EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ The New York Giants got a little more than a win and another good game from rookie defensive end Adewale Ojomo in their preseason finale against the New England Patriots.
The Super Bowl champions got another piece of the offense back a week before the regular-season opener against the Dallas Cowboys next week with the return of wide receiver Hakeem Nicks in the 6-3 win on Wednesday.
The Giants’ top receiver in the playoffs last year, Nicks played for the first time since breaking his right foot in late May. He caught a pass for 6 yards and took a couple of hits in limited action and proclaimed himself ready for the Cowboys.
“I got a chance to get my feet wet,” said Nicks, who started training camp on the physically unable to perform list. “It wasn’t a lot, but it gave me an idea of where I’m at. I got a chance to work on my technique and release, and take a couple of reps. It was good enough. I caught one across the middle. I kind of wanted to absorb a hit a little bit.”
Two-time Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning was happy to have him back.
“He’s going to be fine,” said Manning, who didn’t do much in a little more than a quarter of action. “He’s going to be ready to go, we’ll be on the same page, we’ll be able to execute as well as we need to.”
Ojomo took another step toward making an NFL roster with a strip-sack against Patriots’ backup quarterback Brian Hoyer in the closing minutes that Marcus Thomas returned 12 yards. It set up a 32-yard field goal by Lawrence Tynes with 1:03 to play in the final warm-up for the teams that met in the Super Bowl in early February.
This one was hardly as interesting as the title game, but the Giants (2-2) once again scored late to win.
Ojomo, a rookie free agent out of Miami, made himself the story in this one with his team-high fourth sack of the preseason.
“The coaches have got to evaluate the film,” Ojomo said. “I think the (strip-sack) will work in my favor, but there’s a lot of different phases of the game they have to evaluate.”
Ojomo plans to be confident heading into Friday’s final cut.
“It would be a great honor to be a Giant,” Ojomo said. “They’re a first-class organization. Aside from the high taxes and high rent, it would be great to be a Giant. I’ll be confident Friday, I won’t be nervous. They have to make tough decisions, so you have to go out and do what you need to do to make it not so tough for them.”
Steve Gostkowski kicked a 20-yard field goal in the second quarter for the Patriots (1-3), who rested almost every starter.
“It was a competitive game tonight,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick said. “We have to look at a lot of people. So now we are ready to turn the page and start playing them for real. I thought we competed well and the Giants competed well.”
The Giants iced the game with 13 seconds to play on an interception by Laron Scott.
The Giants (No. 3 in the AP Pro 32) will be home next Wednesday at home against Dallas. The Patriots (No. 2) will open on the road at Tennessee on Sept. 9.
After collecting only four first downs and 69 total yards in the first half, the Giants took the second-half kickoff and went 64 yards in 13 plays with Tynes tying the game with a 34-yard field goal. Andre Brown rushed nine times for 51 yards in what has to be a late bid to make the club.
“I like how we came out in the second half and figured out how to win a football game,” coach Tom Coughlin said. “I didn’t like the way we started the game off.”
The Patriots held a 3-0 halftime lead after 30 minutes that were boring at best.
Manning and the first-team offense played into the second quarter and never got into New England territory. The closest New York got was its own 49 in the next to last play of the half.
Manning was 4 of 8 for 29 yards in four series against the Patriots’ reserves, including three without making a first down.
Gostkowski provided the only points of the half with a 20-yard field goal a little more than 6 minutes into the second quarter. The 12-play, 51-yard drive was kept alive by a third-down facemask penalty against Giants linebacker Spencer Paysinger.
If there was anything interesting in the first half it was the work of referee Don King and his crew on a day the NFL announced that it would open the regular season next week with replacement officials.
King took about 5 minutes and three announcements to the crowd at MetLife Stadium to explain that there were two penalties against the Giants on a punt by New York’s Steve Weatherford.
King also was very late on a running into the kicker penalty against the Giants in the second quarter and Coughlin questioned him after the officials picked up a flag seemingly thrown for the Patriots having 12 men in the huddle before a 54-yard field goal by Tynes.
King said New England called time out before the play. The Giants eventually decided to punt.