The Giant Insider Online

Giants Topple Jets, 22-16, in Snoopy Bowl

We know it’s a preseason game and we shouldn’t read too much into it, but that’s what we do here. The third preseason game is considered the “dress rehearsal” for the regular season and the New York Giants and New York Jets treated their game as such by playing their starters for the entire first half and then some.

These teams probably won’t play many night games this season and especially ones where the temperature is in the high 70s. The Jets were home and the crowd was sparse, but the energy was high and the action was aplenty.

It doesn’t make a load of sense to assess the second and third strings because unless something drastic happens, those units won’t be on the field together in the regular season. In short, the Giants led 19-13 at halftime with each team managing a field goal in the second half.

The Giants played the game without their two most explosive players — wide receivers Odell Beckham Jr. and running back Saquon Barkley — which gave their understudies more reps to shine, or falter, but their absence was more than noticeable.

Quarterback Eli Manning has still got it. Playing just the first half, he hit on 17-of-23 passes for 188 with no touchdowns and no interceptions. He also didn’t take a sack and moved well in the pocket. He had two crucial third downs ruined by wide receiver Hunter Sharp, who failed to reel in a pass that would have been a first down and then dropped another wide open in space.

The Giants still can’t run the ball effectively with their starters and without Saquon Barkley. In the first half, Jonathan Stewart rushed for minus-7 yards and lost a fumble in the red zone. Wayne Gallman didn’t fare much better gaining just eight yards on seven attempts.

Wide receiver Sterling Shepard continued his strong preseason catching all seven targets for 78 yards, while Cody Latimer hauled in a big 54-yard pass. The offensive line didn’t allow a sack, but was far from dominant.

The defense struggled early against the Jets’ short passing game and rookie Sam Darnold, but settled down after the first series. The first string defense tightened up and basically throttled the Jets for the remainder of the game. The only other noise the Jets made was in their fourth series when Terrelle Pryor caught crossing pattern in the red zone and beat B.W. Webb to the front corner of the end zone for a touchdown.

The Giants are also much better on special teams. In the first half alone, they had a 55-yard punt return for a touchdown by Hunter Sharp and a pretty, tightrope-like return by Kalif Raymond for 35 yards. Linebacker Ray Ray Armstrong and defensive back Michael Thomas teamed up to force a fumble on a kickoff that resulted in another three points for Big Blue.

Kicker Aldrick Rosas booted five of his six kickoffs into the end zone with three going for touchbacks. In addition, he connected on four field goals and a point after attempt. Riley Dixon punted five times, landing three inside the 20.

On the injury front, the Giants lost two tight ends. Their best two, unfortunately. Rhett Ellison went to the locker room with an eye issue in the first half and didn’t return. Evan Engram suffered a concussion when sandwiched by Jets linebackers Avery Williamson and Darron Lee attempting to reel in a pass over the middle. That ended his night.

Overall, the Giants have to be pleased with some of the aspects of their performance. They certainly look like a much better football team that they did last season, so that’s a great sign for Giants fans.

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