Written by: Alexander George
New England Patriots rookie quarterback Danny Etling outplayed the New York Giants rookie quarterback, Kyle Lauletta, in a
17 – 12 Patriots victory. Both quarterbacks started the game for their respective teams for the first time in the pre-season. Only Etling played for the entire game as Lauletta was benched, after throwing his second interception, for Giants journeyman quarterback Alex Tanney.
Danny Etling was a one man army accounting for most of the entire offense yardage either throwing the ball (18 for 32, 157 yards & 1TD, 2INTS) or running the ball (7 ATT for 113 yards and 1TD). With the exception of 2 outstanding first half interceptions, by Giants cornerback Donte Deayon, Etling could not have played a better game as a rookie. In particular, Etling will be noted for two scoring drives. First, a 6 play, 58 yard drive culminated in a 1 yard touchdown pass to running back Ralph Webb (Receiving: 4 REC for 30 yards and 1 TD. Rushing: 12 ATT 41 yards). A key play in this first drive was a 45 yard bomb to Patriots receiver K.J.Maye (5 REC for 71 yards). The second drive was a one play naked bootleg which tricked Giants safety Orion Stewart and cornerback Leonard Johnson for an uncharacteristic 86 yard touchdown run.
Kyle Lauletta (8 for 19, 118 yards and 1TD, 2INTs), on the other hand, was pretty much controlled by the Patriots defense with only a 41 yard touchdown pass to Giants wide receiver, Amba Etta-Tawo. This one play accounted for almost 35% of Lauletta’s total yardage. The Giants quarterback tried to test the defensive secondary of the Pats, with long completions to wide receivers Kalif Raymond and Roger Lewis, but each time was intercepted by the defensive player of the game, cornerback J.C. Jackson. Despite a late touchdown thrown by Giants quarterback Alex Tanney (13 for 23, 92 yards & 1TD) to receiver Alonzo Russell for 8 yards, the Patriots were in control of the game and may have found Tom Brady’s possible replacement once the Hall of Famer retires.
Jalen Simmons (11 ATT for 41 yards), back from concussion protocol sustained during the second pre-season game against the Detriot Lions, and Jhurell Pressley (7 for 40 yards) had good enough performances and training camps to remain on the Giants team for this season.
The defense however, with the exception of a few individual performances, linebacker Tae Davis
(7 total tackles, 6 solo) and cornerback Chris Lewis – Harris
(6 total tackles, 5 solo and 2 passes defended), had a sub-par game accounting for the first Patriots score of the game. Stephen Gostkowski’s 33 yard field goal occurred in large part of two, 15 yard, newly implemented illegal contact penalties of lowering the head by Lewis – Harris and linebacker Mark Herzlich, and a 5 yard illegal use of the hands by defensive end Josh Mauro in which 35 out of the 66 yard drive was due to Giant penalties.
With the fourth and final pre-season game, the New York Giants have a
2 – 2 record. They open up the 2018 NFL season at Metlife stadium on September 9th at 1pm EST against the Jacksonville Jaguars.