FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) – Jared Lorenzen and Jesse Palmer led the New York Giants to touchdowns in their battle for the No. 3 quarterback spot. Now coach Tom Coughlin must decide.

The Giants beat the Patriots 27-3 in the teams’ final exhibition game Thursday night. Most of the starters, especially for New England, sat out the game to avoid injury and give coaches a chance to watch players still fighting for roster spots.

New York (3-1) got its first touchdown in two games, having managed only five field goals by Jay Feely in a 15-14 win over the New York Jets. New England (2-2) played much poorer defense than it did in last Friday’s 27-3 win at Green Bay but will have its starters back when it opens the season next Thursday night at home against Oakland.

New England’s Tom Brady and New York’s Eli Manning, who missed his second straight game with a sprained right elbow but is expected to be ready for the season opener Sept. 11 against Arizona, both sat out the game.

That gave the No. 2 quarterbacks – former Boston College players Doug Flutie of the Patriots and Tim Hasselbeck of the Giants – a chance to start and each played four series. The Giants scored on two of theirs on Feely’s field goals of 47 and 48 yards that gave them a 6-0 halftime lead

Matt Cassell, who has clinched the third-string job for New England, played the rest of the game, while Lorenzen played the final series of the first half before Palmer took over early in the fourth quarter.

Lorenzen went 5-for-13 for 54 yards and a 26-yard scoring pass to Jamaar Taylor for a 13-3 lead with five minutes left in the third quarter. But on their next series, Lorenzen threw an interception to Randall Gay, who had been beaten on Taylor’s touchdown.

Palmer entered with 13:24 left in the game and completed his only pass, a 46-yarder to Taylor to the 1. Brandon Jacobs’ 1-yard run and Feely’s extra point made it 27-3 with 11:56 left in the game.

Cassell led a 17-yard drive on the opening series of the first half, ending in Adam Vinatieri’s 30-yard field goal. But one play after Gay’s interception, Cassell’s pass was picked off by T.J. Hollowell, who returned it 22 yards. Feely’s extra point made it 20-3 with 2:06 left in the third.

New York got one important player back. Mark Jones, sidelined with an injured arch in his foot, shored up the team’s poor punt returning when he resumed that job he filled last season.

Neither Hasselbeck nor Flutie did much. Hasselbeck completed five of nine passes for 60 yards and was sacked three times. Flutie went 8-for-13 for 69 yards with one sack and an interception in the end zone by Shaun Williams.

Corey Dillon, New England’s top running back, didn’t play. New York starter Tiki Barber played the first two series and gained 23 yards on two carries.

AP-ES-09-01-05 2317EDT


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