Backup QBs have big night in Giants' 40-38 win over Pats
BY KYLE HIGHTOWER, AP Sports Writer
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — It was unclear what kind of player Geno Smith would be when he arrived with the New York Giants following a tumultuous tenure with the Jets.
He used his final preseason game to show just how much he wants to have a role with his new team.
Aldrick Rosas hit a 48-yard field goal as time expired, Smith threw a touchdown and the New York Giants earned a 40-38 win over the New England Patriots in the final exhibition game for both teams Thursday night.
As expected, both teams rested their key contributors in advance of Saturday’s reduction to a 53-man roster.
Smith entered the night with the inside track to win the Giants’ backup quarterback job behind Eli Manning. He took a big step toward locking it up, completing 10 of 11 passes for 111 yards and touchdown. Smith was signed to a one-year contract in March and was brought in to compete for the job behind Manning.
“I just want to go out there and play good football,” Smith said. “Every day I’ve been getting better, and getting a clearer understanding of how the coach wants things done.”
Coach Ben McAdoo likes what he sees.
“We know he can throw it,” McAdoo said. “And he didn’t have any critical errors.”
The Giants scored 34 points in the first half, but the Patriots outscored them 24-3 over the final 29 minutes before Rosas’ field goal. Josh Johnson also had a touchdown pass, and the Giants’ defense returned an interception for a touchdown.
Third-stringer Jacoby Brissett threw for 341 yards and four touchdowns, and ran for another to nearly lead the Super Bowl champions back from a 20-point halftime deficit. Stephen Gostkowski hit a 55-yard go-ahead field goal with 44 seconds remaining.
“That was fun. Makes you feel like a kid again,” Brissett said.
The Patriots open the regular-season at home next Thursday against Kansas City. The Giants open at Dallas on Sept. 10.
New York safety Darian Thompson was the only projected starter to see any action.
After some lackluster efforts, Johnson also had his best performance of the preseason. He completed 11 of 14 passes for 135 yards.
As strong as Brissett’s performance was, it still might have been his final game for New England. Brissett started a pair of games last season during Tom Brady’s four-game “Deflategate” suspension after backup Jimmy Garoppolo was injured. But it is unclear if the Patriots will keep a third quarterback with Brady available to start this season. So Thursday could have served as Brissett’s audition for his next NFL team.
Whatever happens, he said he was just excited to have the chance to showcase his abilities.
“I think that was a great opportunity for all of us … guys who didn’t get an opportunity last time,” Brissett said.
Tight end Matt LaCosse entered Thursday on the bubble and helped himself with touchdown catches of 25 and 2 yards. His stock also got a boost thanks to a first-half fumble by that fellow tight end Will Tye.
The prospects for Patriots second-year DB Cyrus Jones surviving Saturday’s roster cut took a major hit early in the second quarter when he left with a right knee injury. New England selected Jones 60th overall in the 2016 draft. He got his feet tangled while defending a deep pass along the sideline to Travis Rudolph and tumbled to the turf. He needed the help of two trainers to get off the field.
The Patriots originally had high hopes for Jones, a star at Alabama as a defensive back and kick returner. But he struggled throughout last season, with fumble issues on special teams. He was a healthy scratch for five of New England’s final six games, including the entire postseason run.
Jones has shown improvement in ball security this preseason. But he’d also made mistakes in coverage that left him on the bubble to make the roster.
Giants receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. made the trip with the team and was spotted by television cameras before the game catching some balls while lying on the ground. Beckham was not wearing any kind of brace or boot on the left ankle he injured in the first half of New York’s exhibition loss at Cleveland Aug. 21.
Patriots: Defensive lineman Woodrow Hamilton limped off with a right leg injury in the second quarter.
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