Jets receive special start from Rodgers and Wilson, conclude preseason with 32-24 win over Giants

Jets beat Giants in preseason finale
New York Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers (8) runs a play during the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the New York Giants, Saturday, Aug. 26, 2023, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)

EAST RUTHERFORD — It’s over. It’s done. The 2023 preseason has concluded for both the New York Giants and New York Jets following Gang Green’s 32-24 victory over their cross-town rivals. 

“It was good. I felt really good with how both units looked as well as special teams,” Jets head coach Robert Saleh said after the game.

The Jets, playing their starters throughout the first quarter on both sides of the ball, made quick work of the Giants’ second-string groups. Jermaine Johnson and the defensive line harassed Tyrod Taylor consistently in their first two drives and even recorded a sack. 

From there, Rodgers, starting in his first game as Jets quarterback, went to work. He threw a beautiful fade touchdown pass to Garrett Wilson with the kind of throw Jets fans haven’t seen from a quarterback ever. The 14-yard strike gave New York a 7-0 lead and had fans rejoicing for their new current situation. On the day, Rodgers finished 5-8 passing for 47 yards and a score while playing in two drives. 

New York Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers (8) calls to his teammates during the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the New York Giants, Saturday, Aug. 26, 2023, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)

“There’s been a lot of conversations on and off the field. It’s nice to have them show up in a live situation like today. Wasn’t sure what Wink (Martindale) was going to show us but he tested us and we did some good things in adjustments,” Rodgers said of the touchdown and his growing relationship with Wilson. 

Gang Green would double their lead just a drive later when a Tommy DeVito pass was picked off by Brandin Echols who ran it back for a touchdown. The pick-six gave the Jets a 14-0 first-quarter lead and saw the end to most of the key starters on the roster. 

From there though, the Giants turned to their undrafted rookie quarterback Tommy DeVito to bring them back into the game. Big Blue responded to the pick-six with a 14-play, 81-yard drive that was capped by a Jashaun Corbin one-yard run. Former Jets running back James Robinson quickly responded against his former team on the next drive with a 28-yard run that was the catalyst for a Graham Gano 57-yard field goal conversion. 

Clinging to a 14-13 lead at the half, the Jets and Giants traded field goals to open the second half and keep Gang Green’s lead to a measly 17-16 margin. Tim Boyle’s entrance into the game saw the Jets go on a 10-play, 64-yard drive that resulted in a four-yard touchdown to Alex Erickson for a key touchdown. 

“I think Tim’s had an excellent camp. Tim is such a steady guy and he made a couple of checks. He’s done a really nice job,” Rodgers said of Boyle.

The Giants could not convert on the ensuing drive and the Jets coasted to victory shortly after with another touchdown strike from Boyle to Erickson. 

The Jets finish their preseason slate at 2-2 with the win while the Giants conclude at a 1-2 mark.

Game Notes

  • It was Rodgers’ first preseason start since the 2018 season. The four-time NFL MVP explained that his goal was to play in the preseason this year and was happy that the coaching staff wanted him to get time in. Rodgers called it a “special moment” when the home crowd gave him a standing ovation.
  • The Giants may not have played a majority of their starters, but they did get work in for one of their newest players. Isaiah Simmons, the former eighth overall pick from the Cardinals who was traded for a seventh-round pick, looked good in the first quarter of action he received. He counted for two pressures and a quarterback hit against Rodgers in the first-team offense. 
  • There were several injuries suffered by both teams. First, for the Jets, wide receiver Mecole Hardman came out with a hand injury in the second quarter and did not return. Saleh later said the injury did not appear to be serious. Will McDonald also left after an apparent shoulder injury as well. For the Giants, Bobby McCain suffered a concussion early in the contest while guard Wyatt Davis had to be carted off due to a leg injury. 
  • Xavier Gipson was probably the most explosive offensive weapon for the Jets on Saturday night. Gipson put in a 22-yard punt return to set up Rodgers’ lone touchdown drive and then caught an additional seven passes for 80 yards. 

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