All the ridiculous trash talk for a preseason game was forgotten as blood poured from Eli Manning's head in the second quarter. Brandon Jacobs thought he was accepting a handoff and Manning appeared to be thinking pass. The result was a bloody mess as the ball popped out and Manning was destroyed by Calvin Pace before bumping into safety Jim Leonhard with his helmetless head.
The Giants said Manning received stitches for a 3-inch gash that appeared to be just below his hairline. If you don't like the sight of blood, don't look too closely at the photos. Manning should be fine after getting 12 stitches, but it was certainly the story of the game. Now, it's time for the Beast to make seven quick observations on tonight's epic battle at New Meadowlands Stadium, which looked nice on TV:
1. Good thing rookie wide receiver Victor Cruz took the field late in the third quarter. For the most part, the Giants' offense had been awful, but Cruz pushed off with his right arm and then made a remarkable one-handed grab with his left. Maybe it was offensive pass interference, but it was still a thing of beauty. The Giants have no hope of getting this guy to the practice squad now, and they probably don't want to anyway. I'd just written that last sentence when Cruz made another gorgeous adjustment on the ball in the fourth quarter. OK, there's another touchdown. Cruz finished with six catches for 145 yards and three touchdowns. This is getting ridiculous. Steve Smith's looking for a helmet.
2. Decent debut for Perry Fewell as the new defensive coordinator, but there were some shaky moments. The Jets' touchdown in the first half came on a play when the Giants didn't have a clue who was supposed to be on the field. Mark Sanchez just lobbed a pass to an uncovered Brad Smith for an easy touchdown. Tom Coughlin has to be seething about that play. Otherwise, the Giants did a nice job getting off the field in the red zone. The Jets were forced to settle for three short field goals and a missed attempt by former Cowboys kicker Nick Folk. But there's no reason the goal-line defense should have that tough of a time getting on the field. Fewell had to be furious with that result.
3. The Giants need to start looking for a veteran punter. I know Matt Dodge has a big leg, but he was scary bad against the Jets. He didn't get any hangtime and he also had a punt blocked. Now I'd blame that more on the blocking than Dodge, but it still looked like he could've been a bit quicker on his approach. At this rate, Coughlin will have to talk Jeff Feagles out of retirement. I'm halfway serious, by the way.
4. A healthy Chris Canty will make a big difference on defense. Canty is once again playing with confidence from his defensive tackle spot. He was never right physically last season, but he's now disrupting plays at the line of scrimmage. One touchdown run was called back because Canty drew a holding penalty. He'd already drawn another one in the first quarter. He's an enormous presence in the middle of that defense.
5. I know Terrell Thomas has had a nice camp, but he took a poor angle on a short pass to LaDainian Tomlinson on third-and-13. You have to know what the down-and-distance is and Thomas really looked bad on the play. Perhaps he'd been reading all the stories about how Tomlinson's lost a step. But when you're in that situation, you have to do a better job.
6. Ahmad Bradshaw is the feature running back for the Giants. He was on the field first Monday, but that doesn't mean a whole lot. The important thing is that he's obviously the team's best back at this point. You saw what he did on that short pass from Manning in the second quarter. He raced for 51 yards and he showed some great balance to avoid tackles and stay in bounds. He's a home-run back who finally seems to be completely healthy. Could be a special season for the former seventh-round pick. I smell 1,100 yards and 8 touchdowns.
7. First-round pick Jason Pierre-Paul will have highs and lows. In the second quarter, Pierre-Paul was just engulfed by the Jets' offensive line on a few plays. He spent more time on his knees than anything else. But then he raced past veteran Damien Woody for a sack on a speed rush. It was impressive to see him lower his right shoulder and turn the corner in a hurry. I was also impressed to see second-round pick Linval Joseph come knifing through to make a play in the backfield. There will be growing pains, but both players will be in the rotation from Day 1. One more note: Santonio Holmes made former Jackson State standout DJ Johnson look really bad at cornerback. Johnson just didn't have a chance against the former Steelers Super Bowl hero. But Johnson kept playing hard and ended up with an interception in the fourth quarter. If anyone's interested, the Giants won the game, 31-16.