EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Adewale Ojomo took another step toward making an NFL roster and helped the New York Giants and New England Patriots avoid a coach’s worst nightmare in the preseason finale — overtime.
Ojomo’s sack and forced fumble set up a 32-yard field goal by Lawrence Tynes with 1:03 to play and the Giants defeated the Patriots 6-3 on Wednesday night in the final warmup for the regular season for the teams that met in the Super Bowl in early February.
This one was hardly as interesting as the title game, but the Giants (2-2) once again scored late to win. Defensive tackle Marcus Thomas rumbled 12 yards with the fumble following Ojomo’s strip-sack against Brian Hoyer, giving New York the ball at the Patriots 17.
It set up Tynes’ second field goal and it will force the coaching staff to once again think about. Ojomo, a rookie free agent out of Miami, who has caught their attention with a team-high four sacks.
“The coaches have got to evaluate the film,” Ojomo said. “I think the (strip-sack) will work in my favor, but there’s a lot of different phases of the game they have to evaluate.”
Ojomo plans to be confident heading into Friday’s final cut to the 54-man roster.
“It would be a great honor to be a Giant,” Ojomo said. “They’re a first-class organization. Aside from the high taxes and high rent, it would be great to be a Giant. I’ll be confident Friday, I won’t be nervous. They have to make tough decisions, so you have to go out and do what you need to do to make it not so tough for them.”
Steve Gostkowski kicked a 20-yard field goal in the second quarter for the Patriots (1-3), who rested almost every starter.
“Everybody who played got an opportunity to show us what they could do,” New England coach Bill Belichick said.
The Super Bowl champion Giants will kick off the NFL season next Wednesday at home against Dallas. The Patriots will open on the road at Tennessee on Sept. 9.
The Giants iced the game with 13 seconds to play on an interception by Laron Scott
Eli Manning and the majority of the Giants’ starters played just over a quarter, with receiver Hakeem Nicks making his preseason debut. New England rested their starters with only fullback Eric Kettani and defensive tackle Brandon Deaderick being the only starters on the depth-chart to play.
“I wanted to open it up a little bit and I wanted to get my body back used to it,” said Nicks, who had one catch for 6 yards. “That’s what I needed.”
.After collecting only four first downs and 69 total yards in the first half, the Giants took the second-half kickoff and went 64 yards in 13 plays with Tynes tying the game with a 34-yard field goal. Andre Brown rushed nine times for 51 yards in what has to be a late bid to make the club.
“I like how we came out in the second half and figured out how to win a football game,” coach Tom Coughlin said. “I didn’t like the way we started the game off.”
The Patriots held a 3-0 halftime lead after 30 minutes that at best were boring.
Manning and the first-team offense played into the second quarter and never got into New England territory. The closest New York got was its own 49 in the next to last play of the half.
Manning was 4 of 8 for 29 yards in four series against the Patriots’ reserves, including three without making a first down.
Gostkowski provided the only points of the half with a 20-yard field goal a little more than 6 minutes into the second quarter. The 12-play, 51-yard drive was kept alive by a third-down facemask penalty against Giants linebacker Spencer Paysinger as he tackled Brandon Bolden well short of a first down at the Giants 36.
If there was anything interesting in the first half it was the work of referee Don King and his crew on a day the NFL announced that it would open the regular season next week with replacement officials.
King took about 5 minutes and three announcements to the crowd at MetLife Stadium to explain that there were two penalties against the Giants on a punt by New York’s Steve Weatherford.
At first, King said it was a penalty on each team. He then corrected that to an illegal formation and a personal foul against the Giants, and then the officials had to meet for a couple of minutes to figure out how much yardage to access New York. They settled on five and Belichick came out to question the decision.
The crowd got restless after third announcement.
King also seemed to muff the Giants calling a running into the kicker penalty in the second quarter, roughly 7 seconds after Zoltan Mesko kicked the ball.
Coughlin also questioned King early in the fourth quarter when the officials picked up a flag seemingly thrown for the Patriots having 12 men in the huddle before a 54-yard field goal by Tynes.
King said New England called time out before the play. The Giants eventually decided to punt.
NOTES: Paysinger and Dwayne Hendricks led the Giants with six tackles each. … Matt Broha and Craig Marshall, who started at the defensive end with Jason Pierre-Paul, Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyoira out, both had 1 1-2 sacks. … LB Jermaine Cunningham had two sacks for New England. …. LB Mike Rivera had 12 tackles to lead the Patriots. … Mesko and Weatherford punted nine times. each …. QB David Carr (11 of 18 for 136 yards) played the final three quarters for New York. … QB Ryan Mallett (8 of 15 for 40 yards) played the first half for New England and Hoyer (9 of 15 for 96) finished.
(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)