This was what has become the typical preseason performance from the Jets, whose starting offense looked potent again while the defense remains a work in progress.
The Giants, on the other hand, got exactly what you don’t want during an NFL game in August: injuries to their two star offensive players.
The Jets got star-quality performances from Vinny Testaverde, Curtis Martin, Santana Moss and Wayne Chrebet last night at the Meadowlands in a 28-7 victory over the Giants, their seventh straight in this preseason series.
The Giants lost not only the game, but quarterback Kerry Collins to a bruised left shoulder and running back Tiki Barber to a pulled right hamstring.
Neither injury is believed to be serious. Barber was hurt during a 54-yard run in the second quarter. He slowed down because of the hamstring, but kept running until he was stripped at the goal line by Aaron Beasley. Collins fell on his non-throwing shoulder during the Giants’ second possession. X-rays were negative.
The Jets’ revamped defense still has plenty of work to do before the season opener Sept. 8 at Buffalo, and their offense backed up assertions by Testaverde and Martin this week that this team could have as many or more offensive weapons as the magical 1998 team.
Testaverde continued a stellar preseason, completing 13 of 19 for 127 yards and a 16-yard touchdown to Richie Anderson. Moss had three catches for 55 yards, including his first touchdown as a pro in the third quarter, an 18-yard pass from Chad Pennington. Moss also ripped off a 33-yard punt return on the last play of the third quarter, a run that he nearly broke after a crushing block by special-teams dynamo James Darling.
“We set a good tone early,” Testaverde said. “Hopefully, we can do that many more times this year.”
The Jets’ starting offense scored on its first possession for the third consecutive preseason game. Martin (eight carries, 43 yards) provided the spark with one of his signature cutback runs for 19 yards, wasting former Jet Omar Stoutmire in the open field.
Testaverde hit Anderson, the seldom-used fullback, four times on a drive that twice crossed the goal line: the first touchdown was negated by left guard J.P. Machado’s holding penalty.
On second-and-goal from the Giants’ 16, Testaverde hit Anderson on a slant for a touchdown that counted as he ran through soft coverage for a 7-0 lead.
“It was nice to get Richie into the mix,” Testaverde said. “I think he’s another weapon that we have. Curtis is Curtis, and he gave us a little glimpse of what he means to us with some of those runs.”
The play that typified the disjointed evening on a wet, stormy night came on second-and-7 from the Giants’ 45 in the second quarter. Barber made Marvin Jones, Mo Lewis and Beasley miss in the muck on his way to what appeared to be a 55-yard touchdown run.
But Beasley, who had dived at Barber’s legs at about the Jets’ 30, recovered and caught up with a limping Barber and stripped him at the 1. Donnie Abraham recovered in the end zone for a touchback, and Barber left the game.
The Jets’ offense then did little with the ball and for the second time in the game had to call a timeout because the play-clock was running down. With Pennington playing behind the starting line in the third quarter, the Jets took a delay-of-game penalty.
Getting plays in on time has been a recurring problem throughout the preseason, and one that was supposed to have been fixed after similar gaffes last season.
LaMont Jordan scored his fourth touchdown of the preseason early in the third quarter, with the Jets’ starters working against most of the Giants’ starters. Jordan’s 1-yard run was set up by a 32-yard completion from Testaverde to Chrebet, who beat Will Allen on a slant to the 1.
Defensively, the Jets’ starters gave up only one big play — Barber’s ill-fated run — but generated an ineffective pass rush against a young line. Shaun Ellis made some noise with a couple of pressures, but did it against inexperienced starter Mike Rosenthal. The Jets’ first unit also allowed the Giants to convert 6 of 9 third-down attempts in the first half.