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Aldrick Rosas caps impressive preseason with game-winner


Kicker Aldrick Rosas hit a game-winning field goal for the Giants against the Patriots:

FOXBOROUGH, M.A. – Before Thursday night, untested kicker Aldrick Rosas had done everything the Giants had asked of him – except kick a game-winning field goal. Then he checked off that box in dramatic fashion.

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Rosas booted a 48-yard field goal as time expired to give the Giants a 40-38 victory against the New England Patriots in the preseason finale in Gillette Stadium. The Giants had led midway through the fourth quarter, 37-21, before the Patriots scored 17 unanswered points, the last three on Stephen Gostkowski's 55-yard field goal with 44 seconds left.

Rookie quarterback Davis Webb completed four passes on 45-yard drive to give Rosas – a 22-year-old first-year player who has never kicked in a regular-season game – the chance to win it.

"I encourage all opportunities," Rosas said after the game. "So yeah, I was hoping any situation that I haven't encountered or thrown my way to hopefully let it pop up tonight. It did, and I was ready for it. My team had my back and was behind me 100 percent, and it felt good to go out there and get the job done."

In the first three preseason games, Rosas and 13-year veteran Mike Nugent had alternated kicking opportunities. Neither had missed a field goal or extra point attempt, and each had three touchbacks. But against the Patriots, coach Ben McAdoo had Rosas do all the kicking. He contributed field goals of 22, 31, 27 and 48 yards; four extra points; and two touchbacks.

"He did a nice job tonight," McAdoo said. "We wanted to put him to the test and see how he responded and he did a nice job."

McAdoo was not prepared to announce that Rosas will be the kicker when the initial 53-man roster is announced on Saturday. "We feel like we have two kickers that can kick at a high level in this league," McAdoo said.

Nugent could be the odd man out, but he was gracious in the postgame locker room.

"Aldrick did a great job," Nugent said. "I think he handled himself very well and when it really came down to it, he performed. I think that's what our ultimate job is, especially being a closer like he was tonight."

Rosas said he wasn't thinking of the potential ramifications when he lined up to kick with four seconds showing on the clock.

"Walking out there, I was okay," he said. "This is going to be one-for-one. I don't remember anything that I have done in the past, so I wasn't thinking after the kick or anything. I was in the moment as much as I can be and it felt good."

After Gostkowski's long field goal gave the Patriots their first lead since it was 7-0, Rosas hoped he would get one more chance.

"Great kick by Gostkowski," Rosas said. "After that it is like, 'Whoa, I get another chance.' And hopefully you can get in that 60-yard range to really solidify it, and it was fun. I knew I was probably going to get another chance and Davis Webb did a great job moving the offense down the field. It was fortunate and I was grateful enough to get another shot and come through when my team really needed me."

*LaCosse had his best game in a Giants uniform, with team-high totals of five receptions for 60 yards, including touchdowns of 25 and two yards, and key catches on the two plays immediately preceding Rosas' game-winner. He joined the team as a rookie free agent in 2015, was injured early, and played in two late-season games. LaCosse missed the entire 2016 season with a knee injury.

Like Rosas, LaCosse is competing for a job, but he is in a much more crowded situation. Offseason acquisition Rhett Ellison and first-round draft choice Evan Engram will make the team. The other tight ends are Will Tye and Jerell Adams, who contributed last year.

"I think I've had good practices, but I just didn't make as many plays in the game, which is unfortunate," LaCosse said. "But I had the opportunities tonight to make a few plays and I was glad I was able to show people when the lights come on I can play, too."

How does he feel entering the weekend, knowing Saturday is cutdown day?

"My mom told me growing up, 'Don't worry about anything you can't control,'" he said. "It is in their hands now. I think I played well. I think I showed them through the years that I can play and what happens, happens. I am not going to worry about it. I am going to enjoy this win and I am about to go see my fiancé and my dad and have a good time."

*Both teams rested their starting players, so Eli Manning and Tom Brady stayed on their respective sidelines. Geno Smith, Josh Johnson and Webb played quarterback for the Giants, while Jacoby Brissett played the entire game for New England.

Only one Giants player expected to start the season opener in Dallas on Sept. 10 started Thursday night: free safety Darian Thompson. And he left the game after two series.

The offensive starters were Smith, running back Orleans Darkwa, fullback Shane Smith, wide receivers Roger Lewis, Jr. and Travis Rudolph, and Tye (who started 11 games in 2016). The offensive line, from left to right tackle, was Chad Wheeler, Jon Halapio, Brett Jones, D.J. Fluker and Adam Bisnowaty. Fluker started 61 regular-season and postseason games for San Diego the previous four seasons.

The starters on defense included ends Kerry Wynn and Devin Taylor (18 career starts), and tackles Robert Thomas and Josh Banks. Romero Okwara, normally a defensive end, was the strongside linebacker with Calvin Munson in the middle and J.T. Thomas on the weak side. Donte Deayon and Nigel Tribune were the corners and Thompson and Andrew Adams (13 starts last season) started at safety.

*Manning sat out the preseason finale for the third consecutive year. He has now missed 10 of the 55 preseason games the Giants have played in his career, including seven because the head coach chose not to play him. This is the second year in a row he did not play in either the first or last preseason games.

*Shane Vereen had his most extensive action of the preseason, with four rushing attempts for 15 yards, and three receptions for 28 yards.

*The Giants' game captains were Zak DeOssie, Thompson, Jones, Darkwa, Deayon and Okwara.

*Several injured Giants were not in uniform, but watched the game from the sideline: wide receivers Odell Beckham, Jr. and Tavarres King, cornerbacks Eli Apple and Michael Hunter, defensive tackle Jay Bromley, linebackers Keenan Robinson and Mark Herzlich, and safety Duke Ihenacho.

*The Giants finished 2-2 in the preseason for the second year in a row.

*The Mara and Tisch families, who own the Giants, have pledged $1 million to the Hurricane Harvey relief effort in the Houston area. The money will go to Americares, the American Red Cross, and Houston Food Bank.

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