It was a rough scene watching Giants running back Brandon Jacobs and Eli Manning collide on a play-action miscue, but it was even worse a few seconds later as Jets linebacker Calvin Pace barrelled into his back, sending his helmet flying.
Giants fans could only watch in slow motion as their helmet-less quarterback's head impacted the face-mask of Jets' safety Jim Leonhard.
Eli popped up quickly, motioning for trainers, as his forehead leaked a stream of blood, christening the New Meadowlands Stadium field. With 11 minutes left in the half, Manning was helped back to the locker room for further analysis of the gash.
As it turned out, the injury looked much more brutal than it actually was, proving to be nothing more than a three-inch gash on the passers' forehead that would require 12 stitches. No concussions and no further injury from the incident have been reported; the X-rays came back negative, and Eli was in good spirits.
On the record, Eli stated, “I feel fine, I feel normal. The play was my fault. We had a run play with an option to throw a fade that I thought I might try, but Brandon was coming right up the middle. Sometimes you make a mistake and you get hit in the head. It’s preseason. You learn from it. I’ll be back as soon as I can. It’s not really an injury. Nothing serious. I feel like I could go back out and play right now if I had to.”
It was likely that the drive would have been Manning's final one, lined up on the Jet's five yard line with a third-and-one situation. Before the injury, he completed four of eight passes and racked up 77 yards. The stats may be a bit deceiving, however, as 51 of those yards however came on a last minute shovel pass to Ahmad Bradshaw.
Coach Tom Coughlin indicated that they would further assess the injury at the next practice and ensure that there is no swelling or discomfort under his helmet, but it would be unlikely that any practice would be missed. To ease the minds of Giants' fans everywhere, a full recovery is expected quickly.