Etling TD pass, run lead Pats over Giants to end preseason

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              New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady works out prior to an NFL football game against the New York Giants, Thursday, Aug. 30, 2018, in East Rutherford. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)
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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — It takes a lot to put a smile on Bill Belichick’s face and get a handshake from the stoic New England Patriots coach in the fourth game of the preseason. Third-string quarterback Danny Etling did it all on one play.

In a meaningless game Thursday night in which neither team played their starters, Etling added a lighthearted moment to the contest and iced the Patriots’ 17-12 win with an 86-yard run on an option keeper that totally fooled the New York Giants‘ defense.

“Well that was one of the most exciting plays I have seen in preseason, I’ll say. Great call by Chad,” Belichick said, referring to the selection by receivers coach Chad O’Shea, who was given a chance to call the play.

Etling, who also tossed a 1-yard touchdown pass to Ralph Webb early in the second half, said he looked behind him seven times on the jaunt down the right sideline.

“I just wanted to make sure no one was catching me,” said Etling, who finished 18 of 32 for 157 yards after throwing six passes in the first preseason game. “I didn’t realize you could use the Jumbotron.”

Etling’s big run came on the first play after an Alex Tanney-led drive from the New York 1 stalled at the Patriots 14 with New England ahead 10-6 with 4:11 to play.

Etling, who finished with 113 yards on seven carries, faked a handoff and ran an option around right end and scored untouched to give the Patriots a 3-1 preseason record.

“When’s the last time a quarterback ran for 85 (really 86) yards, let alone for the Patriots,” Belichick said. “I’d say at least 20 years, I know that. Maybe (Steve) Grogan, (Jim) Plunkett. Eighty, that’s a long run.

“Nobody has worked harder than Danny. He’s the first one in, last one out. He is diligent. When something like that happens, you are happy for him.”

The Giants finished their first preseason under new coach Pat Shurmur at 2-2.

‘”I thought the guys played hard, we didn’t make enough plays in the end to win the game,” Shurmur said.

Giants quarterback Eli Manning chatted with receiver Odell Beckham Jr. in the first half, while Tom Brady sat next to the New England water coolers and relaxed.

Two Giants penalties for lowering the head to initiate contact set up Stephen Gostkowski 33-yard field goal in the first quarter.

Rookie Kyle Lauletta, who made the start for New York with Manning and backup Davis Webb held out, put the Giants ahead early in the second quarter with a 41-yard pass to Amba Etta-Tawo. Backup placekicker Marshall Koehn missed the extra point.

Etling set up the touchdown to Webb with a 40-yard pass to K.J. Maye.

Tanney closed out the scoring with an 8-yard TD pass to Alonzo Russell with 48 seconds to play. The 2-point conversion run failed.

GOOD IMPRESSIONS

Giants CB Donte Deayon, who battled a hamstring injury in the preseason, might have secured a roster spot with two interceptions. His drawback is he is small and injury prone.

“I won’t be nervous,” Deayon said of Saturday’s final cut. “At this point, I put it all out on the table, I put my best foot forward. At this point, what happens, happens.” … Patriots free agent CB J.C. Jackson also had two interceptions and broke up a deep pass before being carted off late in the third quarter because of dehydration. “Yeah, I had something to prove tonight. I knew I had to ball. This is the last preseason game and I’m trying to make the roster,” Jackson said. … Giants veteran CB Chris Lewis-Harris was excellent in coverage and tackling.

OBJ

The NFL’s highest paid receiver will head into the season for the Giants having not played a down in the preseason. He has not appeared in a game since breaking his left ankle on Oct. 8. Coach Pat Shurmur said he has been cautious with the 25-year-old wideout, but says Beckham will be ready for the opener.

LEG WEARY

Punters Ryan Allen of the Patriots and Riley Dixon of the Giants had busy nights, kicking six times each.

ANTHEM

There were no displays of protest by either the Patriots or Giants, with both teams standing on their sideline for the anthem.

INJURIES

Patriots: OT Ulrick John (foot) and CB Jackson (dehydration) left the game. John was wearing a walking boot after the game.

Giants: T Nick Becton (ankle) and RB Robert Martin (ankle) had to leave the game.

UP NEXT

Patriots: open regular-season at home against Houston on Sept. 9.

Giants: open at home against Jacksonville on Sept. 9.