Calhoun's clutch catch caps Giants' preseason comeback over Patriots

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Eli Manning and Tom Brady are ready for the season, and so is Rhett Bomar.

Haven't heard of him? Well, he just might be the New York Giants' backup quarterback.

Bomar probably nailed down the job, throwing a 60-yard scoring pass to Duke Calhoun with 1:49 to play as the Giants rallied for a 20-17 victory over the New England Patriots on Thursday night.

"It felt great," said Bomar, who completed 11 of 24 passes for 171 yards and one interception. "You always want to end the preseason on a good note. It was good to end it like that."

Bomar, 25, assumed the backup job this week when veteran Jim Sorgi was placed on injured reserve with a shoulder problem. However, the Giants' concern was that the second-year pro has never played in a regular-season game, which might work against him if the team decides it wants a veteran to back up Manning.

Against the Patriots, Bomar led the Giants to three scores, including two 24-yard field goals by Lawrence Tynes.

"I went out there and played and not everything was perfect," Bomar said. "But I made some plays and whatever happens, happens."

The winning score came just minutes after Darnell Jenkins put the Patriots ahead 17-12 by catching a short pass from Brian Hoyer and turning it into a 66-yard scoring play with one move and a burst of speed.

The winner came on a 16-yard in route. Calhoun, a free agent from Memphis, caught the ball in stride, made a defender miss and scored. Gartrell Johnson ran for a two-point conversion.

Calhoun was still holding the ball in the locker room after the game.

"I was glad to have the opportunity," said Calhoun, who remains a long shot to make the team. "When my number was called, I did the best I could to make a play."

The good news for both teams was they came out of the preseason finale relatively healthy.

The Patriots (2-2) will host Terrell Owens, Chad Ochocinco and the Cincinnati Bengals on Sept. 12. The Giants (2-2) will open at home against the Carolina Panthers in their new $1.6 billion stadium.

Manning and Brady looked good in their final tuneups.

Manning (7 of 9 for 91 yards) and Brady (4 of 8 for 51 yards) each threw a touchdown pass on his first series. Manning's touchdown covered 13 yards to tight end Kevin Boss and capped a nine-play, 86-yard drive after the opening kickoff.

"It's good to end the preseason on a good note," Manning said. "You're going to go through some ups and downs in the preseason. Not everything is going to work. You don't get a lot of series, so it was good to end on a good note tonight."

A 55-yard return by Thomas Clayton on the ensuing kickoff set up an eight-play drive that Brady capped with a 5-yard touchdown toss to tight end Rob Gronkowski.

"We converted a third down, got a big play," Patriots coach Bill Belichick said. "It was nice to see us move the ball, not like it was last week."

The Patriots also got a 46-yard field goal by Stephen Gostkowski just before halftime for a 10-9 lead.

There have been questions about both defenses coming into the season, and they struggled early. In fact, both looked overmatched on the opponent's first series.

The Patriots, who gave up 36 points in a loss to the St. Louis Rams, saw the Giants produce five plays of at least 11 yards on the first of just two drives with Manning at the helm.

"Overall, we had our ups and downs," Belichick said. "The team has worked hard. I think they're ready to go. They competed well for the most part on a day-in, day-out basis."

New York's defense, which looked feeble in a loss to Baltimore and its no-huddle offense last week, was able to stop the Patriots' running game, But the Giants couldn't put much pressure on Brady, who even had tight end Alge Crumpler drop the ball on a potential big gain.

Giants linebacker Michael Boley has no doubts about the defense.

"I think we took a step forward," Boley said. "We did give up a touchdown on the opening drive and that is something we have to work on. But I have no doubts. I know we will get better between now and Game 1."

Brady helped set up Tynes' first field goal, putting a long pass to Randy Moss up for grabs late in the quarter. Safety Antrel Rolle intercepted it and returned it 28 yards.

The game had some interesting moments. After Tynes gave New York a 12-10 lead late in the third quarter, the Giants stopped the Patriots three times from their 1-yard line.

Hoyer and Jenkins, however, turned a short look-in into a long touchdown pass with less than 5 minutes to play.

"This was the last game for guys to be evaluated," Jenkins said after making five catches for 91 yards. "I did all that I could do. The decision is with the organization. This game was a plus, but it is what it is."

Calhoun then took advantage of a missed tackle on his short pass to give the Giants the win and prevent them from heading into the regular season on a three-game losing streak.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press

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