Giants vs. Jets: NYG's Biggest Winners and Losers from Preseason Week 2
Behind strong outings on both sides of the ball, the G-Men claimed a 26-3 victory in the dubbed "MetLife Bowl." The Giants saw a handful of winners and losers from the exhibition action and will continue to progress to regular-season form as September creeps closer.
Check out the team's best and worst performers from Saturday night.
Winner: WR Victor Cruz
Cruz continued to build on his standout 2011 campaign, hauling in five catches for 51 yards in the first half.
With Hakeem Nicks shelved from Saturday's action, Cruz played the roles of vertical threat and possession receiver. His first step looked sharp, while his timing and chemistry with quarterback Eli Manning should have Giants fans excited.
Against last year's fifth-ranked pass defense, the third-year pro looked on top of his game.
Loser: RB D.J. Ware
Entangled in the battle for the team's second-string 'back, D.J. Ware did little to help his case on Saturday.
The Georgia product was heavily involved in the first-half Manning-led offense, but he tallied just 15 yards on 11 carries. A paltry 1.4 yards-per-attempt average is certainly cause for concern here.
Ware seemed a bit sluggish up front and didn't get much help from his offensive line.
With incumbent Ahmad Bradshaw locked in as the starter and rookie David Wilson gaining track with an eye-popping summer, Ware's niche in New York runs thin. He'll give it another shot on Friday against the Bears.
Winner: CB Jayron Hosley
Corner Jayron Hosley produced the first half's only touchdown with a 77-yard "pick six" scamper, sending Giants fans into a roisterous frenzy in a green-clad MetLife Stadium.
A third-rounder in April's draft, Hosley looked swift off the edge and was scrappy in punt return reps. After a muffed punt in last week's preseason opener, Hosley came up big for the G-Men this time around.
With cornerback Terrell Thomas sporting a suspect ACL, Hosley will be heavily called upon in 2012. Saturday's flashes were promising to say the least.
Loser: The Starting Offensive Line
The ostensible "make-or-break" unit for the Giants this year, the offensive line looked a bit porous on Saturday.
Against an aggressive Jets front seven, the line failed to make a significant push in the running game and allowed a few big hits on Manning. Much of the concern was in the interior, where the G-Men failed to muscle through with Bradshaw and Co.
Of course, it's still early, and all things considered, the Giants offense put in a reassuring performance. But it seems that front line will need to step it up come regular-season time.
Winner: K Lawrence Tynes
Tynes enjoyed a marvelous Week 2, booting kickoffs well into the end zone and winning the field-position battle against Gang Green. A blinding weakness for the veteran kicker last season, Tynes took care of business on Saturday.
Moreover, the Scotland native drilled four field goals on four attempts, including an impressive late-game 45-yarder.
Loser: WR Ramses Barden
Barden continues to fight for his football life this summer, and he failed to take advantage of the first-team reps he saw on Saturday.
With Hakeem Nicks out and Domenik Hixon continuing to adjust to post-surgery ball, this was a shining opportunity for the fourth-year pro to step up and record a few catches. Instead, his competition rose to the task, with Hixon snatching a clutch fourth-down reception and rookie Rueben Randle falling on the other end of a 49-yard pass from David Carr.
Winner: The Giants' Pass Rush
New York's stud ends, Justin Tuck, Osi Umenyiora and Jason Pierre-Paul, all stayed busy on Saturday night, churning out inspiring performances. Each player got to first-string quarterback Mark Sanchez in the first half, with Tuck and Umenyiora sharing a sack and Pierre-Paul notching two of his own.
The pass rush is New York's lifeblood on the defensive end, and they didn't disappoint against the crosstown Jets.
While Gang Green continued to tweak a new offensive system, Tuck and the G-Men wreaked havoc on the line. Backup Adewale Ojomo earned a pair of sacks as well.
Loser: LB Mark Herzlich
As Mark Herzlich pushes starting middle linebacker Chase Blackburn for his job, he seems to have tripped up a bit on Saturday.
Herzlich sustained a hip pointer in the third quarter, knocking him out for the rest of the night. We'll see just how serious the injury is tomorrow, but it's certainly not good news for the former Rudy Award winner.
Winner: DT Rocky Bernard
With a slew of defensive tackles succumbing to injury this summer, the Giants will frantically look for a reliable fill-in in the middle. Saturday night was big for Rocky Bernard, who will continue to work toward earning regular-season reps and the confidence of the coaching staff.
Bernard stuffed up a Shonn Greene run late in the second quarter and was pivotal to a subsequent fourth-down stop. While the DT position remains a mystery this preseason, Bernard stepped up on Saturday.
Loser: RB Ahmad Bradshaw
Like Herzlich, Bradshaw left the action with an injury Saturday night.
While preliminary X-rays are negative, Big Blue has to be weary of their star halfback getting knocked around. It will be interesting to see how the Giants use Bradshaw for the remainder of the preseason.
Winner: S Will Hill
A former Florida standout, Hill continues to inch closer to a roster spot in Big Blue's crammed secondary.
Hill recorded three solo tackles, trying for second most on the team, and tallied a vicious sack on Jets quarterback Tim Tebow. Hill was also involved in a third-quarter fumble recovery that was later overturned by officials.
All in all, it was a busy night for the undrafted rookie.
Winner: The New York Giants Defense
When it's all said and done, Saturday night was all about the Big Blue defense.
Stringent efforts from all three string units lead to just three points allotted, seven sacks and a defensive touchdown. The Jets were stymied all night, regardless of which QB they sent out under center.
It was a reassuring game for a painfully inconsistent defense last year. Let's see if the D can continue to build on their success from the postseason.
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