Eli Manning hurt in Giants’ 31-16 win over Jets
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Mark Sanchez was sharp, while Eli Manning needed stitches.
Manning was forced to leave the New York Giants’ 31-16 victory over the Jets after suffering a bloody, 3-inch gash to the left side of his head early in the second quarter Monday night.
The Giants quarterback needed 12 stitches to close the cut, and showed no sign of concussion after being hurt with 10:45 left in the first half.
Sanchez led the Jets on three scoring drives, overcoming an interception on his first pass, while playing the entire first half in the first football game played at the New Meadowlands Stadium.
The teams traditionally meet in the third game of the preseason, but both wanted to be part of the unveiling of their new $1.6 billion, 82,500-seat home.
The big night ended early for Manning, who was hurt when running back Brandon Jacobs rumbled up the middle and smacked into him with his shoulder on a fake handoff.
After losing the ball, Manning tried to grab it, but was smacked in the middle of his back by Calvin Pace. Manning’s helmet was knocked off, pushing him forward, face-first. Manning’s head plowed into either Jets safety Jim Leonhard or Jacobs, and the quarterback quickly called for the training staff, his hand covered in blood.
Manning was replaced by Jim Sorgi, who backed up Eli’s brother, Peyton, in Indianapolis for the last few seasons. Sorgi filled in nicely, throwing two touchdown passes to rookie Victor Cruz, who finished with three TD catches.
This was a Jets home game, with the stadium’s exterior lit up in green, and the interior filled with the team’s logos and colors. The Jets also inducted the first six members of their ring of honor, including Joe Namath, who led the franchise to its only Super Bowl in 1969.
The kinks were still being worked out in the stadium as a fire alarm went off in the first quarter that knocked out the public address system until the second quarter.
The Giants host the first regular-season football game against the Carolina Panthers on Sept. 12. The Jets will host their first game the following night, again in front of a national Monday Night Football audience, against the Baltimore Ravens.
After a week of trash talk leading into this game, the Giants – at least with their backups – showed they were the superior team on this night.
Sanchez showed no signs of being tentative in his first game since having the patella-stabilizing ligament in his left knee repaired in February. He was 13 for 17 for 119 yards, including a 4-yard touchdown pass to Brad Smith in the first quarter that tied it at 7.
The newest Jets also made their debuts with LaDainian Tomlinson, Santonio Holmes, Antonio Cromartie, Jason Taylor and Brodney Pool all seeing action.
Tomlinson, who played sparingly in the preseason in his nine seasons in San Diego, had 17 yards on eight carries. He also had a 14-yard touchdown run, flashing some nifty moves, nullified by a holding penalty.
The Giants, who didn’t have several starters play due to injuries, took an early lead by capitalizing on a mistake by Sanchez. On the Jets’ second play from scrimmage, Sanchez threw into double coverage to Tomlinson, who had the ball tip off his hands and right to Antrel Rolle. The Giants safety, acquired from Arizona in the offseason, returned it 59 yards before being tackled at the 1 by Dustin Keller.
Three plays later, Jacobs plowed into the end zone for a touchdown.
That was about all the offense Manning and the Giants’ first-teamers could muster early. They had zero yards of total offense until Ramses Barden’s 6-yard catch to close the opening quarter.
With the Jets leading 16-10, Cruz made a nice one-handed grab down the left sideline over Dwight Lowery to put the Giants ahead with a 64-yard touchdown.
Cruz also caught a 34-yard touchdown pass from Sorgi to give the Giants a 24-16 lead with 12:27 left in the game. Cruz’s 5-yard catch from Rhett Bomar capped the scoring with 2:24 remaining.
Notes: Jets C Nick Mangold was held out as a precaution after taking a blow to the head in practice last week. Rob Turner started in his place. … Giants LB Chase Blackburn left with a sprained right knee.
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