The previous nine preseason and regular-season games between the Jets and the Giants had been won by the road team, defying the odds. That trend ended for the Green & White tonight as they came into MetLife Stadium as the away side, but not before they came back from a 29-3 halftime deficit to cut their deficit to one point with 1:32 to play.
Only after rookie Elijah McGuire's go-ahead two-point run was stopped inches short could the host Giants put their 32-31 win into the big green-and-blue book.
Christian Hackenberg played the first half as the Jets QB and struggled, producing only a field goal on eight series. Petty came on in the third quarter and led the Jets on four 50-yards-plus drives, the last three producing touchdowns.
Petty left for the sideline after suffering a knee injury, severity unknown, at the two-minute warning. Hackenberg returned, needing 66 yards for a tying touchdown. He got it, with the final completion coming on Frankie Hammond's leaping, knee-down 17-yard TD catch over first-year CB Tim Scott.
Here are five takeaways from the 49th summer game between the Jets and Giants:
1. Early Offensive Struggles
The Jets' offensive woes continued through their first four drives with Hackenberg at the controls. A 3-and-out opened the game — with Hack taking another good lick on an unblocked blitz — then was followed by two plays to a safety as Matt Forte, returning to action, was taken down in the end zone by Jason Pierre-Paul, then one play to an interception-return TD by Landon Collins, then a 3-and-out.
On drive No. 5, the series bridging the first two quarters, Hackenberg and the Jets began to move, nine plays and 66 yards to the Giants 9, before stalling. Chandler Catanzaro's first field goal as a Jet, from 27 yards out, cut their deficit to 19-3 with 10:31 left in the second quarter.
2. Hot Sheldon
In between their first drive and their fourth, the Jets defense was touched for 56-yard drives to a field goal by former Jets K Mike Nugent and then a 1-yard TD run RB Orleans Darkwa.
But Richardson had been active all game — his heavy pressure on Eli Manning led to Juston Burris' opening-drive interception. Then on third down, as Leonard Williams walked off the field with a wrist injury, Richardson dropped Josh Johnson from behind for a third-down sack and a defensive stop.
3. Searching for Robby
Hackenberg, who threw his first and only TD as a pro to Robby Anderson against the Giants last summer, tried to generate some late-first-half magic with Anderson again. But a long ball from midfield was underthrown and batted away from Anderson by CB Eli Apple.
Then with 1:23 to play, Hack and Robby appeared briefly to connect on a short slant. But Anderson was immediately crunched by Janoris Jenkins, the ball popped up in the air, and first-year CB Donte Deayon plucked it and took off down the right sideline for the Giants' second INT-return TD of the half and the 29-3 lead. Hackenberg finished his half of work with 8-of-15 passing for 60 yards.
Best Images from the Annual MetLife Bowl
4. Petty Time
Bryce Petty came on at the start of the third quarter for the Green & White and put together a fairly impressive drive that moved 51 yards on seven plays. But going for it on fourth-and-2 from the Giants 13, Petty couldn't hook up with rookie Chad Hansen and that drive also ended without points.
But Petty and the Jets came right back with a seven-play, 66-yard march that Petty capped with a perfect rainbow to rookie WR ArDarius Stewart, whose DB had fallen in coverage, for the 25-yard score that ended the Jets' TD-less drought at 34 drives and cut the Giants' lead to 29-10 with 3:53 left in the third quarter.
5. Bilal Burst, Stewart Encore
Then a pretty play that was pretty long: a short Petty pass to Bilal Powell, lined up in the slot, that Powell erupted downfield with and wasn't caught until he hit the goal line. The 85-yard completion was the Jets' longest in the preseason since Richard Todd to Lam Jones for a 90-yard TD at the Giants in 1980. And Powell, with 110 yards on four catches, became the first Jets RB since at least 1970 with 100 receiving yards in a game. Add on Petty to rookie Chad Hansen for the two-point conversion and the Jets had suddenly made it manageable at 29-18 with a whole quarter to play.
Then Petty and the offense struck again. Hansen drew a 31-yard pass interference call on CB Nigel Tribune at the Giants 15. Then Petty looked right, saw nothing, then looked left and saw Stewart waving and standing all alone in the end zone. Petty's slight wobbler still found the rookie for his second touchdown and the game was suddenly a one-score affair with the Jets trailing 32-25 with 7:58 to play, setting the stage for the fantastic finish.