While all eyes have been on veteran Eli Manning and rookie Daniel Jones as the regular season approaches for the Giants, another quarterback development has quietly unfolded over the course of the preseason.
The Giants are set to begin the regular season with Manning as the starter and Jones the backup, but the third spot at the position remains undetermined ahead of Saturday's 4 p.m. deadline for the 53-man roster.
Journeyman Alex Tanney and sophomore Kyle Lauletta have been in the thick of the race to third-string quarterback behind Manning and Jones, and the under-the-radar competition continued during Thursday's 31-29 road win over the New England Patriots.
Manning had the night off and Jones started, and the sixth overall pick from April's draft turned in his latest sharp performance with a perfect outing during the Giants' opening drive.
Head coach Pat Shurmur then looked to Tanney and Lauletta for the rest of the snaps, and the latter capitalized on his chance when he drove the Giants 70 on 15 plays over the final 2:16 -- including the game-winning 14-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Alonzo Russell as time expired.
Lauletta ended his comeback effort with 22 of 40 passes (55.0 percent) completed for 248 yards and two touchdowns, but was it enough to solidify the case for QB3 before general manager Dave Gettleman combs through the Giants' looming cuts?
"That is what you play for, close games and the opportunity to win the game at the end," he said. "On fourth down, our defense had a huge play and we got the ball and had life. I looked at the guys and told them we are going to move the ball down and put it in the end zone and everyone believed it. We executed and I couldn't be more proud of our group."
Drafted by the Giants in the fourth round last April out of Richmond, the 24-year-old Lauletta entered his second preseason with work to do after he spent the 2018 season as a rookie adjusting to NFL life on and off the field.
Tanney, whom the Giants signed May 2, spent training camp as the No. 3 quarterback and threatened to leave Lauletta relegated to the practice squad or off the team entirely.
Lauletta bounced back Thursday, though, as he capped his four-game preseason with 37 of 62 passes (59.7 percent) completed for 453 yards and four touchdowns to no interceptions.
"I thought Kyle did a good job on that last drive there in kind of engineering that drive," Shurmur said of Lauletta's latest outing.
Tanney, meanwhile, went 4 of 12 (33.3 percent) for 53 yards and two interceptions.
He also completed a touchdown to Russell on a 35-yard score, but his declining peformance has been evident over the past few games.
Since Tanney went 14 of 19 (73.7 percent) with 190 yards and a touchdown in the Giants' 31-22 win over the Jets to open the preseason Aug. 8, the 31-year-old product from Monmouth (Illinois) is 10 of 27 (37.0 percent) with 132 yards and one touchdown to three interceptions in three games.
"I think outside the building, everybody's kind of had the quarterbacks stacked up in their minds the way they wanted to stack them up," Shurmur said.