Could a telling blow have been struck not in the Jets' starting quarterback competition but in their placekicking derby Saturday night against the Giants? It's possible.
Nick Folk, our kicker since 2010, came on to try to win the MetLife Bowl over the Giants with a 39-yard field goal 1:22 into overtime. He hit his try — but ah, the dreaded "ice the kicker" timeout was called by Giants coach Tom Coughlin, his first timeout of the extra period.
And this time it worked. Folk set up for the 39-yarder again, but the re-kick faded wide right and the score remained tied at 21.
One drive later, Matt Simms-to-Ryan Spadola for 70 yards set up Billy Cundiff for his turn at the gamewinner. His first try came also from 39 yards — a miss. But wait. Coughlin tried to ice Cundiff with his last timeout of OT. The miss, which Cundiff struck knowing fully that the timeout had been called, was wiped out.
The Jets continued on their drive two more plays before Cundiff got off a 32-yarder, with no interruption, which was true green and lifted us to our 24-21 win.
"It is a tough situation because you never want to see anybody fail," Cundiff said. "Especially the way we've been competing, when you're in a competition, you want to win, you don't want somebody else to lose.
"It is discouraging. You want to see a guy succeed. But it's also the nature of our business," he continued. "I want to be a Jet. I like it here. My focus is strictly on trying to make this team until they tell me otherwise."
One kick doesn't figure to decide the battle, but for history's sake it must be noted that Cundiff, not Folk, got the walkoff winner. It was the first preseason Jets field goal to win a game in the last two minutes of regulation or OT since Mike Nugent beat the Eagles at Philly with a 35-yarder at the final gun in regulation for the 13-11 win in 2007.
The Jets finished with 420 total yards, giving them back-to-back 400-yard preseason games for the first time since they turned that trick in the first two games of 2000. They did it with 391 gross passing yards, their second-most in a summer game since 1970. Most: 446 yards in the 1973 loss to the Giants at Yale Bowl. Their 39 rushing yards, on the other hand, were their sixth-least in a game since '70, with their 37 yards in the opener at Detroit fourth-least.
Spadola had three catches for 110 yards to become the first preseason 100-yard receiver for the Jets since David Clowney had 2-108 vs. the Eagles in 2009. ... Smith's the first Jets QB to throw three INTs in one preseason game since Pat Ryan also threw three vs. the Packers at Madison, Wis., in 1986. ... The Jets' takeaway margin was minus-4, their lowest in a preseason win since they had a minus-5 but still beat the Giants, 27-23, in 1978. We've now won 14 of the last 18 preseason meetings with the Giants, eight of the last nine when the Giants are home, and are 24-10-1 in the 45-year summer rivalry. ... David Wilson's 84-yard burst off left tackle on the Giants' first play from scrimmage is the longest preseason run by a Jets opponent since at least 1975. The previous long in that span was Samkon Gado's 77-yard TD run for the Rams in 2009.