Patriots rookie wide receiver Tyquan Thornton celebrates after catching a touchdown a pass against Giants cornerback Aaron Robinson during New England’s preseason opener Thursday in Foxborough, Mass. The Giants won, 23-21. Michael Dwyer/Associated Press

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Graham Gano hit a 24-yard field goal as time expired, Daniel Jones was solid in limited work and the New York Giants beat the New England Patriots 23-21 on Thursday night to open the preseason.

The Giants gave Brian Daboll a victory in his head coaching debut against his predecessor and the team he started his NFL career with.

Despite some breakouts by the offensive line, the Giants moved the ball well, with Jones completing 6 of 10 passes for 69 yards. Running back Saquon Barkley had four carries for 13 yards and one catch for 8 yards.

Antonio Williams had a 2-yard touchdown run and Gano made three field goals.

Brian Hoyer and Bailey Zappe each threw touchdown passes for New England, which, except for rookie left guard Cole Strange, gave most of its projected starters, including starting quarterback Mac Jones, the night off.

The Giants elected to play their starters for one quarter, which amounted to the first two series.


Zappe was 19 of 32 for 205 yards and a touchdown. Brian Hoyer was 5 of 8 for 59 yards and a TD. Kevin Harris had a 3-yard touchdown run and Kristian Wilkerson finished with eight catches for 99 yards.

The Giants led 20-14 in the fourth quarter before the Patriots took the the lead on a 20-yard TD pass from Bailey Zappe to Lil’Jordan Humphrey.

But New York responded on the ensuing series, with Davis Webb leading the Giants on an 11-play, 69-yard drive capped by Gano’s winner.

New York hired Daboll in the hopes he could bring better play out of Daniel Jones, who has underwhelmed since being taken sixth overall in the 2019 draft.

It wasn’t all positive for the Giants, though. Starting left guard Shane Lemieux played the opening series before leaving because of a toe injury. He was replaced by rookie Josh Ezeudu.

Defensively, two of New England of free agency acquisitions made their presence felt. Cornerback Terrance Mitchell forced a fumble and finished with four tackles. Linebacker Mack Wilson had five tackles and was credited with a quarterback hit.


One of the biggest questions for the Patriots has been who’d be tasked with play calling following the departure of former offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels to become the Las Vegas Raiders head coach.

There still doesn’t appear to be a definitive successor.

Senior football advisor Matt Patricia and Judge, back in New England after being fired by the Giants, have both taken turns doing it throughout training camp.

That continued Thursday, with Patricia handling the duties for the first two series. Then, after rookie Zappe was inserted in the second quarter, Judge took over the headset.

Working against New England’s second-team defense, the Giants moved the ball well on the opening drive of the game, moving all the way to the 6 before settling for Gano’s 25-yard field goal.

With backup Hoyer at quarterback, New England punted on its first series. But following a Giants punt, the Patriots went to work.


First, Hoyer connected with Wilkerson on a 33-yard pass to get the Patriots into the red zone. Six plays later, Hoyer found Thornton for a touchdown from 2 yards out.

The Giants answered just before halftime via a 7-yard TD pass from backup Tyrod Taylor to receiver Richie James.


Giants: Backup center Jamil Douglas left in the second quarter because of an ankle injury and did not return. … Rookie cornerback Cor’Dale Flott exited in the third quarter because of a groin injury.

Patriots: Offensive lineman Yodny Cajuste was helped off the field in the third quarter.

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