AT A GLANCE: There’s no telling where Daniel Jones’ career will go, but Thursday night was a good start. The sixth overall draft choice was perfect in his NFL debut at quarterback, completing all five of his passes for 67 yards and a touchdown to cap his first and only drive of the game. He wasn’t the only rookie to make an impact as the Giants rolled to a 31-22 victory, their fourth in a row over the Jets in the preseason.
UP NEXT: The Giants, who resume training camp with an open practice on Sunday, host the Bears next Friday at 7:30 p.m. ET. Of the Giants’ four preseason opponents this year, they will see three of them again in the regular season. They play the Jets in Week 10, the Patriots in Week 6 (Preseason Week 4) and the Bears in Week 12 (Preseason Week 2).
WHAT WE LEARNED ABOUT THE OFFENSE:
*While 2018 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Saquon Barkley got the night off, quarterback Eli Manning started but played only one series. The rest of the first team stayed on the field for the second drive as rookie Daniel Jones made a splash in his professional debut. The sixth overall draft pick completed all five of his pass attempts on his first drive for 67 yards, including a 31-yarder to Cody Latimer and a 12-yard touchdown to Bennie Fowler.
“It went well,” Jones said. “A good start for us—a couple things I could’ve gotten cleared up, would’ve made it a little easier on us, but it went well. I thought we did a good job moving the ball down the field. … It was a good feeling just to be in the stadium, wearing a uniform, playing the first game. So, it was good to kind of see what we’ve been doing in practice and come out here and put it to work a little bit.”
“I think he did an unbelievable job, understanding the offense, reading the defense, putting the ball where it needed to be,” said Barkley, who watched from the sideline. “He did an amazing job of going down and putting points on the board. We needed to respond after they scored, and he did a really good job of that, but it wasn’t only him. The offensive line did an amazing job up front blocking, Wayne (Gallman) did an unbelievable job running between the tackles and on pass protection, and wide receivers made plays when they needed to be (made). That’s how you win games, and hopefully we can build off that.”
*The only thing that could stop Jones was a 59-minute weather delay near the end of the first quarter. When play resumed, Alex Tanney was under center. He picked up where Jones left off, finding Russell Shepard on a short pass over the middle that the wide receiver turned into a 51-yard touchdown. Tanney completed 14 of 19 passes for 190 yards and the score.
*Gallman started in place of Barkley and rushed five times for 13 yards. Paul Perkins, who missed all of last season due to injury, was up next but lost a fumble in his first game since Dec. 31, 2017.
*Wide receiver TJ Jones, who signed with the team less than two weeks ago, led all receivers with six catches for 72 yards, including a 31-touchdown grab from Kyle Laueltta to put the game out of reach in the fourth quarter.
WHAT WE LEARNED ABOUT THE DEFENSE:
*The linebackers showed up on Thursday night. Jonathan Anderson, who finished with five tackles, made a nice play in forcing a fumble on Greg Dortch late in the first half, although the Jets were able to recover it. Tae Davis, who is trying to lock down a starting job as the “money” linebacker in James Bettcher’s defense, had five tackles, including one for a loss. Ryan Connelly, a fifth-round pick, looked like the tackling machine he was at Wisconsin and also racked up five tackles in his first game.
*Undrafted rookie Jake Carlock, a safety-turned-linebacker from LIU Post, has a nose for the football. He sniffed out a pass from former Giants quarterback Davis Webb and returned the interception 59 yards for a touchdown late in the third quarter. “The thing about when you look at him is that, you stand him next to Kareem (Martin) or Lorenzo (Carter) or something like that, he’s obviously giving up some size, but he’s a ball of muscle,” outside linebackers coach Mike Dawson said recently. “I don’t know what his body fat percentage is off the top of my head, but it’s not much. He’s a rocked up guy, plays physical, flies around and throws his body in there, and that makes up for some of that size.”
*Rookie cornerback Corey Ballentine, who has flashed in training camp, was the subject of the new pass interference rule. He made a nice play on a deep ball by Webb midway through the third quarter, and there was originally no call. New Jets head coach Adam Gase, however, challenged it and passing interference was called. Instituted this year, offensive and defensive pass interference are now subject to review. Coaches can challenge those calls outside of the final two minutes of each half. Inside of two minutes, they will be subject to a booth review.
Ballentine, however, got the last laugh. On a similar play two drives later, he came down with the interception. It was not challenged.
“We did fine, flew to the ball a lot,” safety Jabrill Peppers said. “We stopped the run game, but we gave up a couple chunk plays due to our miscommunication so we just can’t shoot ourselves in the foot. Other than that I think we got the job done.”
WHAT WE LEARNED ABOUT SPECIAL TEAMS:
*Rookie cornerback Corey Ballentine, who doubled as a track star in college, was the primary returner on kickoffs. There was a void there after Corey Coleman tore his ACL at the beginning of training camp. Ballentine’s best return came on a 40-yarder where he flashed his speed midway through the second quarter.
*Coming off a Pro Bowl campaign, Aldrick Rosas made his lone field goal attempt from 23 yards. He also made his four extra point attempts.
DID NOT PLAY DUE TO INJURY: WR Amba Etta-Tawo (hamstring), WR Sterling Shepard (thumb), CB Sam Beal (hamstring), CB Antonio Hamilton (groin), CB Grant Haley (shoulder), OT Chad Wheeler (back), OT Brian Mihalik (burner), OT George Asafo-Adjei (concussion), WR Brittan Golden (groin), WR Darius Slayton (hamstring), OLB Avery Moss (hip flexor)
GAME CAPTAINS: QB Eli Manning, LB Alec Ogletree, LS Zak DeOssie