Lawrence Tynes, Ramses Barden
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0:00 — Giants 16, Jets 3 (key stat: David Carr is 4/6 for 86 yards in a quarter of work)
1:52 – WR Jerrel Jernigan gets into the mix with a 19-yard catch-and run. It was his second reception of the night.
3:28 – Jets kicker Nick Folk clanks in a 30-yard field goal, bringing the score to 16-3 in favor of the Giants.
11:55 — FIELD GOAL. Lawrence Tynes makes a 40-yard kick, his third of the night (35, 30, 40). Giants 16, Jets 0 (drive: 7 plays, 58 yds, 3:08).
14:25 – Rookie WR Rueben Randle makes an impressive leaping catch down the middle of the field for a 49-yard gain from Carr.
15:00 – Backup quarterback David Carr subs in for Eli Manning.
Tags: David Carr, Jerrel Jernigan, Lawrence Tynes, Rookies, Rueben Randle
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