– by Alexander George
Since MetLife Stadium was built-in 2010 next to the old Giant Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ, the New York Giants and Jets every year have played a pre-season game against each other in which the winner gets a Snoopy Bowl trophy. (The fictional Snoopy character is a beagle on the cartoon strip Peanuts. Snoopy is the symbol of Met Life Insurance who helped financed the money to build this stadium.) Before this pre-season game, the Giants led the Jets in the Snoopy Bowl 4 games to 3. The 22 – 16 Big Blue win over Gang Green extends their winning streak to 3 Snoopy Bowl trophies.
The New York Giants special teams accounted for all of the points in their victory. Punt returner Hunter Sharp, who is competing for a roster spot, returned a 55 yard punt late in the first quarter for the Giants first score. Second year Giants place kicker, Aldrick Rosas, went a perfect 4 for 4 in field goals, kicking from 48, 40, 27 and 21 yards, scoring over half the points of the team. The last 3 points were kicked by 2016 undrafted free agent, originally from the Miami Dolphins, Marshall Koehn with a 44 yard field goal.
Eli Manning, who played the first half, (17 for 23, 188 yards) had a very solid game with a canon for an arm. He threw a 54 yard bomb to wide receiver Cody Latimer in his only reception and a 30 yard spiral to Sterling Shepard (7 Receptions for 78 yards). The franchise quarterback was able to throw to 6 different receivers without the services of their first round draft pick, Saquon Barkley (due to a hamstring injury) and superstar wide receiver (Odell Beckham, Jr.(due to contractual issues). The other potential franchise quarterback in the game, New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (8 for 16, 86 yards and 1 TD), continues to build on his pre-season success with orchestrating 2 successful drives resulting in touchdown scores, one of which was a 12 yard pass to newly acquired Tyrelle Pryor (2 Receptions for 16 yards 1TD).
Both teams struggled with their running games as neither one of them reached anywhere near the 100 yard mark with the Giants having an edge over the Jets 87 to 66. Running back Giants Johnathon Stewart (3 ATT for -7 yards including 1 costly fumble) and Wayne Gallman (11 ATT for 23 yards) combined for only 16 yards as the 1st team offensive line, in particular the right side where guard Patrick Omameh Jr. and tackle Ereck Flowers, could not create the holes needed for the running backs to go through. The Giants had to rely on the newly signed, 2016 Minnesota Viking undrafted free agent, Jhurell Pressley (12 ATT for 71 yards), who entered the game midway through the 3rd quarter, who almost gained 6 yards on average, including a 20 yard running play, that ultimately lead to the last Giants score of a 44 yard field goal. Meanwhile, with the exception of Bilal Powell’s (10 ATT for 24 Yards and 1TD), 10 yard touchdown run in the 1st drive for the Jets, one of the only successful running plays was a 14 yard scramble by Sam Darnold for a first down.
Even though the Giants won the “Snoopy Bowl” the New York Jets seemed to have the better defense limiting Big Blue to field goals while the Giants gave up 2 touchdowns, including 1 on the first Jets drive, due leaky coverage where Gang Green receivers could convert 3rd down plays. In what can be described as quarterback Sam Darnold’s signature opening drive, he orchestrated an 11 play, 75 yard drive in which Giants linebacker Ray-Ray Armstrong gave up a 13 yard 3rd down passing play to Jets wide receiver Neal Sterling and let quarterback Sam Darnold run 14 yards for two 3rd down conversions for a first. Ultimately, Powell ran for that 10 yard score in the epic drive.
The final pre-season game for the New York Giants is on Thursday, August 30th at Met Life Stadium at 7pm EST. With Eli Manning not scheduled to play, it will be the deciding game as to who will be the back-up quarterback: Davis Webb
(5 for 11, 73 yards) or Kyle Lauletta (1 for 2, 1 yard).