And Cruz had a step or two on Darrelle Revis. Manning led Cruz a tad too far out of bounds on the nearly 40-yard toss. But the Giants opened the game intent on getting Cruz the ball. He was targeted eight times, and finished with five receptions for 51 yards.
Cruz's longest catch of the night was a 21-yard reception in the first quarter. Cruz paid for the catch, as LaRon Landry popped him hard across the middle. But the receiver hung onto the ball and promptly got up and signaled for the first down.
"[Landry] was kinda telling me the whole game he wanted to lay one on me," Cruz said. "Once they called that route, I was trying to stay away from him as much as possible, but he got a pretty good lick on me. You know I had to get up with a little bit of swagger. I couldn’t just let him do me like that."
Cruz said he did not feel the hit was an illegal one.
"Hit me right in the chest," Cruz said. "It was a legal hit. It was nothing illegal. It was a good shot."
"He was talking to me all game and on that specific play he laid a pretty good shot on me and was pretty excited about it," he added. "But I just wanted to remind him we moved the chains on that play, too."
The Jets certainly need no reminder of how good Cruz is. He had the unforgettable season-saving 99-yard touchdown against them last Christmas Eve, and his original breakout performance came against the Jets back in the 2010 preseason.
Cruz repeatedly got open against the Jets secondary on Saturday night, and the chemistry between Manning and Cruz gets stronger with each practice and game.
"Confidence," Cruz said of the difference this preseason. "I’m out there and I’m a little bit more confident. I understand this offense a lot better and I’m able to work within the offense as opposed to thinking about my routes, thinking about plays -- I’m more comfortable."