Manning was forced out of the Giants' 31-16 victory against the Jets after suffering a 3-inch gash to the left side of his forehead early in the second quarter Monday night.
"Initially, we were all concerned and scared," Giants center Shaun O'Hara said. "When you see a quarterback bleeding like that, it was something out of a Friday The 13th movie."
It turned out to be only a really gruesome cut that took 12 stitches to close. Manning had X-rays taken and showed no sign of concussion after being hurt with 10:45 left in the first half.
"It's really not an injury," he said. "Nothing serious. I really feel like I could go back out and play right now if I had to."
There was no need for that because his replacement, Jim Sorgi, got the Giants offense moving enough against the Jets' backup defense.
"As happy as I was with the way our ones played, I was totally disappointed with the way our twos played," Jets coach Rex Ryan said. "We got whipped by them."
Mark Sanchez led the Jets on three scoring drives, overcoming an interception on his first pass, while playing the entire first half in the first football game played at New Meadowlands Stadium.
"Based on the way we moved the ball up and down the field, aside from the interception on the first pass," Sanchez said, "I was happy with my performance."
The teams traditionally meet in the third game of the preseason, but both wanted to be part of the unveiling of their new $1.6 billion, 82,500-seat home.
The big night ended early for Manning, who was hurt when running back Brandon Jacobs rumbled up the middle and smacked into him with his shoulder on a fake handoff.
After losing the ball, Manning tried to grab it, but was smacked in the middle of his back by Calvin Pace. Manning's helmet was knocked off, pushing him forward, face first. Manning's head plowed into either Jets safety Jim Leonhard or Jacobs, and the quarterback quickly called for the training staff, his hand covered in blood.
"I looked up at the [videoboard] and saw his helmet came off and Jim was coming, and then he was bleeding," Pace said. "We were just kind of playing football."
Sorgi, who backed up Eli's brother, Peyton, in Indianapolis the past few seasons, came in and threw two touchdown passes to rookie Victor Cruz, who finished with three TD catches.
"I don't even know who No. 3 is," Jets linebacker Bart Scott said, "but he looked like Randy Moss out there with those three touchdowns."
This was a Jets home game and the stadium was filled with the team's logos and colors. The Jets also inducted the first six members of their ring of honor, including Joe Namath, who led the franchise to its only Super Bowl in January 1969.
"Amazing," Sanchez said. "It was great to see the whole stadium lit up in green and we'll be excited to play every home game here."
The kinks were still being worked out in the stadium as a fire alarm went off in the first quarter that knocked out the public address system until the second quarter.
The Giants will play host to the first regular-season football game against the Carolina Panthers on Sept. 12. The Jets will play host to their first game the following night, again in front of a national Monday Night Football audience, against the Baltimore Ravens.
"The stadium was beautiful," Jacobs said. "The only bad thing today was the stadium was dressed in green."
Sanchez showed no signs of being tentative in his first game since having the patella-stabilizing ligament in his left knee repaired in February. He was 13 for 17 for 119 yards, including a 4-yard touchdown pass to Brad Smith in the first quarter that tied it at 7.
Tomlinson, who played sparingly in the preseason in his nine seasons in San Diego, had 17 yards on eight carries. He also saw a 14-yard touchdown run, flashing some nifty moves, nullified by a holding penalty.
"I'm getting back into football shape," he said. "It's something to build on."
One player the Jets didn't have was Pro Bowl cornerback Darrelle Revis, who is holding out in a contract dispute.
The Giants, who didn't have several starters play due to injuries, took an early lead by capitalizing on a mistake by Sanchez. On the Jets' second play from scrimmage, Sanchez threw into double coverage to Tomlinson, who saw the ball tip off his hands and right to Antrel Rolle. The Giants safety, acquired from Arizona in the offseason, returned it 59 yards before being tackled at the 1 by Dustin Keller.
Three plays later, Jacobs plowed into the end zone for a touchdown.
"A lot of people are fired up because it's good to beat the Jets," Jacobs said. "It's always good to beat the Jets."
|Eli Manning suffers the gash after his helmet flies off when Calvin Pace wallops him. (US Presswire)|
|NY Giants (1-0-0) «||7||3||7||14||31|
|NY Jets (0-1-0)||10||3||3||0||16|
|TD||Brandon Jacobs, 1 Yd run (Lawrence Tynes kick is good), 11:55.|
|TD||Brad Smith, 4 Yd pass from Mark Sanchez (Nick Folk kick is good), 3:09. Drive: 13 plays, 64 yards in 7:57.|
|FG||Nick Folk, 36 Yd, 0:17. Drive: 3 plays, -4 yards in 1:29.|
|FG||Lawrence Tynes, 32 Yd, 10:44. Drive: 8 plays, 67 yards in 4:10.|
|FG||Nick Folk, 22 Yd, 3:59. Drive: 9 plays, 69 yards in 5:57.|
|FG||Nick Folk, 36 Yd, 8:47. Drive: 10 plays, 55 yards in 5:34.|
|TD||Victor Cruz, 64 Yd pass from Jim Sorgi (Lawrence Tynes kick is good), 2:40.|
|TD||Victor Cruz, 34 Yd pass from Jim Sorgi (Lawrence Tynes kick is good), 12:33. Drive: 5 plays, 42 yards in 2:21.|
|TD||Victor Cruz, 5 Yd pass from Rhett Bomar (Lawrence Tynes kick is good), 2:28. Drive: 9 plays, 62 yards in 4:23.|
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