EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Joe Flacco and the New York Jets’ starting offense were far from sharp against the New York Giants.
They’ve got two weeks to work out the kinks — while they wait to see when Zach Wilson returns from his knee injury.
Flacco threw a pick-6 and the Jets’ offensive starters mostly struggled while playing into the second quarter against mainly Giants defensive backups in a 31-27 victory in the teams’ preseason finale Sunday.
“You could see this was a necessary evil to get these guys out on the football field so they could play together,” coach Robert Saleh said. “I’m not concerned.”
Flacco, likely to open the regular season at quarterback for the injured Wilson, made his preseason debut and finished 7 of 12 for 76 yards and had an interception returned for a touchdown by Austin Calitro in his four series. The Jets’ five starting offensive linemen also played together for the first time.
Jets fourth-stringer Chris Streveler led his third straight fourth-quarter winning drive. Marching the Jets (3-0) down the field in the waning moments, he found a wide-open Calvin Jackson Jr. for a go-ahead 5-yard touchdown with 22 seconds left.
Streveler, a former CFL quarterback who had three previous NFL stints, was 10 of 13 for 96 yards and two TDs.
“He’s probably had one of the greatest preseasons in the history of football,” Saleh said. “It’s awesome.”
While Saleh opted to give his starters on offense and defense some action, the Giants’ Brian Daboll went with about half his starters on defense and none of his skill players on offense.
Tyrod Taylor started at quarterback for the Giants (2-1) with starter Daniel Jones held out, but was carted from the sideline in the first quarter with a back injury. Taylor took a big hit from Jets rookie Micheal Clemons after completing a 25-yard pass to rookie tight end Daniel Bellinger.
“He should be OK,” Daboll said of Taylor. “I don’t think there’s anything. He just landed hard and I talked to him at halftime.”
Taylor was 2 of 4 for 29 yards and an interception and was replaced by Davis Webb, who led four scoring drives.
SLOPPY JOE & CO.
The 37-year-old Flacco had a strong training camp, especially since replacing Wilson as the QB1 after the second-year quarterback suffered a bone bruise and torn meniscus in the preseason opener at Philadelphia. Wilson is out a few weeks after having arthroscopic surgery and it’s uncertain if he’ll be ready for Week 1 against Baltimore. If not, it’ll likely be Flacco.
The Jets’ first series ended on a fumble by running back Michael Carter. They punted on their second possession and got a 49-yard field goal from Greg Zuerlein on their third.
On the fourth, Flacco rolled right to avoid heavy pressure and made a poor throw to Carter that was easily picked off by Calitro, who returned it 35 yards for a TD to give the Giants a 10-3 lead with 12:18 remaining in the second quarter.
And that was it for Flacco and the starters.
Saleh called Carter’s fumble and Flacco’s interception “sloppy.”
Mike White led the Jets on touchdown drives on two of his three possessions to end the first half.
With the Jets trailing 10-3, White threw short to Braxton Berrios, who zipped into the end zone for a 21-yard touchdown to tie it. White threw a 19-yard strike to Jeff Smith to make it 17-10 with 26 seconds left before halftime.
White finished 13 of 17 for 170 yards and the two TDs before being replaced by Streveler with 11:49 left.
Webb played the rest of the game after replacing Taylor and finished 30 of 38 for 202 yards and a touchdown.
After Jashaun Corbin’s 1-yard tied it at 17 for the Giants in the third quarter, Webb put them ahead when he hit Austin Allen for an 18-yard touchdown on the first play of the fourth quarter
It was the second straight solid preseason outing for Webb, who threw two touchdown passes in the fourth quarter against Cincinnati last week.
“He’s been balling all camp,” Allen said. “He’s been doing great. You can tell he’s been in his offense for a while.”
DENZEL DOES IT
Denzel Mims, who requested to be traded by the Jets earlier in the week, had a diving 29-yard touchdown catch from Streveler with 7:19 left — possibly raising his value — to tie it at 24.
Mims had seven catches for 102 yards and the score.
“I just went out there today and played football and took advantage of my opportunities,” said Mims, speaking publicly for the first time since his trade request. He added he has “nothing but respect” for the coaching staff.
Ryan Santoso kicked a 49-yarder to put the Giants ahead 27-24 with 2:02 left. Santoso, who also made a 36-yarder, was signed earlier this week because regular kicker Graham Gano suffered a concussion last week against the Bengals.
Saleh announced first-round pick Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner will start at cornerback opposite D.J. Reed in the regular-season opener.
The Giants’ Bellinger and DL Jalyn Holmes were ruled out with concussions after halftime.
Giants: Open the regular season at Tennessee on Sept. 11.
Jets: Host Baltimore in the regular-season opener on Sept. 11.
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