EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Daniel Jones wowed the New York Giants in his short debut. It’s seemingly only a matter of time before people call for the kid to replace two-time Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning at quarterback.
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Jones hit all five of his passes and capped his only series with a pinpoint 12-yard touchdown pass to Bennie Fowler III in leading the Giants to a 31-22 victory over the local rival Jets on Thursday night in a preseason game suspended for 59 minutes in the first quarter when lightning and heavy rain rolled into the Meadowlands area.
“There were a couple of things I messed up the first couple of plays,” Jones said, who took over on the Giants’ second series. “When you’re playing with good players, it helps. We found a way to make it work. I thought it went well. We moved the ball and executed.”
It wasn’t perfect. Coach Pat Shurmur noted that Jones forgot to motion a tight end on his very first play, leaving running back Wayne Gallman against a defensive end.
“He got all completions and got us in the end zone,” Shurmur added. “That was a very effective job.”
Jones might have played more but Shurmur decided to sit him after the delay.
The 38-year-old Manning had a three-and-out opening series on which he failed to see a wide open tight end Rhett Ellison on the first play.
Sam Darnold and the Jets looked good on their opening series for new coach Adam Gase, going 75 yards in seven plays against a defense that many think is the Giants’ weak link. Darnold hit passes of 32 and 28 yards before finding Jamison Crowder from 3 yards.
“It was fun out there for that first drive and hopefully gave Jets fans a little taste of what the season is going to be like,” said Darnold, who was 4 of 5 for 68 yards.
Gase liked his team’s tempo.
“Sam did a good job of extending plays on third down, guys were in the right spot, communication was good. I thought the pocket looked good. It was fun calling it,” Gase said.
Alex Tanney added a 51-yard touchdown pass to Russell Shepard, linebacker Jake Carlock scored on a 59-yard interception return and Kyle Lauletta hit TJ Jones with a 31-yard touchdown pass for the Giants, who were 5-11 last season. Aldrick Rosas added a 23-yard field goal.
Eli McGuire caught a 7-yard pass from Trevor Siemian and Luke Falk threw a 2-yarder to Greg Dortch for the Jets’ other touchdowns. Chandler Catanzaro, who missed two extra points, hit a 34-yard field goal for the Jets, who were 4-12 under Todd Bowles.
Jets owner Woody Johnson chatted with Gase and other coaches and players on the field before the game. Johnson is serving as the U.S. Ambassador to Britain, and younger brother Christopher is the team’s acting chairman and CEO.
Halftime was cut to five minutes to speed up the game after the delay. The teams never left the field.
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There was moment of silence in the press box before the game to honor the late Don Banks. The longtime NFL writer died after covering the Hall of Fame induction ceremony last weekend.
Gase challenged when the officials failed to call pass interference against Giants rookie cornerback Corey Ballentine. Referee Clete Blakeman overturned the call on the field. Shurmur said replays showed Ballentine grabbing Tim White’s wrist.
“You’re trying to go off kind of the way we’ve been explained to over the years of the whole DPI/OPI, so it seemed like the right time, we felt good about it and got the result we wanted,” Gase said.
BELL DOESN’T TOLL:
Running back Le’Veon Bell warmed up in uniform before the game, but did not make his Jets debut. Bell, who signed a four-year, $52.5 million contract with New York in the offseason, sat out all last season in a contract dispute with Pittsburgh.
Among the Jets’ other veterans who didn’t play: DE Leonard Williams (hip), NT Steve McLendon and RB Bilal Powell. With Williams and McLendon out, No. 3 overall pick Quinnen Williams started in his NFL debut.
RB Saquan Barkley, 2018 Offensive Rookie of the Year, did not play. Neither did TE Evan Engram. WR Sterling Shepard (thumb) was out injured.
Jets running back/wide receiver Valentine Holmes had three rushes for six yards and three catches for 30 yards in his NFL debut. The Australian rugby league star is in camp as part of the NFL’s International Player Pathway program, trying to win a roster spot. “I was happy I was able to play and kind of get that first touch out of the way,” said the former standout winger and fullback for the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks of the National Rugby League.
Jets: G Brian Winters left with a shoulder injury. He is having test Friday.
Giants: RB Jon Hilliman sustained a concussion in the fourth quarter.
Jets: at Atlanta on Thursday night.
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