EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY // Eli Manning gave the New York Giants a scare, suffering a bloody three-inch gash on the side of his head on a bizarre play that went awry when he changed a play without telling anyone else on the team. The quarterback was knocked out of the Giants' 31-16 pre-season victory over the New York Jets on Monday night. It took 12 stitches to close the cut, but the Giants medical staff found no signs of a concussion.
Coaches had called for a run up the middle by Brandon Jacobs, the Giants running back, but Manning decided to throw a fade to big receiver Ramses Barden in the corner of the end zone. The problem was he never called the "alert" to let the offense know of the change. Expecting a hand-off, Jacobs ran into Manning with his shoulder. The force of the collision knocked the ball out of the quarterback's hands and into the air. As Manning reached to catch it, Calvin Pace, the Jets linebacker, slammed him in the middle of his back, knocking his helmet off and pushing him forward.
Manning's head slammed into either Jim Leonhard, the Jets safety, or Jacobs, who were standing next to each other. He immediately fell to the turf and put his hand to his head. He quickly motioned to the training staff for help once he saw his hand covered in blood. Manning took the blame for the mix-up. "We had a run play with an option to throw a fade that I thought I might try, but Brandon (Jacobs) was coming right up the middle," he said.
"Sometimes you make a mistake and you get hit in the head. It's pre-season, you learn from it." Replays showed blood pouring from Manning's head shortly after he fell to the ground. Shaun O'Hara, the Giants centre, said seeing Manning bleeding profusely was scary. "When you see a quarterback bleeding like that, it was something out of a Friday The 13th movie," O'Hara said. "Now we know it's pretty much a laceration. I think, hopefully, it will make him look a little tougher."
The injury overshadowed a spectacular three-touchdown, second-half performance by Victor Cruz, the Giants free agent wide receiver, he had six catches for 145 yards. Cruz, from the University of Massachusetts, also had a great week at training camp last week, catching several deep balls. He caught touchdown passes of 64 and 34 yards from Jim Sorgi and a five-yarder from Rhett Bomar. * Associated Press