Keyvon Thibodeau’s injury scare overshadowed Daniel Jones’ encouraging touchdown run in Sunday’s 25-22 preseason win over the Cincinnati Bengals.
No. 5 overall pick, Bengals tight end Thaddeus Moss bent his right knee on a low block in the second quarter at MetLife Stadium. Thibodeau remained on the lawn, clutching his right knee and wincing.
When the cart left behind Thibodeau, he at least stood up and walked slowly past her to the Giants sideline and into the medical tent.
But when he came out, he said a few words to some of his teammates on the sideline and then went to the locker room with the team’s trainer. He was officially ruled out for the rest of the game with a “knee” injury.
Thibodeau said he would be fine as he left MetLife Stadium after the game. “I’ll be back,” he told us. “We are doing well,” he said. He said he had already received good news. He walked under his own power.
Brian Daboll said he can’t say definitively that the Giants have ruled out anything serious for Thibodeau, but “I’m hoping so” and hopefully the MRI and further tests bear that out.
Davis Webb’s two fourth-quarter touchdown passes to Alex Bachman lifted the Giants to a 2-0 preseason record with one game remaining against the Jets. Edge Thomon Fox forced Trenton Irvin to fumble for the Bengals at the buzzer, and Elijah Griffin played a cornerback.
Still, the scary sight of Thibodeau lying on the turf and a second-half left knee injury to rookie linebacker Darian Beavers cast a shadow over the win and the biggest plus of the night: Jones’ first preseason touchdown.
Jones completed eight straight passes on the drive and punched in sharply when rookie JaShon Corbin rushed into the end zone for a 2-yard TD run to make it 7-3 early in the second quarter.
Jones was 8 of 9 passing for 78 yards during an 11-play, 84-yard scoring drive that spanned the first and second quarters. He did it without Saquon Barkley, who did not play at the decision of coach Brian Dabol.
And Jones did it despite the Giants’ disappointing first two possessions.
The Giants’ first drive came on a 4th-and-1 run by Antonio Williams, which the Bengals held at the Cincinnati 48-yard line.
Jones’ second drive ended with an interception by Bengals safety Dex Hill on a pass that missed tight end Daniel Bellinger. Hill took it back to 49 for the Bengals.
But Jones responded with the help of wide receiver David Sills, his offseason workout partner, making his first preseason appearance after missing the opener in New England.
Sills caught three passes for 46 yards on the drive, including a nice over-the-shoulder throw 20 yards back and catch to the left side.
Collin Johnson, Williams (two), Bellinger and rookie Van’Dale Robinson also caught passes. Robinson was a great pass rusher, but he still matters.
Jones’ latest stat was a breath of fresh air, even as he completed 14 of 16 passes for 116 yards and a touchdown — albeit against the Bengals’ backups.
The pass defense has been good for Jones, too, despite the has has has has has has has has been in the front. Max Garcia, the team’s sixth center, got the start with Devery Hamilton at left guard.
Left tackle Andrew Thomas played one quarter and then left the game midway through Jones’ touchdown. Hamilton took a shot and Will Holden came in from left guard. Holden, a tackle, then filled in as Garcia’s backup center.
Unfortunately, the Giants’ kickoff coverage following Corbin’s touchdown gave up a 73-yard punt to Cincinnati’s Chris Evans. And the injuries were increasing.
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Kicker Graham Gano went down with a concussion trying to tackle Evans. C.J. Board’s 57-yard kickoff return was destroyed earlier by Oshan Ximines, who held a penalty, fumbled on the Giants’ ensuing drive and then left with a rib injury.
And defensive end DJ Davidson, a fifth-round pick, left with an injury in the fourth quarter.
That means seven of the Giants’ 11 rookie picks have missed at least some time this preseason with injuries, including three who left Sunday’s game alone.
Tyrod Taylor replaced Jones after three series and got some work behind parts of the first and second team offensive lines. But Webb impressed on the third team, completing 22 of 27 passes for 204 yards and two scores to Bachmann.
Bachmann had 11 catches for 122 yards and two TDs.
Lefty Jamie Gillan also had a 31-yard field goal and an extra point with Gano on the sideline and Julian Love holding on.
So there were some positives. But Thibodeau’s unknown injuries loomed large.