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Jones battled past this week’s noise to continue his strong preseason Thursday night. The Browns quarterback’s criticism of Jones thrust the Giants’ No. 6 overall pick into the national spotlight. Mayfield eventually reached out via text message to clear the air.
But Jones completed 9-of-11 passes for 141 yards in three-plus drives in a 25-23 win over the Bengals and led the offense to a touchdown for the third straight game. He played three drives behind the first-string offensive line and a 24-second possession with the second string to end the first half.
On the second-quarter scoring drive, Jones hit wideout Brittan Golden deep down the middle of the field for 35 yards. Cincy edge rusher Carl Lawson beat left tackle Nate Solder and crushed Jones in the back to force a fumble, nearly snuffing out the drive.
Golden recovered, though, and Jones persevered to hit fellow rookie Darius Slayton for 27 yards down to the 1-yard line on a jump ball down the left sideline. It was Slayton’s preseason debut and first catch as a Giant.
Running back Rod Smith then punched in a 1-yard TD, leaving Jones’ preseason numbers looking impressive entering next week’s finale at New England: 25-of-30 passing (83.33%), 369 yards, two TDs, three fumbles, two lost, and 24 NYG offensive points scored in 10 drives (not counting Thursday’s end-of-half possession).
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