Boss makes second half memorable

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The first three quarters of Sunday's Giants-Jaguars game certainly aren't going to make it onto Kevin Boss' personal highlight reel.

But the last one will make the cut.

Boss bounced back from a forgettable first half by hauling in the game-winning touchdown late in the fourth quarter, helping the Giants turn what could have been a season-killing loss to Jacksonville into what may be a season-defining 24-20 win.

Boss' 32-yard touchdown catch with 3:24 to play gave the Giants their first since the 9:53 mark of first quarter.

Tom Coughlin called the catch "a big play by a guy that gives us those kind of plays."

Boss said he ran a hot read on the play, a third-and-10 from the Jacksonville 32 in which the Jags sent an all-out blitz at Eli Manning. Boss found open space, made the catch and slipped safety Courtney Greene's tackle, giving him a clear path to the end zone.

"It's important to be on the same page as the quarterback, and Eli and I were both able to see the pressure coming," said Boss, who finished with a game-high 74 receiving yards on three catches. "I was able to read it hot, and he threw me a pretty easy ball and I had some room to run."

"It was a really, really outstanding time for him to [do] that," Coughlin added.

The game-winning grab made up for a frustrating first half for Boss.

With the Giants' offense was down two starting receivers, Manning and the coaches were looking at Boss to step up.

Instead, he was flagged for a holding penalty that nullified a Mario Manningham touchdown catch in the second quarter, his second penalty of the game. He also had a drop in the second, finishing the half with two targets and no catches as the Giants walked off the field to boos, trailing Jacksonville 17-6.

Boss' gaffes and no-show in the opening half took on a greater importance because Derek Hagan and Michael Clayton, whom the Giants added due to injuries to starters Steve Smith (pectoral) and Hakeem Nicks (lower leg), were ineffective.

Hagan caught two balls in the first half for 21 yards. Clayton was targeted once, midway through the fourth quarter with the Giants facing a third-and-8 from their own 26. Manning threw outside and Clayton broke inside, and the ball sailed away incomplete.

"Everybody was doing the right thing, it was just a matter of executing," Manning said of his new receivers.

Boss started to execute with 39 seconds to go in the third quarter, when he came up with a 17-yard reception on the first play of the Giants' game-tying touchdown drive. After Brandon Jacobs' 17-yard run, Boss hauled in a 25-yard catch to put the Giants on the Jacksonville 29-yard line, setting up Manning's touchdown pass to Manningham two plays later. Ahmad Bradshaw's two-point conversion tied the score at 17-17.

Boss capped the quarter with the game-winning touchdown grab, turning a forgettable day into one of the best of his career.

"I made a few mistakes in the beginning of the game. I had that drop, so I just wanted to come back and make a play or two," Boss said. "I'm just glad I had the opportunity to come back and make up for that."

Ian Begley is a regular contributor to ESPNNewYork.com.

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