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Geno Smith and Jets find best form on offense

Jets quarterback Geno Smith directs his offense against

Jets quarterback Geno Smith directs his offense against the Giants during the first half of an NFL preseason game at MetLife Stadium on Friday, August 22, 2014. Photo Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

The Jets came into MetLife Stadium determined to shut up Andre Williams.

But in the end, the Giants' fourth-round rookie had the last word in the rivalry.

The running back's 1-yard touchdown put the Giants up for good with about six minutes left on the way to a 35-24 victory in Friday night's Snoopy Bowl at MetLife Stadium.

The Jets came into the game determined to shut up the Giants and prove MetLife was, in fact, their house. Williams inadvertently cranked up the intensity when he dubbed the Giants the "real" New York team. And that prompted veteran Willie Colon to respond on behalf of the Jets.

"We'll answer his remarks [Friday night]," the right guard said.

But as nice as securing the Snoopy Bowl trophy would have been, the Jets have plenty of reasons to be pleased with the performance.

A year ago, it was Geno Smith who looked dazed and confused against the Giants defense. But Friday night, the Jets quarterback was anything but.

He was as calm and cool as he's ever been, going 9-for-14 for 137 yard and one touchdown, with no interceptions. He was relieved by Michael Vick after the Jets took a 10-7 halftime lead.

Despite the loss, the Jets had a balanced attack, complete with a TD pass each by backups Vick and Matt Simms.

Meanwhile, Eli Manning (12-for-21, 139 yards, one TD) appeared to be a shell of himself behind a porous offensive line. While Smith was running free and easy and hitting wide-open receivers, Manning spent much of the evening trying to escape Muhammad Wilkerson.

The Giants, however, clawed their way back, taking a 14-10 lead on a 3-yard touchdown pass from backup Nassib to Henry Hynoski early in the third. And they weren't fazed by Vick's bullet of a TD pass to Eric Decker in the back of the end zone.

Nassib connected with Preston Parker on a 39-yard TD pass with Jets backup cornerback Brandon Dixon in coverage. But Simms, the son of former Giants quarterback Phil Simms, capped a beautifully thrown touchdown pass to Greg Salas with a Victor Cruz-inspired salsa dance.

"We've got a lot of playmakers on this team. And we can run the football," Decker said during the CBS broadcast. "A lot of guys can make plays, and you saw that tonight."

Nassib finished off the scoring with a 31-yard TD pass to Corey Washington to make it 35-24 shortly before the 2-minute warning.

The final score meant little, however, compared to the growth of Smith. As a rookie last year, he threw three interceptions in the Snoopy Bowl. But Friday night, he had zero.

Rex Ryan was so determined to beat the Giants and claim the Snoopy trophy last season that he inserted his only veteran quarterback on the roster -- Mark Sanchez -- during garbage time. The Jets won, 24-21, in overtime, but it wound up being Sanchez's last game in a Jets uniform. And his season-ending shoulder injury paved the way for Smith's starting job.

But Friday night, Ryan was far more protective of his starting quarterback. But he still was determined to win. The Jets coach kept his first defense in the game early in the third quarter. But the Jets' defensive effort gave way once the backups entered.

The Jets secondary took another hit when Antonio Allen was forced to leave the game with about 11 minutes left in the second quarter after colliding helmet to helmet with teammate Demario Davis. He was replaced by LeQuan Lewis. Backup linebacker Troy Davis suffered a leg injury and did not return, either.


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