patriot vs. Giants Score: New York mimics New England in walk-off fashion as dominant running game leads the way

The preseason games are more than just the final score. For most fans and media members, the preseason is a way to get information about teams and players before the start of the regular season. Fans of both the Giants and Patriots learned things about their teams on Thursday-evening, except for the Giants’ 23-21 victory.

The Giants dominated the first half in terms of stats. New York won more than three times as many yards while taking a 10-7 lead at the break. The two teams traded touchdowns in the third quarter before New York extended its lead 20-14 to under five minutes in the fourth quarter. New England gathered to take the lead on rookie quarterback Bailey Zappe’s 20-yard touchdown pass to Lil’Jordan Humphrey with 4:51 left. However, the Giants made a late game drive and won the game on Graham Gano’s 24-yard field goal as time went on.

Here are the main takeaways from Thursday night’s game.

Zappe solid in NFL debut

With Mac Jones sidelined, the Patriots’ fourth round took on a heavy workload on Thursday night. The former Western Kentucky quarterback went 19-of-32 for 205 yards with a touchdown and an interception. The highlight was his scoring pass to Humphrey, who led New England with 62 yards on six receptions.

Giants O-line shines

Although they allowed a few shots at Daniel Jones (more on that later), the Giants’ offensive line was exceptional at blocking runs. The Giants fumbled 177 yards on 33 carries, compared to the Patriots’ 52 yards on 18 carries. New York was led on the ground by Antonio Williams, who ran 61 yards and carries a score on nine.

Thornton scores first NFL TD

Tyquan Thornton’s first NFL welcome resulted in a touchdown as New England’s second round pick was able to break free in the back of the end zone before pulling down Brian Hoyer’s pass. Thornton, expected to bring an element of speed to the Patriots’ receiving corps, caught 10 touchdown passes during his final season with Baylor. He averaged 15.7 yards per catch during his time with the Bears.

Butler’s Return

Malcolm Butler became a household name after his winning pick in Super Bowl XLIX. Butler’s penchant for making big plans sounded again on Thursday evening. The Patriots’ new No. 4 (Butler has switched from his old No. 21) scooped Terrance Mitchell’s Giants forced fumble wide out of Collin Johnson on New York’s third possession. Butler played in his first game in nearly two years after retiring for the start of the 2021 season.

Barkley’s solid preseason debut

Giants running back Saquon Barkley looked good in his only possession. He had four carries for 13 yards and also caught an 8-yard pass on the third down to help the Giants move the chains. Barkley hopes to get back into shape this season after being injured in the past two seasons.

Jones feels the heat

Jones was solid in his two runs below the middle. The Giants quarterback went 6 of 10 for 69 yards as he led New York to a field goal on the opening run of the game. His favorite target was Johnson, who caught both of his goals from Jones for 30 yards. Johnson finished the game with seven catches for 82 yards.

Jones, however, did not come out unscathed. On his last ride, he took a sack from Josh Uche before getting hit on his final pass attempt. The former first-round squad was sacked 105 times in his first three seasons, but only 22 times in 11 games in 2021.

Patriots play-call

A looming question was who will call the New England plays now that Josh McDaniels is in Las Vegas. It seems the Patriots don’t know that answer either, as Matt Patricia and Joe Judge took turns calling the plays on Thursday night. Patricia appeared to call play during Hoyer’s first half, while Judge called plays for Zappe.

Tre Nixon makes presence felt

The young New England receiver caught 36- and 32-yard passes on the Patriots’ go-ahead to start the second half. Nixon, a seventh-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, caught 11 touchdowns and averaged 15.6 yards per catch during his two active seasons with UCF.

New England has several O-line injuries

The injury bug hit the Patriots’ offensive line on Thursday-evening. Justin Herron, Yodny Cajuste and Bill Murray each left the game with injuries. Despite those injuries, the Patriots’ patchwork offensive line performed well enough to help New England take a 21-20 lead late in the game.

Taylor still has it

Tyrod Taylor looked sharp in his first preseason game with the Giants. The 12-year veteran and former Pro Bowler started the game 12 of 14 for 118 yards and a touchdown to Richie James that gave the Giants a 10-7 lead late in the first half. The 33-year-old seems more than capable of leading the Giants’ charge if asked.


The taunting of (aka unsportsmanlike) penalties has been a hot-button issue in recent weeks as the NFL has been taunting hard. At the end of the first quarter, Giants cornerback Aaron Robinson was awarded a head-scratching mock penalty. The penalty helped set up the Patriots’ first touchdown.

Next one

The Giants will play host to the AFC champion Cincinnati Bengals on August 20, while the Patriots will face Baker Mayfield and the Panthers on August 19.

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