Here are four takes from the Giants’ 32-31 victory over the Jets Saturday in the annual “Snoopy Bowl” at MetLife Stadium.
JETS’ QUARTERBACKS: To no one’s surprise, Christian Hackenberg got the start and faced the biggest test of his career against the Giants’ defense. Early on, he didn’t pass the test.
Hackenberg couldn’t get comfortable in the pocket and was easy pretty for the G-Men with a late pass that resulted in a pick six, and he also suffered a sack as he was being chased like a frenzied rabbit. He did manage to avoid more sacks with some runs out of the pocket and had did connect on some passes. But he later had another pick six and a sack. He left at halftime with 8 completions from 15 attempts for 60 yards.
Bryce Petty started the third quarter and again looked composed in the West Coast offense hitting 15 of 18 passes for 250 yards, in spite of facing the second- and third-units. Still, Petty may had the NFL game of his career with three touchdown passes, the latter on a nice roll out of the pocket and then he found ArDarius Stewart alone in the end zone.
Unfortunately, Petty got rolled by one of his linemen and suffered a left leg injury. He was scheduled to have an MRI Sunday.
Hackenberg came back into the game and hit Frankie Hammond on a strong pass to the corner of the end zone that brought the Jets to 32-31. Elijah McGuire was stopped short on the two-point conversion that certainly would have been a nice lift for the Jets.
Josh McCown was a no-show, predictably after his basically inactive practice week. It will be interesting to see if he starts against Philadelphia Thursday, playing in a game against non-starters battling for jobs. If he does, McCown had only one series against a first-team defense. There have been rumors that he may have an arm injury.
Does Hackenberg return against the Eagles? How long will Petty be sidelined? The quarterback lottery for the season opener continues.
GIANTS’ QUARTERBACKS: The Giants’ quarterback is clearer, and it is beginning to fall into place.
Josh Johnson or Geno Smith didn’t look overly impressive to gain an upper hand in the backup role to Eli Manning. More of the spotlight was on Smith, playing against his ex-mates. He completed 5 of 10 passes for 51 yards and had a sack. Johnson did hit 4 of 6 passes for 67 yards and also had a sack. Johnson had the better numbers, but he had a workmanlike effort. A slight nod would go to Johnson against the Jets, but Smith looked the better in the first two games.
Rookie Davis Webb saw some action late, and he had respectable showing. He should get the bulk of the work Thursday.
Manning, by the way, looked sharp connecting on 7 of 14 passes for 121 yards. His lone blemish was an interception by the Jets’ Justin Burris.
DEFENSES: In a battle of top defenses, the Giants easily stole the night. Jason Pierre-Paul harassed Hackenberg and led the defense that bottled up the Jets’ offense and recorded a safety. Landon Collins jumped his receiver and easily high-stepped his way to the end zone. Later, Janoris Jenkins blasted Robbie Anderson and Donte Deayon caught the ball and retuned it for six points.
The Jets’ defense was just a notch below as they didn’t show the same tenacity and speed exhibited against the Lions last week. Sheldon Richardson seemingly was all over the field, but Leonard Williams suffered a wrist injury. Their secondary had their troubles most of the opening half.
On a positive note, linebackers Julian Stanford and Josh Martin had strong games and continued to solidify a potential roster spot.
STANDOUTS: The Jets were glad to see running back Matt Forte back (10 carries, 43 yards) and Bilal Powell also shared some of the spotlight (7-32, 4 catches, 110 yards, 85-yard TD catch). Stewart got in the mix with his most productive outing (5 catches, 82 yards, 2 TDs) and fellow rookie Chad Hanson (2 for 45).
The Giants Sterling Shepard and Evan Engram again showed why they will be important contributors. Rookie Travis Rudolph had a busy game and certainly gained ground with some eye-opening catches (3-81). Fellow rookie Wayne Gallman ran hard in the second half and accumulated 43 yards on 12 carries.