It was an early game of back and forths until the New York Giants pulled away with a 22-16 win over the New York Jets in a preseason game Friday night at MetLife Stadium.
The Giants defense started on a rough note, allowing an 11-play, 75-yard touchdown drive to start the game which included a few big third down conversions from the Jets’ offense.
A drive later, the Giants forced a three-and-out which resulted in a 55-yard punt return for a touchdown from Hunter Sharp.
Next was a deep pass from Eli Manning only to result in a strip of Jonathan Stewart in the red zone on the next play. The Jets finished that drive with a touchdown — and on it went.
The run game was a big focus during the day and early in the game, but that didn’t work out too well. Stewart got the start, carried the ball three times, lost 7 yards and the ball on the fumble. Wayne Gallman came in on the third drive and played into the second half. He had 11 carries for 23 yards along with four receptions on four targets for 19 yards.
Eli Manning was the most comfortable he looked during the preseason and thrived on play-action passes despite poor support on the ground (crazy how that works). He had six incompletions in his half of work — two were third-down drops from Hunter Sharp and a third appeared to be a miscommunication with Sharp in the end zone. He ended 17-of-23 for 188 yards (8.2 yards per attempt) with no touchdowns and no interceptions.
Sterling Shepard was the go-to receiver in the first half with seven receptions on seven targets for 78 yards. He moved around from the outside to the slot and won wherever he was positioned.
Early defensive struggles were a key in letting the Jets get out to an early lead. As has been the case through this preseason, the Jets picked on Eli Apple to start the game. The biggest issue came on the ground, where the Jets gashed the Giants on the first drive. There was again concern with linebackers in coverage. Terrelle Pryor had a 12-yard touchdown reception when he beat slot corner B.W. Webb across the field, but B.J. Goodson was slow to react and pick the receiver up before he turned the corner. But after the touchdown drive, the first-team defense turned it on and stopped the Jets offense.
Among the defensive starters, Dalvin Tomlinson stood out with a tackle for loss in the run game and a quarterback hit that forced an intentional grounding penalty from Sam Darnold.
Davis Webb had a 47-yard pass to Alonzo Russell, and finished 5-of-11 for 73 yards (6.6 YPA) with that 47-yard pass accounting for 64.3 percent of his passing yards.
Rookie Kyle Lauletta got a majority of the fourth quarter, but still came up with limited time to work. Late in the game with the lead, the Giants appeared more concerned with running out the clock than giving Lauletta reps in the passing game. He threw just two passes with one completion for 1-yard despite coming in with over 10 minutes left in the game.
With a shortage at running back, recent signee Jhurell Pressley took over after Gallman and looked smooth on his runs. He had 12 carries for 71 yards with a 20-yard run thrown in the mix.
Moments that mattered
Hunter Sharp’s 55-yard punt return for a touchdown tied the game 7-7 and might have won him a spot on the roster as a kick returner, even if his play as a wide receiver might indicate otherwise.
Looking Sharp! That's 55-yards to the house. #NYGvsNYJ pic.twitter.com/7mByKrdfD1— New York Giants (@Giants) August 25, 2018
Eli Manning had a deep 54-yard pass to Cody Latimer off play-action.
ICYMI: Eli Manning went DEEP to Cody Latimer for 54 yards #NYGvsNYJ pic.twitter.com/04wEMBHUud— New York Giants (@Giants) August 25, 2018
Sterling Shepard had an incredible grab down the field in tight coverage in the middle of the second quarter.
Big grab by @sterl_shep3 #NYGvsNYJ pic.twitter.com/cS1bXMicr4— New York Giants (@Giants) August 25, 2018
Tight end took a hit against the Jets. Rhett Ellison left the game early with what was later labeled an eye injury. Evan Engram left the game in the second quarter with a concussion.
The Giants will conclude their preseason at home against the New England Patriots next Thursday night at 7 p.m. ET.