In the third MetLife Bowl preseason game between the New York Giants and New York Jets, fans saw plenty of great things to cheer about and while at the same time; plenty of really bad things to be concerned over that the Giants did on the field at MetLife Stadium on Saturday night.
In one of the more exciting ways to start the game; after the Giants defense forced rookie quarterback Geno Smith and the Jets offense to punt the ball, Giants running back David Wilson took the first hand-off on offense and was off to the races and was untouched for 84 yards and into the end zone, as the Giants went up 7-0. Wilson was starting tonight for the Giants over Andre Brown and he certainly made the most of his opportunity with that touchdown run.
On the next possession, the Jets, lead by Smith, drove his offense down the field 86 yards on eight plays, which lead to Smith throwing a 22-yard touchdown pass to Ben Obomanu and tied the game at 7-7. During that drive, the Giants defense got called for four straight penalties, which certainly did not make Tom Coughlin happy on the sidelines.
With 4:42 left to go in the first quarter, the Giants forced the first of several turnovers against Smith, as Prince Amukamara ripped the ball out of Ryan Spadola's hands for an interception at the Giants own 39-yard-line. The Giants weren't able to convert the turnover into any points though and were forced to punt the ball away on the next drive.
On the Jets next drive, the Giants put the pressure onto Smith and forced him to throw his second interception of the game to Stevie Brown, who returned it for 22 yards, but on the return, went down in pain on the field, as he was holding his knee in pain. The trainers helped him off the field and left with what was being called a sprained knee, but would have an MRI for further testing and evaluation.
The Giants got Brown's interception on the Jets 23-yard line, but were only able to move one yard on the drive, which set up a Josh Brown 40-yard field goal, which made it 10-7 Giants.
In the second quarter, Smith went to throw a short pass, but wasn't paying attention to who was in front of him, and had his third pass of the night intercepted by Justin Tuck, as the Giants defense was creating havoc against the rookie and winning the turnover battle on the night. On the next drive, the Giants got the ball to the Jets 35-yard-line to set up a 53-yard field goal attempt by Brown, but he missed it wide left, which kept the score at 10-7.
When the Giants got the ball again, the started on their own 19-yard-line; two pass interference calls on Kyle Wilson defending Hakeem Nicks, plus a 34-yard completion from Eli Manning to Hakeem Nicks got the team inside the Jets two-yard line, but the Giants turned the ball over on downs when Manning's pass to Nicks on fourth down was incomplete and knocked away, which lead to the score staying 10-7 Giants at halftime.
In the third quarter, Smith stayed out on the field for the Jets to get as many reps in as he could. He started the Jets drive from their own 43-yard-line and drove the Jets 57 yards, which ended with Bilal Powell scoring from two-yard out and the Jets took the lead at 14-10. On the next drive, Curtis Painter started his team's drive on the 14-yard line and lead a 12-play drive down to the Jets 15-yard line, which set up Brown's second field goal of the night, a 33-yard make, which cut the lead down to 14-13.
The Giants once again caused another turnover on defense when Smith completed a pass to Stephen Hill, but had the ball ripped out of his hands and the fumble was picked up by Tyler Sash at the Jets 42-yard-line. However, the Giants failed to capitalize on the turnover, as they punted the ball back without scoring any points.
Smith really showed his rookie colors on the Jets next offensive possession, as he rolled back to pass, but forgot where his footing was, as he stepped out of bounds in the back of the end zone for a safety, which gave the Giants the lead at 15-14. The Giants got the ball back on the free kick, but again, weren't able to convert more points to increase their lead.
In the fourth quarter, with Mark Sanchez playing for Smith, Sanchez fumbled the snap, which was recovered by Giants middle linebacker Mark Herzlich at the Jets 39-yard-line. The Giants were only able to move the ball seven yards on the next drive, but it did set up a 50-yard try for Brown, which he drilled right down the middle and put them up 18-14. Sanchez ended up leaving the game due to suffering a shoulder injury and went to the locker room to have the injury checked on.
With less than three minutes left in the game, Jets quarterback Matt Simms, son of former Giants quarterback Phil Simms. threw a 22-yard touchdown pass to Spadola, which allowed the Jets to re-take the lead at 21-18. The Giants, lead by Painter, got the ball down to the Jets 22-yard-line with :45 left, which set up a game-tying field goal by Brown from 40 yards, which tied the game at 21-21 and sent the preseason game into overtime.
The Giants won the coin toss and elected to receive, but on the first play in overtime, Da'Rel Scott fumbled the ball, which was recovered by the Jets on the Giants own 26-yard-line, setting them up for excellent field goal position. Nick Folk came in to kick what would be the game-winning 39-yard field goal, but first, Coughlin called time out to ice him. On the actual attempt, Folk hooked it right and missed, thus allowing the game to continue.
After the Giants punted the ball back to the Jets, Simms got the Jets to the 15-yard-line of the Giants, setting up a 32-yard field goal for veteran Billy Cundiff, who drilled it down the middle, and gave the Jets a 24-21 overtime win in the preseason and were the winners of the third annual MetLife Bowl game in the preseason.
For the Giants, the biggest positives of the game were causing five turnovers against the Jets; three of which came by interceptions against the rookie Smith. The other major positive was Wilson, who really showed everyone just how talented he is when he gets into open space and shows off his speed.
The injury to Brown is very concerning, as the team can only hope it is just a knee sprain and he won't miss any significant time as a result of making a great interception on defense.
A major setback for the Giants was their inability to covert a lot of their turnovers on defense into points, especially touchdowns, as Brown was a busy guy again making four field goals in five attempts. If the Giants had turned some of those drives into touchdowns instead of field goals, they might have been able to win by a decent margin and the game doesn't go into overtime.
Coughlin and his coaching staff will have a lot to look over before their final preseason game, which will be on Thursday night at Gillette Stadium against the New England Patriots; a team that won't have as many players on it, as the first round of cuts will be coming this weekend, as rosters will get knocked down from 90 to 75, which must be done before August 27. The final roster of 53 players must be decided upon by August 31.
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