EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. —As far as bragging rights go, this was far from one to boast about.
Neither the Giants nor Jets looked much like playoff material after a week of trash talk about who ruled New York football. But the Giants kept their postseason hopes alive by winning 29-14 on Saturday, with Victor Cruz setting two franchise receiving records and Ahmad Bradshaw running for two touchdowns.
The Giants (8-7) are now in position to win the NFC East with a victory next week against Dallas. Meanwhile, the Jets' playoff hopes took a serious hit, and at 8-7 they'll need to win at Miami next week and get some help from several other teams.
Cruz, who had three catches for 164 yards, broke Amani Toomer's single-season mark for yards receiving — and the team's record for longest touchdown reception, a 99-yarder that gave the Giants the lead for good in the second quarter.
Jets coach Rex Ryan set the tone early in the week, saying he believed his club was the better team in the area. Tom Coughlin responded by saying, "Talk is cheap. Play the game."
It was the Giants who did.
"They were the better team today, and they're the better team this year," Ryan said. "Clearly, I was wrong."
The back-and-forth continued even before the game, when Giants kicker Lawrence Tynes and running back Brandon Jacobs both removed black curtains placed by the Jets over the Giants' Super Bowl logos. The Jets said it was simply their standard practice to cover those logos for every one of the team's home games, regardless of opponent, because it is the players' entrance.
It was a brutal game at times, with both offenses sluggish and prone to mistakes. The Jets were also penalized 10 times, including a late hit call on Aaron Maybin, who plowed into D.J. Ware in the fourth quarter — a play on which Coughlin was injured out of bounds.
The Giants coach needed to be checked out on the bench briefly before limping back to the sideline.
Eli Manning finished just 9 of 27 for 225 yards. Mark Sanchez completed 30 passes on a career-high 59 attempts but put up only 258 yards and was intercepted twice.
Total Net Yards332331
Interceptions Ret. 2-471-20
Time of Possession23:5436:06
N.Y. Giants0 10 7 12—29 N.Y. Jets7 0 0 7—14
NYJ—Baker 5 pass from Sanchez (Folk kick), 7:56.
NYG—FG Tynes 21, 11:51.
NYG—Cruz 99 pass from Manning (Tynes kick), 2:12.
NYG—Bradshaw 14 run (Tynes kick), :13.
NYG—FG Tynes 36, 13:18.
NYJ—Sanchez 1 run (Folk kick), 7:17.
NYG—Canty safety, 2:13.
NYG—Bradshaw 19 run (Tynes kick), 2:04.
Rushing—N.Y. Giants, Bradshaw 15-54, Jacobs 7-42, Ware 3-20, Manning 1-(minus 1). N.Y. Jets, Greene 14-58, Tomlinson 5-29, Sanchez 4-13, Kerley 1-6, Holmes 1-(minus 1).
Passing—N.Y. Giants, Manning 9-27-1-225. N.Y. Jets, Sanchez 30-59-2-258.
Receiving—N.Y. Giants, Cruz 3-164, Nicks 1-20, Jacobs 1-13, D.Thomas 1-11, Bradshaw 1-8, Ware 1-5, Barden 1-4. N.Y. Jets, Keller 8-77, Tomlinson 6-36, Kerley 5-36, Holmes 4-50, Burress 3-34, Greene 3-20, Baker 1-5.
Missed Field Goals—N.Y. Jets, Folk 44 (WR).