Rex Ryan saw enough to finally reveal the New York Jets’ worst-kept secret.
Yes, Geno Smith — and not Michael Vick — will be the team’s starting quarterback this season.
"He’s done everything that we’ve asked," Ryan said after Smith threw a touchdown pass in the Jets’ 35-24 preseason loss to the Giants on Friday night.
Smith had a solid preseason and took about 80 percent of the snaps with the starters over Vick during training camp, making the announcement a mere formality. But Smith looked every bit like a cool and confident starting quarterback in this one, finishing 9 of 14 for 137 yards, including a 1-yard scoring toss to rookie Jace Amaro.
"This is no slight to Mike Vick, believe me," Ryan said. "I wanted to come out of this knowing we had two really good quarterbacks that we can win games with, and I know, in my heart, that we have two we can win with."
Smith was given every opportunity this summer to show he has progressed from a shaky rookie season that ended with three wins in the last four games.
"I think he’s taken off from where he left off," Ryan said.
Smith, who threw 12 touchdown passes and 21 interceptions last year, was happy to get the official nod from Ryan.
"It’s a big deal," he said. "But nothing’s going to change for me. … I think I did some good things, but I’ve got work to do."
Vick, who signed in March and immediately labeled Smith the starter, showed he can still make things happen on offense, too. He also threw for a touchdown with the Jets’ starters, and the defense mostly shut down Eli Manning before the Giants’ backups rallied.
Vick replaced Smith to start the second half, and after a rough first series in which he was sacked and then lost a fumble, led an 11-play, 76-yard drive that was capped by a go-ahead 3-yard TD toss to Eric Decker against the Giants’ backups. Vick finished 4 of 5 for 34 yards in his two series against the Giants (4-0).
Manning, still adjusting to new coordinator Ben McAdoo’s offense, struggled most of the way but hit Rueben Randle for a 15-yard touchdown with 5 seconds left in the first half. Manning was 12 of 21 for 139 yards, including his first scoring pass of the preseason.
"The last drive of the first half was very welcomed, obviously," coach Tom Coughlin said. "We could finally move the ball. Eli made some great plays. I thought we ran the ball well early in the game, but didn’t have anything to show for it."
Much of Manning’s production came on the scoring drive, during which he was 7 of 10 for 89 yards. He came in struggling, going a combined 7 of 16 for 49 yards in the Giants’ first three games.
"We were able to get into a little rhythm and showed what we could do," wide receiver Victor Cruz said. "It’s something to build on, no question."
After some mild trash talk during the week spiced up the matchup, the Giants’ victory gave them bragging rights over their stadium co-inhabitants in the MetLife Bowl — aka, the "Snoopy Bowl." Coughlin received the trophy that features a bronze football-playing Snoopy after the game, as well as $30,000 from MetLife to the team’s charity of choice. The Jets (2-1) also received $20,000 for charity.
Rookie running back Andre Williams, who fueled some of the hype for the game by saying the Giants are "the real New York team," had a 1-yard touchdown run with 6:12 left that put the Giants up 28-24.
Giants backup Ryan Nassib threw three touchdown passes in the second half: 3 yards to Henry Hynoski, 39 yards to Preston Parker and 31 yards to Corey Washington. Nassib finished 8 of 12 for 103 yards.
Third-stringer Matt Simms threw an 11-yard scoring pass to Greg Salas to give the Jets a short-lived 24-21 lead with 10:50 remaining.
Vick started the second half with the starters and was sacked by Damontre Moore on his first play. He then fumbled a handoff on the next play — with Moore recovering for the Giants.
"I was just going out there and trying to humiliate the opponent in the worst way possible, when I realized it was Michael Vick," Moore said. "I didn’t know it was a sack at first, then I realized that I just sacked Michael Vick."
Nassib and the Giants took advantage, scoring five plays later on Hynoski’s touchdown catch on which he reached over the goal line and touched the pylon.
NOTES: Giants LG Geoff Schwartz was carted off the field after dislocating a toe on his right foot in the second quarter. Coughlin said "it’s pretty serious." WR Marcus Harris (shoulder) and cornerback Zack Bowman (bruised triceps) also left with injuries. … Jets DB Antonio Allen left in the second quarter with a concussion. The safety was starting at cornerback for the second straight game because of injuries to the secondary. Allen and teammate Demario Davis banged helmets after a 7-yard catch by Jennings. … Jets G Willie Colon was fined $8,268 by the league for unnecessary roughness against Cincinnati last week.