AT A GLANCE: After they got a sneak peek at Wednesday's Fan Fest, Giants supporters saw their team play at MetLife Stadium in person for the first time since Dec. 29, 2019. Big Blue opened the 2021 preseason against the New York Jets, and although there was some late excitement, the Giants fell 12-7 in the first tune-up of the year.
UP NEXT: The Giants head to Cleveland, where they will hold joint practices with the Browns before their preseason matchup on Sunday, Aug. 22 (1 p.m. ET kickoff). They will do the same the following week in New England before they host the Patriots in the third and final preseason game. The Giants open the regular season at home against the Denver Broncos on Sept. 12.
Check out the best photos from the Giants' preseason opener against the New York Jets.
WHAT WE LEARNED ABOUT THE OFFENSE
With the addition of a 17th regular-season game, the NFL reduced the preseason schedule from four games to three. Coach Joe Judge treated Saturday's game like the traditional fourth preseason outing, which typically means little to no time for most starters. Judge said the third preseason game – Aug. 29 vs. New England – is when his starters will play the most.
Backup quarterback Mike Glennon started in place of quarterback Daniel Jones, who got the night off. Glennon played behind the first-team offensive line, which consisted of left tackle Andrew Thomas, left guard Kenny Wiggins, center Nick Gates, right guard Will Hernandez, and right tackle Matt Peart. Shane Lemieux, who is listed as the first-string left guard on the depth chart, suited up but did not start. Lemieux was carted off with a knee injury early in training camp but avoided the "worst-case scenario." Glennon and the starting line played the first three series of the game.
Wide receiver David Sills V, who has been a standout at training camp, hauled in a 37-yard pass deep down the sideline from third-string quarterback Clayton Thorson late in the first half. Sills also drew a passing interference penalty that brought the Giants deep into Jets territory earlier in the half, but running back Corey Clement lost a fumble on the next play. Clement had a few nice runs beforehand with five carries for 32 yards (6.4-yard average).
Originally signed by the Giants as part of the NFL's International Player Pathway Program last season, Austrian running back Sandro Platzgummer recorded his first NFL carry for a three-yard gain in the fourth quarter. While noteworthy, it was outdone by his second carry, which went for 48 yards. No one was more excited on the sideline than fellow running back Saquon Barkley, who was seen jumping up and down in celebration.
Wide receiver Damion Willis, who signed at the start of training camp, scored the Giants' only touchdown on a 21-yard pass from Thorson in the fourth quarter.
WHAT WE LEARNED ABOUT THE DEFENSE
Defensive tackle Danny Shelton stuffed Ty Johnson for a loss to force a turnover on downs. Shelton, 6-2 and 345 pounds, has played in 87 regular-season games with 72 starts in six seasons for Cleveland, New England, and Detroit. He also played in three postseason games – starting two – for the Patriots, including their Super Bowl LIII victory against the Rams. Judge was New England's special teams coordinator when Shelton played there.
Linebacker Carter Coughlin, a seventh-round draft choice in 2020, strip-sacked backup quarterback Mike White for a loss of seven yards in the third quarter. The Jets, however, recovered the ball. Rookie Zach Wilson, the second overall pick in the draft, made his debut for the Jets and completed six of nine passes for 63 yards.
Rookie cornerback Rodarius Williams, who has drawn praise from veterans for his fearlessness, played extensively in his first live NFL action. The sixth-round draft choice did so largely from the slot position and recorded six tackles. He also recovered a fumble that was forced by linebacker TJ Brunson. Williams returned it 29 yards in Jets territory to set up a touchdown on the ensuing possession.
WHAT WE LEARNED ABOUT THE SPECIAL TEAMS
Wide receiver Matt Cole, a former Jet, made a nice play in the first quarter on a punt return and swatted the ball back into the green field before it could hit the blue of the Giants' end zone. The result was pinning the Jets inside the 10.
Dixon had three of his six punts downed inside the 20-yard line. Last season, Dixon placed 28 punts inside the 20, tying him with the Rams' Johnny Hekker and the Bears' Pat O'Donnell for the NFL's third-highest total.
INJURY REPORT: OL Kyle Murphy (ankle) and TE Cole Hikutini (hip) did not return to the game.
GAME CAPTAINS: S Jabrill Peppers, DB Julian Love, C Nick Gates