(AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)
The final score mattered little to New York. Yes, they lost to a Patriots club that was playing all backups, 27-20, and finished the preseason with a 1-3 mark. But what really mattered was that Eli Manning and the Giants first-team offense only received one series Thursday night in New England – and they certainly made the most of it.
Brandon Jacobs capped a monumental 16-play, 80-yard drive with a one-yard plunge on fourth-and-goal to give New York an early 7-0 lead.
Jacobs had been stuffed for no gain on the two previous plays but would not be denied when it mattered most.
“I thought I ran well tonight,” Jacobs said. “Obviously the goal line series was a little shaky. It shouldn't have taken us that many snaps to get the ball in. We have to be better than that.”
Jacobs said he was pleased with where New York’s offense is as the preseason comes to a close.
“I like the work I've gotten in the preseason,” he said. “I feel the offense has really come together. We're looking forward to the week of work preparing for Dallas and we'll be ready for the season opener.”
As for Manning, he connected on five-of-eight passes for 58 yards to aid the march. Jeremy Shockey added four receptions for 47 yards in the opening period.
“We had a really good first series,” Manning said.
“It was a (16)-play drive. We converted some key third downs. The biggest play was the corner route to Shockey that got us in tight. I wish it hadn't taken us five plays to get in there, but we got in and got the seven points. That's what you want in your final preseason game. You want to come out and have one good drive, score a touchdown and come out.”
Manning said he was pleased with the effort of his offense as opening night approaches.
“As an offense, I feel like we've all been on the same page,” he said. “We've been playing well and making plays. We haven't been making many mental mistakes. The whole offense, everybody, just has a better understanding of what's going on. I feel more comfortable, and we're all doing things the right way.”
Defensively, the Giants starting unit limited New England to a field goal on two possessions.
“With this game, we did what we needed to do,” Antonio Pierce said. “We did give up a field goal. The first unit did well with our series. Everyone came out healthy. In the preseason you want to get better every week. We've just got to keep working hard and getting better.”
However, once the second-string players entered, the Pats got the better of Big Blue, taking a 10-7 lead into the locker room at halftime.
“I expected that we’d play better,” coach Tom Coughlin said.
New York’s next six points came from its battling place-kickers, who each were true on their one attempt. Josh Huston hit a 33-yarder in the third quarter and Lawrence Tynes responded with a 43-yarder in the fourth.
Jared Lorenzen performed as well as could be expected under heavy pressure. He completed 10-of-16 passes for only 53 yards, but was sacked seven times behind a porous second-string OL.
Reuben Droughns busted off a 33-yard run in the second quarter, using a downfield block from Lorenzen to gain the final few yards.
Anthony Wright led New York down the field effectively in the hurry-up offense late in the fourth quarter. He moved the troops 67 yards in seven plays to a one-yard TD run by Ryan Grant.
Backup left tackle Guy Whimper left with a right ankle injury.