Football

Manning takes beating, but Giants win christening

Mark Sanchez was sharp, while Eli Manning needed stitches.

Manning was forced to leave the New York Giants’ 31-16 victory over the Jets after suffering a bloody, 3-inch gash to the left side of his forehead early in the second quarter Monday night.

The Giants quarterback needed 12 stitches to close the cut, and showed no sign of concussion after being hurt with 10:45 remaining in the first half.

Sanchez led the Jets on three scoring drives, overcoming an interception on his first pass, while playing the entire first half in the first football game played at the New Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.

The teams traditionally meet in the third exhibition game, but both wanted to be part of the unveiling of their new $1.6 billion, 82,500-seat home.

The big night ended early for Manning, who was hurt when running back Brandon Jacobs rumbled up the middle and smacked into him with his shoulder on a fake handoff.

After losing the ball, Manning tried to grab it, but was smacked in the middle of his back by Calvin Pace. Manning’s helmet was knocked off, pushing him forward, face-first. Manning’s head plowed into either Jets safety Jim Leonhard or Jacobs, and the quarterback quickly called for the training staff, his hand covered in blood.

WESTBROOK TO 49ERS

The San Francisco 49ers have signed free-agent running back Brian Westbrook to a one-year deal, giving the former Eagles star the second chance he’s been seeking.

Westbrook has been looking to find a job, visiting several teams in recent months. He was released by the Eagles in February after an injury-filled 2009 season.

The Niners had a need after Glen Coffee, starter Frank Gore’s backup, abruptly announced his retirement from the NFL on Friday.

Westbrook led the NFL with 2,104 yards from scrimmage in 2007, but missed eight games last season with a pair of concussions and an ankle injury.

EXTRA POINTS

Wide receiver Percy Harvin returned to the Minnesota Vikings. Harvin was at practice Monday for the first time in more than two weeks. Harvin’s grandmother died two days into training camp, and then his migraine headaches flared up. … Carolina Panthers receiver Steve Smith was activated off the physically unable to perform list and caught passes for the first time since breaking his left arm. … Houston Texans rookie running back Ben Tate is out for the season because of a fractured ankle.

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