EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Kicker Aldrick Rosas converted all four of his field goals to help push the New York Giants past the New York Jets 22=16 in their preseason game at MetLife Stadium Friday night.
The Giants first-team offense struggled with its ground game, finishing with nine rushes for one yard, with starter Jonathan Stewart having a rough time of it in the first half.
Stewart, who got the start with Saquon Barkley on the sideline as he continues to recover from a hamstring strain, finished with three rushing attempts for minus-7 yards behind a Giants offensive line that couldn’t open any holes against the Jets defense.
Stewart’s rough night was capped with a back-breaking fumble inside the Jets’ 10-yard line.
On the play, Stewart was stopped for a two-yard loss by Jets linebacker Avery Williamson for the loss, the loose ball recovered by Jets linebacker Leonard Williams.
That turnover set up the Jets’ second touchdown of the game, and the first touchdown pass of the night for rookie quarterback Sam Darnold, who finished his night eight of 16 for 86 yards and one touchdown while also adding two rushes for 13 yards.
Five plays after Stewart’s fumble, Darnold found receiver Terrelle Pryor on a 10-yard crossing pattern in which Pryor was somehow isolated in coverage against Giants inside linebacker B.J. Goodson. That score gave the Jets a 13-7 lead.
Earlier in the game, the Jets got on the board first with a 10-yard touchdown run by running back Bilal Powell to cap an 11-play, 75-yard scoring drive. That drive was extended thanks to a big 14-yard rush up the middle by Darnold on 3rd-and-13 which set up Powell’s score two plays later.
The Giants only touchdown of the game came on Hunter Sharp’s 55-yard punt return in the open field. Sharp, who otherwise added yet another forgettable night that included two dropped balls on third down, did not have a reception in three pass targets.
Rosas’ four field goal came unanswered to close of the first half. His 27-yarder was set up by a Jets turnover on special teams in which kickoff returner Trenton Cannon was stripped of the ball by Giants linebacker Ray-Ray Armstrong, the loose ball recovered by tight end Jerell Adams at the Jets’ 15-yard line.
Rosas’ other field goal conversions included scores from 48, 40 and 21 yards.
The Giants also got a 44-yard field goal in the fourth quarter from Marshall Koehn to increase their lead 22-13.
Giants quarterback Eli Manning, who went the distance in the first half, finished his evening 17 of 23 for 188 yards (97.7) rating, his best showing of the preseason in his most extensive work.
Receiver Sterling Shepard caught all seven of his pass targets for a team-leading 78 yards.
The Jets proved to be their worst enemy, recording eight penalties in the first half for 66 yards.
Their special teams also let them down; in addition to Cannon’s lost fumble and Sharp’s touchdown return against them, the Jets lost the average starting field position battle in the first half by a mile, starting their drives on their own 24-yard line while giving the Giants 20 yards for their average starting drive.
Besides the struggles on special teams, the Jets drew 12 penalties for 108 yards.
The Jets did, however, manage a 20-yard field goal with 2:57 left in the game by Jason Myers, who was added to their roster this week.
The game wasn’t all roses and sunshine for the Giants. In addition to the struggles to open holes for the running game, the Giants lost both their starting tight ends, Evan Engram and Rhett Ellison, to injuries.
Engram left the game in the second quarter with a concussion after being sandwiched between Jets linebackers Darron Lee and Avery Williamson.
The play was initially ruled as a catch and a fumble recovered by Jets safety Marcus Maye, but the fumble was later reversed as Engram was ruled down by contact.
Ellison left the game in the second quarter with an eye injury.