The Giants claimed the Snoopy trophy in a battle of MetLife Stadium tenants Friday night. But more importantly, the offense finally showed some life in the 35-24 victory.
The starters were expected to play a little more, but head coach Tom Coughlin got the first team out at halftime off an impressive drive put a touchdown on the board with five seconds left.
The Jets took a 10-0 lead midway through the second quarter on a 31-yard field goal and a touchdown catch by rookie tight end Jace Amaro.
But that final drive of the first half by the Giants was probably the best they’ve put together all preseason under new offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo. Eli Manning took over at his own 9-yard line and drove it 91 yards on 11 plays in just 1:48 to pull within 10-7 at the half. Manning hit Jerrel Jernigan on back-to-back completions for 14 yards to start the drive. He followed those two completions with two straight to Victor Cruz for 16 yards and 18 yards respectively. He found Cruz again for 18 yards, and Jernigan for eight yards to get into the red zone. He finished the drive off with a 15-yard touchdown pass to Rueben Randle.
It all came from the shotgun and hurry-up offense. Maybe the two-minute drill unlocked something with this passing game.
We take a look at what else we learned about this Giants’ team.
1. Nassib can play
Ryan Nassib has put together a brilliant preseason. The second-year QB out of Syracuse led the second-half comeback which put the Snoopy Bowl trophy back on the blue side of MetLife. He threw for three touchdowns in the second half and showed the full arsenal in his repertoire. He hit Henry Hynoski on a little dump off to start the second half and later found Preston Parker on a 39-yard touchdown and Corey Washington on a 31-yard score.
It’s hard to say what a legitimate threat in Nassib really means, though. Obviously Manning is the man going forward, but maybe Nassib becomes a trade chip. At worst, he’s clearly won the back-up job over Curtis Painter — who didn’t play Friday — and may not be an automatic loss if he has to fill in for Manning in a pinch.
2. Washington front and center
Coughlin discussed giving wide receiver Corey Washington, among others, more playing time with the first-team offense after a tremendous preseason. No such luck. And it was really disappointing because Washington again looked impressive in the fourth quarter with his fourth touchdown of the preseason. Maybe it’s just the chemistry with Nassib. Maybe it’s just going against second- and third-team defenders. We still don’t know.
But Washington has clearly made this team, and not just as a practice squad member. He’s shown a lot more than Mario Manningham, who’s clinging to the roster purely due to his name only.
Washington’s fellow preseason surprise, Marcus Harris, was banged up in the first half. We’ll have to see how badly he was hurt, but it would be disappointing if injury cost him a spot on the 53-man roster.
3. Moore to see
Damontre Moore had a quiet rookie season, and his second preseason had been fairly quiet as well. But he broke out Friday night with an impressive performance. He finished with four tackles, three for loss, two sacks and two QB hits. While much of that damage was done in the second half, he still showed he can be a contributor in his second season in blue. He has unusual speed for a 6-foot-5 defensive end. He may never be a starting defensive end, but his speed off the edge makes him a deadly back-up. When Jason Pierre-Paul and Mathias Kiwanuka need a breather, Moore can still make sure someone is causing havoc in the backfield.
Follow Metro New York Sports Editor Mark Osborne on Twitter @MetroNYSports.