AT A GLANCE: As planned all along, Joe Judge treated the third and final preseason game as the dress rehearsal. Quarterback Daniel Jones and other starters made their 2021 debut on Sunday night at MetLife Stadium after returning from New England, where the Giants held two joint practices with the Patriots. In the end, the Patriots came away with a 22-20 victory over the Giants in the final tune-up before the regular season.
UP NEXT: Now they count. The Giants will be back at MetLife Stadium in two weeks for their season opener against the Denver Broncos (4:25 p.m. ET kickoff). In between, clubs must reduce their rosters to the regular-season limit of 53 players by 4 p.m. Tuesday.
Check out the best photos from the Giants' preseason finale against the New England Patriots.
WHAT WE SAW FROM THE OFFENSE
*The Giants made a few changes up front. Nate Solder started for Matt Peart at right tackle, and Ted Larsen, an 11-year veteran who signed with the Giants earlier this month, started at left guard in place of Shane Lemieux, who was one of seven offensive players listed by the team before the game as not expected to play (see list below). Peart subbed in for the third series as the Giants rotated the line throughout the game.
*Quarterback Daniel Jones made his 2021 debut, completing his first pass attempt to wide receiver Darius Slayton for a gain of six yards. The first drive, however, ended in a three-and-out after Jones was sacked on third down. Jones had the offense on the move on the second series, which stalled with another sack that forced a third-and-13 that the Giants were unable to convert. The third drive ended in an interception as Jones tried to find tight end Evan Engram in the end zone. Patriots cornerback D'Angelo Ross came down with the ball for a touchback, leading to a New England field goal on the ensuing possession.
*Jones, however, goes into the regular season on a high note. His final throw was a 23-yard touchdown to tight end Kaden Smith, who made a spectacular catch in the end zone to give the Giants a 7-6 lead just before halftime. Jones finished 17 of 22 for 135 yards with the touchdown and interception. Backup Mike Glennon relieved him to start the second half and threw touchdowns to Alex Bachman and Damion Willis. The latter was a 43-yard Hail Mary with eight seconds left in the game. The Giants failed on the two-point conversion attempt, which would have tied the game.
*Eli Penny showed he can do more than the role of a traditional fullback and led the Giants with 35 yards on four carries (long of 15 yards). The Giants continued to get a look at their backfield depth as Saquon Barkley ramps up. Barkley participated in his first full-team reps at joint practice this week, but he has yet to play in a game – preseason or otherwise – since suffering a knee injury in Week 2 of last season.
WHAT WE SAW FROM THE DEFENSE
*You won't see many better plays on the ball – let alone from a middle linebacker – than the one Blake Martinez made late in the first quarter. With his back to starting quarterback Cam Newton, Martinez tracked Jakobi Meyers 35 yards down the middle of the field and wrestled the ball away from the wide receiver as they both came down near midfield.
*The Giants generated some pressure throughout the night as defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence and linebackers Lorenzo Carter and Trent Harris recorded sacks.
*Rookie cornerback Rodarius Williams is known for never backing down from a challenge, no matter how much the coaching staff throws at him. With fellow cornerback Adoree' Jackson dealing with an injury, the sixth-round draft pick was again thrown in the deep end and saw extensive action. He flashed in coverage and forced a few incompletions, including a touchdown-saving play from the red zone.
WHAT WE SAW FROM SPECIAL TEAMS
*Graham Gano, who set the Giants record with 30 consecutive makes last season, missed a 41-yard field goal attempt wide right in the third quarter. Earlier in the week, the Giants traded backup Ryan Santoso, who can both kick and punt, to the Carolina Panthers for a conditional 2022 seventh-round draft choice.
*Punter Riley Dixon pinned the Patriots at their own three-yard line early in the game.
DID NOT PLAY
- WR John Ross III
- WR Kenny Golladay
- CB Adoree' Jackson
- RB Saquon Barkley
- CB Josh Jackson
- LB Elerson Smith
- G Shane Lemieux
- DT Danny Shelton
- TE Kyle Rudolph
- WR Austin Mack
- WR Kadarius Toney
- Nate Solder for Matt Peart at RT
- Ted Larsen for Shane Lemieux at LG
- C.J. Board for John Ross III at KOR
- TE Evan Engram (calf) – Did not return
- WR C.J. Board (elbow) – Returned to game
- WR Darius Slayton (ankle/foot) – Did not return
- OL Ted Larsen (knee) – Did not return
S Jabrill Peppers (Army), LB Blake Martinez (Navy), and C Nick Gates (Marines) wore hats representing the military during the opening coin toss.