New York Giants Hang on in 32-31 Win Over Jets

New York Giants defensive backs Landon Collins and Dontae Deayon each returned interceptions thrown by Jets starting quarterback Christian Hackenberg, and running back Orleans Darkwa scored the offense’s first touchdown of the preseason as the New York Giants held on to a 32-31 preseason win over the New York Jets.

“I thought (in) the first half, the first group on both sides came out with the right mindset in the third preseason game,” Giants head coach Ben McAdoo said. “It was nice to see the defense put up the points that they put up in the ball game early.”

The offensive frustration continued in the early going for the Giants (1-2), who ventured into Jets territory before quarterback Eli Manning, pressured by defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson thanks to a missed block by right guard John Jerry, was intercepted by cornerback Juston Burris.

Two plays later, however, the Giants defense bailed the offense out when defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul brought down running back Matt Forte in his own end zone for the 2-0 lead.

Afterwards, guard/center Brett Jones, who earned first team snaps at guard during practice this week, subbed in for Jerry, and the Giants finally earned offensive prosperity, picking up 117 yards and five first downs with Jones in that spot.

“I don’t worry what the coaches’ decisions are,” Jones said when asked if he felt he was competing for a starting job. “I’ve just got to go out and perform and that’s just the way I look at it. I control what I can control, and I’m going to go out and perform the best I can and execute at the highest level I can.”

After an Aldrick Rosas 24-yard field goal and Collins’ turnover, the Giants’ offense got in on the touchdown craze when Darkwa punched it in from a yard out to give the Giants a 19-0 lead at the end of the first quarter. The 1-yard score was set up by a 17-yard pass from Manning to wide receiver Roger Lewis on 4th-and-3 one play before.

Deayon got in on the fun with the Giants up 22-3, benefiting from cornerback Janoris Jenkins’s crushing hit on Jets’ wide receiver Robby Anderson. The ball squirted free from Anderson’s grasp, and Deayon took it 36 yards to create the 29-3 halftime score.

“I just read the quarterback,” Deayon said, recalling the play. “Robert (Thomas) got some good pressure on him. (Jenkins) made a nice play and it popped in my hands. Then I was just trying to get into the end zone.”

It was another banner day for the Giants’ defensive starters. In addition to his safety, Pierre-Paul also had a sack of Hackenberg, as did safety Darian Thompson. The Jets’ second-round pick from 2016, who was also sacked by linebacker Jonathan Casillas, was harassed all night by Giants defenders, finishing the game 12-for-21 for 126 yards.

Meanwhile, Manning ended the night 7-for-14 for 121 yards, but the Giants still failed to develop any clarity in their backup situation. He was relieved by Josh Johnson, who went 4-for-6 for 67 yards, though 57 of those came on a highlight grab by Travis Rudolph. Afterwards, Geno Smith went 5-for-10 for 51 yards, and rookie Davis Webb played a couple of uneventful drives, going 2-for-4 for 20 yards.

As for the Giants’ receivers, Rudolph led the way with 81 yards on a trio of receptions, while wide receiver Sterling Shepard and tight end Evan Engram had two grabs each for 47 and 32 yards respectively.

The Jets got on the board late in the game via three Bryce Petty touchdowns, two to wide receiver ArDarius Stewart (29 yards) and running back Bilal Powell (85 yards) in the third, followed by another 15-yard strike to Stewart in the fourth quarter.

Petty (15-of 18, 250 yards) left the Jets’ final drive with an apparent ankle injury, forcing Hackenberg back in the game. Hackenberg found Frankie Hammond from 17 yards out with 1:26 to go, but running back Elijah McGuire was stopped at the goal line on the ensuing two-point conversion.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffMags5490