Jets QB Geno Smith played himself into a starting job after an impressive first half against the Giants.
The annual Snoopy Bowl between the Jets and Giants was exciting enough given the long drives and big plays in the game, but the best things the two teams could ask for were no devastating injuries (though the Giants may have lost G Geoff Schwartz to a toe injury) and strong offensive production from first-team units that have struggled in the first few games of the preseason.
Here are the biggest takeaways from the Giants-Jets preseason game:
RBs Rashad Jennings and Andre Williams are both studs – Against the Jets first-team defense, which led the league in fewest yards/carry in 2013, Jennings averaged 5.2 yards/carry on 13 attempts and seemed unstoppable at times. Later in the game, rookie Andre Williams broke off a 33-yard run and eventually the permanent lead-changing TD. He finished the game with 4.5 yards/carry on 11 attempts. Both RBs have been lighting it up in the preseason and this game was no exception, giving the Giants an effective two-headed monster in the backfield.
QB Eli Manning is still clutch – 5 stalled drives in the first half which all resulted in punts and gave the Jets a 10-0 lead, Eli Manning turned on the juice in the final minutes of the quarter. He led the Giants on an 11-play, 91-yard TD drive that only took 1:48. While the TD did not give the Giants the lead, it changed the momentum of the entire game heading into the second half. After weeks of struggling, Manning played relatively mistake free and showed that he still has the ability to drive down the field in no time at all.
The interior offensive line is getting thin – After losing long-time G Chris Snee to retirement, the last thing the Giants needed was an injury on the inside offensive line. Unfortunately, the Giants’ big offensive line FA pickup, G Geoff Schwartz, suffered what was reported as a dislocated toe against the Jets and was carted off the field. While there is no information as to how serious the injury is or how much time Schwartz would miss, losing their key run blocker for any extended period of time is something the Giants do not need considering how bad the team was at run blocking in 2013.
QB Geno Smith played himself into a starting job – While it was no big secret that Smith was the front-runner for the starting job (even if the coaches would not admit it), he showed that he certainly earned it with a stellar first half against the Giants. Smith went 9 of 14 for 137 yards and a TD, giving him a passer rating of 120.2. He also added 17 yards on the ground of 3 carries (5.7 yards/carry) and had the presence of mind to always slide rather than take a hit (unlike other active QBs with a similar style like Robert Griffin III or Colin Kaepernick). Smith played so well in just two quarters that head coach Rex Ryan named him the Week 1 starter against the Raiders after the game.
The rushing attack is great – RBs Chris Johnson and Chris Ivory combined for 92 yards on only 15 carries, and averaged 4.7 and 8.3 yards/carry respectively. Johnson showed he still has that ability to get 5-10 extra yards just using his speed while Ivory once again displayed his brusing running style by mowing down smaller DBs. Factor in the intelligent running of Geno Smith when plays break down and the Jets have a very threatening run offense.
QB Michael Vick will be an effective backup – With Michael Vick taking command of the first-team offense in the third quarter, the Giants were completely overmatched, allowing Vick to go 4 of 5 for 35 yards and a TD. The only turnover the team got off of Vick was a bad snap that resulted in a fumble, other than that he was nearly perfect and has shown all preseason that he is still one of the most dynamic running QBs in football – making him an ideal backup for the Jets.