It looks like the New York Jets’ quarterback battle could be over by default.
After a shaky performance in his first NFL start, rookie Geno Smith might have just backed into the starting job Saturday night after Mark Sanchez hurt his right shoulder late in the fourth quarter in a 24-21 overtime win over the Giants.
Jets coach Rex Ryan refused to disclose the nature of Sanchez's injury after the annual game for the bragging rights of New York.
Sanchez (5 of 6 for 72 yards and a fumble) lay on the turf for about a minute after being hit by defensive tackle Marvin Austin seconds after completing a 23-yard pass to Mohamed Massaquoi.
The Jets' starter since 2009, Sanchez tried to throw a practice pass on the sideline, but he shook his head after making one short toss - possibly a shake-off that gives Smith (16 of 32 for 199 and three interceptions) the starting job.
Sanchez had an X-ray of the shoulder and will have an MRI on Sunday. He left the stadium right after the game and was not available for comment, but his clothes remained hanging in his locker.
"We're going to compete all the way through," Ryan said when asked whether Smith was his No. 1 at this point.
"From Day 1 I said we will make the announcement on the starting quarterback when we think it's the appropriate time ..."
Billy Cundiff won the game with a 32-yard field goal with 8:04 left in overtime. His first attempt from 40 yards missed, but Giants coach Tom Coughlin had called time out. The Jets ran two plays and Cundiff was good the second time.
It's the only time the rivals will meet this year unless they qualify for the cold-weather Super Bowl here in February. The way the Jets and Giants played, it's highly unlikely.
The story was the Jets' quarterbacks.
Smith struggled, and then Sanchez got hurt, putting his status is suddenly in question two weeks before the season opener. The only guy who looked good for the Jets was Matt Simms.
The quarterback situation has been the No. 1 question mark for Ryan's team since training camp opened. If Smith is the guy, he didn't look ready for prime time on Saturday.
"As long as Rex and the committee are evaluating us, I think I have a shot," said Smith, who stepped out of the end zone in the fourth quarter and gave the Giants a safety. "As I stated, I don't think one game, one practice or one day will tell you the type of quarterback I am."
Simms, the son of former Giants quarterback Phil Simms, looked good in mop-up action. He was 6 of 10 for 120 yards, hooking up with Ryan Spadola on a 70-yard pass play to set up the winning field goal.
The Jets blew a chance to end the game earlier in overtime when Nick Folk was wide right on a 39-yarder shortly after Da'Rel Scott lost a fumble.
Smith showed his potential when he threw a 22-yard touchdown pass to Ben Obomanu on the Jets' second possession, and led a 57-yard drive against the Giants' backups in the third quarter that gave the Jets a lead. Bilal Powell capped that drive with a 2-yard run.
David Wilson provided the highlight for the Giants. The second-year running back took a handoff from Eli Manning (8 of 20 for 83 yards) on the Giants' first possession and used a block by Hakeem Nicks to sprint 84 yards down the left sideline.
"That's what he gives this team, the opportunity to hit some big plays," said Manning, who was 8 of 20 for 83 yards. "He's an explosive back with a lot of speed, and when he gets an opening he can make things happen."
After Sanchez was hurt, Simms took over.
Following a short punt by Steve Weatherford that gave the Jets the ball at the Giants 37, Simms threw a 22-yard touchdown pass to Spadola for a 21-18 lead.
Curtis Painter played the second half and OT in a bid to replace David Carr as Manning's backup. He led a 10-play, 64-yard drive that tied the game on Josh's Brown's fourth field goal, a 40-yarder with 37 seconds to play.
Brown's other field goals covered 40, 33 and 50 yards.
First-half interceptions by Prince Amukamara and Stevie Brown on a play in which he sprained his left knee gave the Giants the ball inside Jets territory. Brown hit a 40-yarder after Brown's pick, but the offense never looked cohesive.
"It's something we'll work on, see what's holding us back, what adjustment we need to make," Manning said.
The Giants' best drive came late in the half. Manning sandwiched passes of 20 yards to Jerrel Jernigan and 34 to Nicks around a 23-yard pass interference penalty against Kyle Wilson to get a first-and-goal at the Jets 4. Three plays netted 2 yards and Manning's fourth-down pass to Nicks was broken up by Dawan Landy.
Based on reporting by The Associated Press.