Daniel Jones completed a difficult week with an upbeat performance that will shush the doubters for a while.
Jones completed a pair of long passes and led the New York Giants to a touchdown during a 25-23 victory over the Bengals on Thursday night in Zac Taylor's first home game as Cincinnati's head coach.
"I think it's time to start asking some questions of the people that didn't like him," coach Pat Shurmur said.
In a GQ article published Tuesday , Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield said he was stunned that the Giants drafted the quarterback from Duke in the first round. Mayfield tried to tamp down the comment and texted Jones to explain his remarks.
"He just told me it was a miscommunication, a misinterpretation of what he said," Jones said. "I appreciated him reaching out. I just told him no worries."
Jones got into the game on the Giants' second series and went 9 of 11 for 141 yards the rest of the half. He had completions of 35 yards to Brittan Golden and 27 yards to Darius Slayton on a seven-play touchdown drive, a solid all-around showing for Eli Manning's eventual replacement.
Manning advised Jones about how to handle the flap with Mayfield.
"I thought he did great," Manning said. "I told him what to say. He didn't listen to me, though. He took the high road."
Manning led an opening 15-play series that ended in a field goal and included five plays that gained at least 9 yards. Manning was 4 of 8 for 41 yards. In three preseason games, Manning is 9 of 13 for 86 yards with a touchdown and no interceptions.
Golden had a 63-yard punt return for a touchdown in the fourth quarter as the Giants pulled away.
The Bengals distributed 34,887 tickets for the game, fewer than for the first home preseason game last year. They had the second-lowest home attendance in the league last season, part of the impetus to fire Marvin Lewis and bring in Taylor to try to stir fan interest.
The Bengals' new offense under Taylor has struggled to find consistency. Andy Dalton played three series that ended with a couple of punts and a touchdown.
Dalton found tight end C.J. Uzomah down the right sideline — he beat safety Jabrill Peppers — for a 26-yard touchdown on his third and final series. Dalton was 7 of 10 for 104 yards behind a mix-and-match line. Andre Smith started at left tackle for Cordy Glenn, who missed practice this week, and moved to right tackle in the second quarter.
"I thought we moved the ball well," Dalton said. "On the first drive, we had some missed communications that we've got to get fixed."
Rookie Ryan Finley finished the first half when Dalton left and was 14 of 20 for 155 yards with no interceptions and three sacks.
"Obviously there are some things we need to work on, but we showed flashes of the things we can do well," Uzomah said.
The Bengals had a moment of silence pregame for former running back Cedric Benson, who died in a motorcycle accident in Texas over the weekend. Benson played for the Bengals from 2008-11.
GO FOR IT
The Giants went for it on fourth down twice in the first quarter. They converted a fourth-and-1 to keep Manning's drive going, and failed on fourth-and-4 on Jones' first drive.
TIGHT END RETURN
Giants tight end Evan Engram made his first preseason appearance and caught the one pass thrown his way for 9 yards.
Last year, the Bengals distributed 35,633 tickets for their first preseason game last year and 39,520 for the second one.
Taylor continues to try different combinations on the line, which lost left tackle Jonah Williams and left guard Clint Boling before the start of camp.
"We're working through it," Taylor said. "We need some guys to step up."
Giants: WR Golden Tate III (concussion) was out, along with RB Saquon Barkley. RB Rod Smith scored on a 1-yard TD run in the second quarter and missed the rest of the game with a groin injury.
Bengals: WR John Ross missed his third preseason game with a hamstring injury. Cornerbacks Dre Kirkpatrick and Darqueze Dennard and running back Joe Mixon were held out. WR Auden Tate suffered a left knee injury in the first half and didn't return.
Giants: Play at New England next Thursday.
Bengals: Host the Colts next Thursday.