New York Giants third-string quarterack Davis Webb connected with receiver Alex Bachman for two second-half touchdowns which helped push the team to a 25-22 preseason win over the Cincinnati Bengals Sunday night at MetLife Stadium.
The Bengals, who didn’t play their starters against the Giants, got three first-half field goals from kicker Evan McPherson of 50-, 44- and 31-yards accounting for nine of their 16 points scored and which gave them a 9-7 lead by the half that they never relinquished. (McPherson missed a 58-yarder in the fourth quarter.)
The Bengals’ recorded their first touchdown of the night came on a 1-yard touchdown run by running back Trayveon Williams for the only points scored by either team in the third quarter.
Cincinnati took back the lead from the Giants in the fourth quarter with a 3-yard touchdown run up the gut by running back Jacques Patrick, giving his team the 22-18 edge on what was the fourth lead change of the game.
The two-point conversion to receiver Kwamie Lassiter II from quarterback Jake Browning was dropped.
The Giants’ scoring came in the second and fourth quarters. The second quarter score was the 2-yard touchdown rush by running back Jashuan Corbin to cap the Giants’ best drive of the first half, an 11-play, 84-yard drive engineered by quarterback Daniel Jones.
The first of New York’s fourth-quarter points came on another 11-play drive, this one capping a 68-yard drive when punter Jamie Gillan pressed into having to do the kicking after Graham Gano had to leave the game with a concussion, converted a 31-yard field goal.
With 8:57 left in the game, Webb hit Bachman on the first of the receivers’ two touchdown receptions of the night. The first one came on a 22-yard crossing route before taking the lead on the 2-point conversion when Webb ran the ball in for the go-ahead points at the time.
The second score, came with less than 40 seconds left, Bachman catching a 15-yard pass from Webb to give the Giants the 25-22 lead.
With the Bengals hoping for one last scoring drive, the Giants defense put an end to that when quarterback Jake Browning’s pass intended for receiver Trenton Irwin was knocked loose by Giants undrafted rookie defensive lineman Tomon Fox and recovered by cornerback Olaijah Griffin to seal the deal.
Daniel Jones Shines
Quarterback Daniel Jones, who has had an up-and-down training camp so far, played three series, finishing 14-of-16 for 116 yards and one interception.
But that number is a tad deceiving as the one interception came on a decently thrown ball intended for rookie tight end Daniel Bellinger, who had the pass go off his hands and to the Bengals.
Jones benefitted from solid blocking by the Giants’ banged-up offensive line that was missing starting center Jon Feliciano and starting left guard Shane Lemieux. On his final drive of the game, he threw eight completions in a row, that drive cumulating on a 2-yard touchdown run by Jashaun Corbin to give the Giants a 7-3 lead at the time.
All three of the drives led by Jones crossed mid-field. The first one stalled when New York’s running game failed to convert on a 4th-and-1, and the second ended on the Bellinger interception.
The Injuries Continue to Mount
Giants ownership has to be wondering what it has to do to keep the injury bug at bay.
Last year’s most injured team, which came into this week’s game down to its fifth-string center and with just two main offensive line combinations. The second combination consisted of mostly inexperienced players who barely have had time to play together as a unit–Roy Mbaeteka, in just his second football game at any level ever, at left tackle; undrafted rookie free agent Josh Rivas, who re-signed with the team Friday, at left guard; Will Holden, signed August 5, at center; Chris Owens, an undrafted rookie who signed Friday, at right guard; and Chris Smith, signed August 8, at right tackle.
But that was nothing compared to the talent that got banged up this week against the Bengals, starting with the right knee injury suffered by rookie edge rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux. Thibodeaux’s injury occurred when he was cut blocked by Bengals offensive tackle Thaddeus Moss. Although he waved off the cart and seemed to move around decently enough on his own, the team will now hold its breath as Thibodeaux is to have further tests on his knee.
Thibodeaux wasn’t the only one to suffer an injury. Kicker Graham Gano left the game to be evaluated for a concussion after taking a hit when he attempted to make a tackle on the Bengals’ 73-yard kickoff return in the second quarter by Chris Evans. Gano was ruled out of the rest of the game, as punter Jamie Gillan handled the kicking for Gano, and Julian Love took Gillan’s spot as the holder on place-kicks.
Wide receiver C.J. Board, another player making a strong push for a roster spot, suffered a rib injury on his third kickoff return of the night. Board, who didn’t get any targets on offense, finished with three kickoff returns for 61 yards.
And rookie inside linebacker Darrian Beavers, who has had a terrific summer in his quest to push for a possible starting role, left the game in the third quarter when his left leg appeared to get stuck in the turf and then twisted underneath him. Beavers was ruled out with a knee injury.
The Giants’ 11-member draft class has been hit hard by injuries. For those keeping score at home, in addition to the new injuries suffered by Thibodeaux, Beavers and D.J. Davidson (head injury), the team has been missing offensive lineman Josh Ezeudu (unknown), cornerback Cor’Dale Flott (groin), safety Dane Belton (fractured collarbone), and offensive lineman Marcus McKethan (season-ending ACL).
Special Teams Continues to Struggle
A little more than a week following a sloppy performance in which the Giants’ special teams allowed a pair of 25-yard kickoff returns while the punt returners managed a 30-yard return to the Patriots, the Giants’ special teams woes continued this week.
The biggest blemish on the group’s performance was the 73-yard kickoff return in the second quarter to Chris Evans, the touchdown saved by Cam Brown, who, after Gano was unable to make the tackle, caught up with the returner to push him out of bounds.
And linebacker Oshane Ximines, who is trying to make the team as a situational pass rusher, had a big holding penalty that wiped out a 57-yard kickoff return by C.J. Board.
Bachman finished with a team-leading 11 receptions out of 14 pass targets for 122 yards and two touchdowns. Bachman also added a special teams tackle to his evening’s contributions.
Webb, on his second tour of duty with the Giants, delivered one of his finest preseason performances with the team. He completed 22 of 27 pass targets for 204 yards, no interceptions, and two touchdowns.
Running back Saquon Barkley was a healthy scratch this week. With Matt Breida, the Giants’ RB2, and Gary Brightwell both nursing undisclosed injuries, Antonio Williams and Jashaun Corbin took the snaps with the first-team offense.
Corbin finished as the Giants’ rushing leader with nine carries for 27 yards and a touchdown. He also caught all four of his pass targets for 15 yards.
Head coach Brian Daboll, who earlier in the week said he didn’t rule out giving quarterback Tyrod Taylor snaps with the first-team offense, scrapped any such plans to do so, likey a result of the injury situation with the offensive line.
Receiver Kenny Golladay, who struggled in last week’s preseason opener but who had a couple of nice practices this week, was not targeted by the Giants this week.
Considering how banged up the Giants offensive line was, it only allowed one sack all night, that coming when Tyrod Taylor was in the game. The Bengals, who again did not play their starters, were credited with just two quarterback hits in the official game book. All things considered, the Giants’ offensive line backups held up well against the Bengals backup defensive players.