If you didn’t watch this year’s edition of the “Snoopy Bowl,” in which the crosstown rival New York Jets and New York Giants squared off in an exhibition game in MetLife Stadium, you spent your night way better than some of us.
The Giants took the bragging rights in a 32-31 decision. Here are our spark notes from the game and what they might mean for the Jets as the regular season approaches.
Hackenberg’s worst outing yet
He couldn’t lead the Jets on a scoring drive in 14 tries over the first two games of the preseason, yet Christian Hackenberg looked much worse against the Giants. After the opening drive included a sack and a three-and-out, the Jets’ second possession quickly resulted in a safety of Matt Forte.
Both of these can be blamed on the offensive line (see below), but Hackenberg’s pick-six on the third drive is all on him. He telegraphed his throw to tight end Eric Tomlinson as badly as a QB can, and Landon Collins jumped all over it and danced into the end zone. Then, with less than two minutes in the half, Hackenberg tried a pass to Robby Anderson, who lost control of the ball when Janoris Jenkins delivered a hit. Donte Deayon scooped up the INT for a 36-yard return touchdown.
Hackenberg was taken out after the first half and was 8-for-15 for 60 yards and those two pick-sixes over eight drives. He did finally lead the Jets on a scoring drive that resulted in a Chandler Catanzaro 27-yard field goal, but no touchdown drives.
Bryce Petty played significantly better, finishing 15-for-18 for 250 yards, three touchdowns, a two-point conversion and no picks, but then he left the game with a knee injury (see below). Hackenberg relieved him for the final two minutes, with the Jets down a touchdown, and looked a bit more comfortable against second- and third-teamers. He threw a touchdown to Frankie Hammond but the two-point conversion was stopped short. Hack’s final stat line: 12-for-21, 126 yards, one touchdown, two picks.
The coaching staff has given Hack every opportunity to prove himself, but this putrid performance should be the nail in the coffin this summer. Sure, he’ll play plenty against Philadelphia Thursday, but both McCown and Petty ought to be higher than him on the regular season depth chart.
Leonard Williams and Bryce Petty leave with injuries
Don’t blame any Jets writer or fan for being pessimistic right now. Don’t say “look for the silver linings,” because eventually those silver linings leave the game with various injuries.
Leonard Williams left the game midway through the second quarter and headed to the locker room. He was diagnosed with a wrist injury and did not end up returning to the game. He did reappear on the sideline in the second half with a wrap around his left hand.
Then, after throwing for three touchdowns in the second half and leading the Jets’ offense with command like we haven’t seen all summer, Bryce Petty sustained an injury right at the two-minute warning when rookie offensive lineman Ben Braden accidentally rolled over his leg on a play. He walked off under his own power, but after his awesome performance in the second half, it’s extremely deflating to all followers of this team.
Linebacker Spencer Paysinger was also seen walking off the field gingerly in the final few minutes of the game.
The O-line may be worse than last year
When debating with my colleagues last week, I hesitated to agree that Brian Winters and James Carpenter took a step backward this year, but now I’m more inclined to say that that’s true. Hackenberg once again faced pressure all night and was sacked three times in his eight drives.
And unfortunately, Brandon Shell is not ready for the starting right tackle gig. He went up against a very good opponent in Jason Pierre-Paul, but not only did Shell struggle, he was just hapless. First he allowed the safety, then JPP threw him on the ground on a play soon after that.
Kelvin Beachum may not have done much to win the starting left tackle job, but it’s hard to say that Brent Qvale has done enough to win the starting right tackle job. What that means is Ben Ijalana, who can and does swing both ways for this team, will likely end up the starting RT come regular season, opposite Beachum. Shell and Qvale are good reserves in a pinch, but not ready for primetime.
The team still doesn’t have a viable returner
Frankie Hammond fumbled another return, and although Ronald Martin jumped on it for the Jets, he’s still earned the nickname “Fumblin’ Frankie Hammond” from me. Romar Morris later muffed a punt return with nobody around him, then fell on it. By my count, it’s Marcus Murphy’s job to lose, which is one of the saddest sentences you can come up with.
But Adam, SOME Jets must have had a good game!
Yes, Sheldon Richardson was the top performer among the first-teamers. He frequently pressured Eli Manning and recorded a sack and two QB hits. One of those hits forced a bad throw from Manning in the red zone. It was picked off by Juston Burris, who was generally good in coverage all night while Morris Claiborne missed the game.
The rookie receivers, ArDarius Stewart and Chad Hansen, each made nice catches in the first half against the Giants’ starting defense, after getting next to no opportunities with the first team in the first two weeks. They continued to catch passes in the second half, and Stewart in particular snagged two nice touchdowns from Petty in the third quarter, for 25 and 15 yards, respectively. Gang Green’s receiving corps won’t look nearly as questionable if both Stewart and Hansen contribute like this in the regular season.
Finally, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention this sweet touchdown play from Petty to Powell late in the third quarter:
Eighty. Five. Yards. #NYJvsNYG @bilalpowell29 from @b_petty14! pic.twitter.com/wxNcq2Tvks
— New York Jets (@nyjets) August 27, 2017
Though it came against the Giants’ back-up defense, it was still a great decision by Petty and a sight to see.
Stay tuned to nyjetfuel.com and @NewYorkJetFuel on Twitter for more analysis, especially with updates on Petty’s injury.