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Jets 28, Giants 18: "Kudos & Wet Willies" review

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Let's look at who played well and who didn't for the Giants on Saturday night.

Eli Manning watches Antono Cromartie return an interception for a touchdown
Eli Manning watches Antono Cromartie return an interception for a touchdown
Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

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Let's look back at Saturday night's 28-18 MetLife Bowl loss by your New York Giants to the New York Jets in our traditional "Kudos & Wet Willies" fashion. There was a lot to look at in this one, so let's get started.

Kudos to ...

Manning to Beckham -- They didn't do any real damage, but at least  Eli Manning and Odell Beckham finally connected on a few passes. Beckham had five first-half catches in six targets for 31 yards. Those are Beckham's only catches of the preseason.

Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie -- The Jets challenged DRC deep two or three times, and he was equal to the challenge each time.

Uani Unga -- The impressive middle linebacker made an appearance with the first-team defense in the nickel package on the first Jets' offensive series of the game. That tells you the Giants are looking seriously at him. Unga had another active night with eight tackles.

Ereck Flowers -- Another good night for the rookie left tackle. He swallows up defenders when run blocking, and he is a mountain to get around as a pass blocker.

Jerome Cunningham -- Continued his bid for a roster spot with two catches for 30 yards, including a touchdown. He also drew a penalty flag in the end zone on a pass attempt from Manning.

Wet Willies to ...

Kick coverage -- A 54-yard punt return allowed for a touchdown. A 44-yard kickoff return surrendered. An offsides on a kickoff by Geremy Davis that cost the Giants eight yards of field position. Not good. I don't know who was at fault on the punt return. Robert Malone hit a 52-yard punt that appeared to have plenty of hang time, but there was no one in the vicinity when the ball was caught. A bright spot on special teams was the kickoff return work of Dwayne Harris, who had two returns for 58 yards, an average of 29 yards per return.

Justin Pugh -- Pugh will be a terrific left guard, and you have to remain excited about the Pugh-Ereck Flowers combination on that side of the line. Not a good night for Pugh, though. Two penalties and a sack allowed in the first half. An illegal hands to the face penalty and then the sack came on back-to-back plays. Can't allow one bad play to lead to another.

First-team defense -- The run defense gave up 4.8 yards per carry to the Jets in the first half (14 rushes, 67 yards). That is pretty much exactly what the Giants did a year ago, and that's not good enough. Ryan Fitzpatrick went 9-of-14 for 127 yards, two touchdowns and a 133.0 passer rating. Yes, Ryan Fitzpatrick. The Giants' pass rush, if you can call it that, pretty much never laid a glove on him.

Injuries -- Defensive end Robert Ayers somehow suffered an ankle injury in pre-game warmups. Are you serious? You just can't make this stuff up. Rookie offensive lineman Bobby Hart left the game with a knee injury.

Jeromy Miles -- Miles was victimized on the 18-yard touchdown pass from Fitzpatrick to Eric Decker. He didn't recognize Decker running the post until it was too late and Decker was past him for an easy score. It was just one play, but perhaps it illustrates why Miles has been a backup most of his career. And why the Giants have an issue at the safety position.

Kwillies to ...

Eli Manning -- A nice first half, except for that final throw, which Antonio Cromartie turned into a game-altering Pick 6. Give Cromartie credit for making a nice break on the ball. It looked like intended target James Jones sat down in an open area and didn't really come back on the ball. Questionable judgment by Manning to throw that ball, though. With no timeouts and less than 20 seconds to go even if he completed the pass the half could easily run out before the Giants spike the ball to try a field goal. Otherwise, though, 12-of-16 for 91 yards. Manning also engineered a 14-play, 85-yard touchdown drive.

James Jones -- Four second-half catches as the veteran wide receiver continued to show why he almost certainly will make the 53-man roster. He is here, though, because of the Pick 6 and because he got stripped of the ball after a third-quarter catch. I don't know if Jones was paritally at fault on the Pick 6, but the question is nagging at me.

Final Thoughts

Obviously, not a great night for the Giants. Six first-half penalties. A Pick 6 surrendered. Gaffes on special teams. Some poor work from the front-line defense. All undeniable.

I am, however, tossing a penalty flag or handing out an additional "Wet Willie" to all of the bridge jumpers. You know who are. Writing off the season already, calling for Tom Coughlin, Jerry Reese and everyone else to be fired.

Preseason results are meaningless, people. They don't count. We knew the safety position would be an issue, and it is. The Giants are working to figure it out. We knew the defense would take time, and that perhaps without Jason Pierre-Paul the pass rush would struggle.

There are concerning signs, of course. It is, however, still August. A lot can happen, so let's not decide that this season is over before it has even officially begun.