Ray Lucas did more than help the Jets win the preseason bragging rights to New York. His unexpected start against the Giants may also have won him the backup quarterback job.
Lucas led a game-opening touchdown drive and then turned things over to Vinny Testaverde and halfback Curtis Martin in helping the Jets to a 16-10 win over the Giants in their annual exhibition trash-talking game on Saturday night.
Martin rushed for 127 yards on seven carries, capped Lucas' possession with a 9-yard run and later scored on an 80-yard run as the Jets (2-1) rebounded from a dismal winning performance last week and brought the Giants (2-1) back to reality after two impressive wins.
Testaverde said he didn't find out until late in the week that he wasn't going to play on the Jets' first possession.
"I was happy he had the opportunity," said Testaverde, who was 9-of-15 for 94 yards in playing well into the fourth quarter. "He played great. It was good to see him move the ball down the field. It made my job easier to come in with a 6-point lead."
Most of the Giants defensive players were surprised to see Lucas.
"Parcells, I'm sure he plays all kinds of mind games and things with those guys to get them motivated, and he has been successful doing it," defensive tackle Keith Hamilton said. "Whatever works for them, let them go ahead. They were the better team tonight."
The annual preseason game featured its usual chippiness with the most blatant being a face-to-face shoving match between Giants linebacker Jessie Armstead and Testaverde, an incident which escalated into a brief 22-layer scrum.
Both teams played their starters well into the fourth quarter.
"We didn't play an inspired game and I don't know why," Giants coach Jim Fassel said. "... I'm not really happy with them."
The Jets, who were challenged by Parcells after beating Philadelphia 10-9 last week, were clearly the better team, shutting down what had been a big-play offense in the opening two weeks of the preseason.
"This is a game that helps you during the season," Parcells said. "It was a hard fought game, a good battle. Both teams were trying hard to win, at least I know we were."
"It's a tough game to read," Giants tackle Scott Gragg said. "We did some good things but not enough of them and we made too many mistakes."
The Jets scored on their first three possessions with the most impressive drive being the opening one with Lucas working with the first team.
Trying to win the backup job from recently acquired Rick Mirer, Lucas moved the Jets 77 yards in 13 plays. He completed all four of his passes and then watched his offensive line chew up the Giants for 56 yards on nine carries, the last 9 yards coming on a draw that Martin carried into the end zone.
"They came prepared for our pass rush," Hamilton said. "They had a lot of screens and draws. Hey, they did a good job. We'll see them in December though and we'll be ready."
Testaverde took over on the Jets next possession and led an 11-play, 58-yard march that stalled after the Giants stopped three runs facing a first-and-goal from the 2. John Hall, who missed the extra point after the first TD, kicked a 21-yard field goal to make it 9-0 early in the second quarter.
Graham's ability to run and create time in the pocket got the Giants on the scoreboard. After scrambling for 18 yards and hitting fullback Charles Way for 31 after being flushed from the pocket, Graham rolled right under pressure and hit Jurevicius in the corner for a 12-yard touchdown pass.
The Jets needed one play to get that back. Martin took an innocent looking handoff up the middle, broke a couple of hand tackles, including one by safety Percy Ellsworth, and went 80 yards down the left sideline for a 16-7 lead.
aluiso cut the margin to six points early in the fourth quarter with a 46-yard field goal.
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