From the “you-can’t-make-this-up” department: On the Giants’ first offensive play of the season … Ereck Flowers was called for a tripping penalty.
On the Giants’ third 2018 offensive play from scrimmage … Flowers was called for a holding penalty that took place so close to the Giants’ goal line that the Jaguars challenged the spot of the foul, believing it took place in the end zone and should have resulted in a safety.
In the end, the Jaguars didn’t need those two points anyway, defeating the Giants 20-15 in a game that exposed the Giants’ offensive line, revamped in the offseason with four new players, as still a weakness — much the way it was in the miserable 3-13 2017 season.
The maligned Flowers, the Giants’ 2015 first-round draft pick and the one returning player of the starting five, was so bad the new coaching staff moved him from left tackle to right tackle in an effort to help save his career and mask some of his deficiencies.
And, quite frankly, because they didn’t have anyone else better to put at right tackle.
Though it’s only one game, the move from the left side to the right side didn’t help Flowers, who remains a glaring weak link on the line.
Later in the first half, Flowers was schooled by Jaguars defensive end Lerentee McCray, who dusted him en route to sacking Eli Manning for a 7-yard loss inside of the two-minute warning.
And, on Manning’s deflected pass that turned into a Myles Jack interception and 32-yard return for a touchdown that provided the game-deciding points, Flowers was smoked by Jags defensive end Yannick Ngakoue, who hurried the Giants quarterback into throwing the ball before he wanted to.
“They had a pretty good fake blitz that put Ereck in a bind trying to block two guys,” Manning said.
“All I got to say is, man, I’ve got to get better,” Flowers told The Post as he hurried out of the locker room. “That’s it. I got nothing to say but I’ve got to get better and we’ve got to get better.”
Calais Campbell, who drew the two Flowers penalties on that first series, was actually somewhat complimentary of Flowers.
“He made a couple mistakes, but I actually think he played OK throughout the whole game in my opinion,’’ Campbell told The Post. “I like to think I’m a really good player and I’ve put a lot of people in that situation before. He didn’t want his quarterback to get hit so he took the penalties.’’
Campbell, too, complimented the Giants’ line in general, saying: “They did a good job against a bunch of really talented guys [on Jacksonville]and they played together. They used each other and supported each other well.’’
Not well enough — as evidenced by that opening series and by Manning being hurried too often.
“That was such a weird series,’’ said Nate Solder, who was signed to a $62 million free agent contract in the offseason. “We would make a play then have a penalty, make a play then have a penalty. I guess that was a microcosm of the way the whole game went. I don’t think that series affected the rest of the game. But we’ve got to clean things up.”
Beginning with Flowers.
Asked if anyone on the line encouraged Flowers after that nightmarish opening series, Solder said: “In the heat of the game when you don’t really know what’s going on, it’s hard to say anything at all. I’m sure he had some good plays and bad plays like I did. You just keep going forward as a team and improve.”