JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — New York Giants tight end Daniel Bellinger showed up in the locker room postgame looking like he had gone a few rounds. Another victory surely will help the rookie deal with some pain and swelling.
Bellinger was taken to a hospital with a bloody eye injury but returned in time to celebrate the Giants’ 23-17 win with coaches and teammates.
“I would say his eye looks terrible right now,” coach Brian Daboll said. “He looks like he took a pretty good hook shot. It’s pretty swollen.”
Bellinger appeared to take an inadvertent fist to the face — and probably a finger to the eye — from Jaguars rookie linebacker Devin Lloyd in the second quarter. Team trainers slipped on gloves to attend to Bellinger’s bloody face. He eventually was helped onto a cart and was ruled out after leaving the stadium for further evaluation. He was scheduled to fly back home with the team.
It was welcome news for the Giants, who won their fourth consecutive game and improved to 6-1 for the first time since 2008.
“Yeah, that was scary,” Giants quarterback Daniel Jones said. “Tough for him. He’s a tough guy. Made a lot of big plays for us and feel for him on that situation. That’s not something you see a whole lot. Feel for him and hope he’s all right.”
The Giants are hoping for the best regarding two other key injuries. Left guard Ben Bredeson (right knee) and right tackle Evan Neal (left knee) left the field on carts in the first half and were quickly ruled out.
Playing with backups did little to deter the Giants, who ran 17 times for 130 yards and a touchdown in the fourth quarter alone.
“Always tough to see guys go down,” Jones said. “Big players for us and key players for us. But I thought the guys came in, stepped up and played really well. … A lot of faith and confidence in them.”
No one should underestimate the Giants any longer. They traveled to Jacksonville as three-point underdogs, according to FanDuel Sportsbook, but handled as much, if not more, adversity than in any of their previous victories. Their six wins have come by a combined 27 points, and they’re the first in NFL history to start 6-1 or better and have each of their first seven games decided by one possession.
This one came down to the final play. Safeties Julian Love and Xavier McKinney stopped Jacksonville receiver Christian Kirk at the 1-yard line with no time on the clock, preserving the victory after Saquon Barkley and Jones each ran for more than 100 yards.
Jones finished with a career-high 107 yards on the ground. He had 35 yards rushing on a go-ahead drive and capped it with a 1-yard plunge with 5:31 remaining after consecutive penalties by Jacksonville moved the ball inches from the goal line.
Barkley finished with 110 yards on 24 carries, giving the Giants two 100-yard rushers for the first time since Brandon Jacobs (116) and Ahmad Bradshaw (103) accomplished the feat against Minnesota in 2010.
Are they for real? Well, the Giants are tired of having to answer that one.
“I really don’t even care for that question anymore,” McKinney said. “I’m kind of tired of answering it because it’s the same thing every week. Obviously, we know that. I really don’t care. We don’t care as a team. The only thing we can do is keep focusing on what we can do and keep getting better.”
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