Kayvon Thibodeau, New York Giants (August 21, 2022)

Kayvon Thibodeau – © USA TODAY Sports

In an entertaining, back-and-forth, preseason football game, the New York Giants defeated the Cincinnati Bengals 25-22 on Sunday night at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Giants are now 2-0 in the preseason.

However, the real story line of the game is the possible serious knee injuries to rookie linebackers Kayvon Thibodeaux and Darrian Beavers. Both grabbed their knees in obvious pain. Both walked off the field under their own power. Thibodeaux stayed on the sidelines, but Beavers was taken immediately into the locker room. Both will require more testing to determine the severity of their injuries. Place kicker Graham Gano also suffered a concussion in the first half and did not return.

After the game, Thibodeaux said he did not believe his injury was serious. Beavers was in a big brace on his left knee and he said he did not know how serious the injury was.

Statistically, the Giants held significant advantages in first downs (25 to 18), total net yards (423 to 272), and net yards passing (356 to 203). The Giants were 9-of-16 (56 percent) on 3rd down while the Bengals were 4-of-13 (31 percent), though both teams also converted twice on 4th down. Neither team rushed for much yardage, the Bengals rushed for 69 yards while the Giants rushed for 67 yards. Time of possession was also equal.

Minus running back Saquon Barkley, who was a healthy scratch, and injured starters wide receiver Kadarius Toney and offensive linemen Shane Lemieux and Jon Feliciano, the starting Giants’ offense played into the early second quarter. New York’s first drive was stopped when running back Antonio Williams was stopped short on 4th-and-1 at the Cincinnati 48-yard line on what looked like a questionable spot by the officials. However, the Giants’ defense forced a three-and-out.

The Giants’ second drive ended when a quarterback Daniel Jones’ pass to tight end Daniel Bellinger went through the rookie’s hands and was intercepted (even though the ball appeared to hit the ground). The defender returned the pick 23 yards to just across midfield. The Bengals were only able to pick up 17 yards in nine plays, but this was enough to set up a successful 50-yard field goal and a 3-0 lead.

On his final drive of the night, Jones went 8-of-9 for 78 yards on nine straight passing attempts. Rookie Jashaun Corbin carried the ball for the last six yards, including a 2-yard touchdown run. Giants 7 – Bengals 3.

However, the Giants’ special teams collapsed right after this. First the team gave up a 73-yard kickoff return to the New York 24-yard line. The defense held as Cincinnati actually lost two yards on their offensive possession, but the the Bengals kicked the 44-yard field goal. Then wideout C.J. Board fumbled the ensuing kickoff. The Bengals recovered at the New York 15-yard line. The defense held again, but the Bengals kicked the 31-yard field goal for a 9-7 lead.

Though the Giants’ offense crossed midfield on their final two drives of the 2nd quarter, quarterback Tyrod Taylor’s passing was off and the Bengals held the 9-7 advantage leading into the half.

Cincinnati received the ball to start the 3rd quarter and they easily drove through the Giants’ back-up defense on an 11-play, 75-yard drive that ended with a 1-yard touchdown run. The Bengals now led 16-7. After both teams exchanged punts, the Giants finally managed another scoring drive, this time with Davis Webb at quarterback. New York drove 68 yards in 11 plays to set up a 31-yard field goal by punter Jamie Gillan since Gano was out of the game with a concussion. Early in the 4th quarter, the Giants now trailed 16-10.

After the Bengals picked up a couple of first downs, they attempted a 58-yard field goal that was no good. Webb and the New York offense then drove 52 yards in eight plays, with Webb connecting with wide receiver Alex Bachman for a 22-yard touchdown. Webb then rushed around right end for a successful 2-point conversion. Giants 18 – Bengals 16 with just under nine minutes to play.

However, Cincinnati responded with an impressive 12-play, 83-yard drive that ended with an easy 3-yard touchdown run. Their 2-point conversion attempt failed, but with 3:05 left on the clock, the Bengals led 22-18.

Webb completed all seven of his passing attempts on the final New York drive for 71 yards, including a 15-yard touchdown pass to Bachman. With the extra point, the Giants were now up 25-22 with 35 seconds left in the game.

The Bengals moved from their own 25-yard line to the New York 43-yard line. After a 5-yard false start penalty, Cincinnati completed a short pass. Linebacker Tomon Fox forced the receiver to fumble and cornerback Olaijah Griffin recovered the loose ball to secure the win with one second remaining on the clock.

Jones finished the game 14-0f-16 for 116 yards and one interception. Taylor was 7-of-11 for just 37 yards. On the other hand, Webb completed 22-of-27 passes for 204 yards and two touchdowns. Bachman caught 11 passes for 122 yards and two touchdowns.

Video highlights are available on YouTube.

RB Saquon Barkley was the only healthy player to be held out of the game.

WR Sterling Shepard (Achilles), OC Nick Gates (leg), and OT Matt Peart (knee) remain on the Active/Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) List.

RB Matt Breida (unknown), RB Gary Brightwell (unknown), WR Kadarius Toney (knee/leg), WR Darius Slayton (unknown), TE Andre Miller (broken right forearm), TE Ricky Seals-Jones (unknown), OC Jon Feliciano (right arm), LG Shane Lemieux (foot), OL Joshua Ezeudu (unknown), OC/OG Ben Bredeson (elbow), OL Jamil Douglas (ankle), OL Garrett McGhin (unknown), DL Leonard Williams (unknown), LB Jihad Ward (unknown), LB Elerson Smith (right foot in walking boot), CB Cor’Dale Flott (groin), CB Rodarius Williams (unknown), and S Dane Belton (broken left collarbone) did not play.

OLB Kayvon Thibodeaux (knee), ILB Darrian Beavers (knee), WR C.J. Board (ribs), and PK Graham Gano (concussion) all left the game with injuries and did not return.

Video clips of post-game media sessions with Head Coach Brian Daboll and the following players are available at Giants.com:

  • Head Coach Brian Daboll (Video)
  • QB Daniel Jones (Video)
  • QB Davis Webb (Video)

Head Coach Brian Daboll and select players will address the media by Zoom on Monday.