FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Tim Tebow may have done just enough to make the New England Patriots.
In an up-and-down performance in both teams’ last preseason game Thursday night, the third-string quarterback threw two touchdown passes and one interception and the Patriots beat the New York Giants 28-20.
He was 6 for 11 for 91 yards and gained 30 yards on six carries for the Patriots (3-1). He also was sacked four times but ended his game with a 9-yard touchdown pass with 6 seconds left.
All teams must reduce their rosters to the regular-season limit of 53 players by 6 p.m. EDT Saturday, and Coach Bill Belichick has given no indication of whether he will keep Tebow.
Leading 21-20, the Patriots took over on downs at the Giants 9. Tebow then lofted a pass into the deep right corner and free agent rookie Quentin Sims came down with it for his second touchdown of the game.
Tebow had played poorly in the first two preseason games and didn’t play in the third.
The Patriots went without nearly all of their starters, including Tom Brady, Danny Amendola, Vince Wilfork, Jerod Mayo and Devin McCourty.
The Giants (1-3) used their regulars, including Eli Manning, for the first three series.
Manning left with a 7-0 lead after throwing a 3-yard touchdown pass to Hakeem Nicks with 56 seconds left in the first quarter.
Manning went 6 for 9 for 74 yards and a touchdown. After Manning left, Ryan Nassib, David Carr and Curtis Painter played quarterback.
Giants backup running back Andre Brown broke his left leg late in the first half.
Ryan Mallett played the first half for the Patriots and Tebow had a solid start in the second with completions of 5 yards to Aaron Dobson and 11 yards to Daniel Fells on two of his first three plays.
Then he was sacked on four of the next six plays — having trouble finding a receiver on some and getting little protection from backup linemen on others.
Tebow had his best series of the preseason on his fourth possession. He showed a strong arm on three passes beyond the reach of receivers and completed two to Sims, an 11-yarder for a first down then the 52-yarder for the touchdown.
Tebow hit Sims over the middle and he ran the remaining 39 yards, scoring with 12:26 left in the game as the Patriots took a 21-20 lead.
Tebow trotted slowly to the end zone where he and Sims congratulated each other.
But Tebow later launched a deep pass down the left side toward Dobson and Trumaine McBride stepped in front of him and picked it off.
Mallett went 10 for 16 for 117 yards with a 40-yard scoring pass to rookie Josh Boyce for a 14-7 lead midway through the second quarter. Free agent rookie George Winn scored New England’s first touchdown on a 1-yard run just 21/2 minutes earlier.
Josh Brown kicked field goals of 35 and 48 yards for New York.
NOTES: Tiger Woods was on the Patriots sideline during the game and with team owner Robert Kraft before it started. He’s scheduled to play in the Deutsche Bank Championship starting Friday at TPC Boston in Norton, Mass. … New York backup S Tyler Sash left the game with a concussion.