The free agent from Michigan State capitalized on his last chance in the exhibition finale Thursday night, leading the New England Patriots from a 21-point first-quarter deficit to a 38-27 win over the New York Giants.
Hoyer, who took every offensive snap for the Patriots, completed 18 of 25 passes for 242 yards and no interceptions, although most of that was against backups.
"Not bad," coach Bill Belichick said. "He handled the ball fairly well, threw it accurately."
The Patriots other quarterback, Andrew Walter, was picked up a month ago when Oakland cut him. He's still learning the offense. Kevin O'Connell, who backed up Matt Cassel after Brady had a season-ending knee injury in last year's opener, was cut Monday.
Hoyer threw for one touchdown and led drives that ended with BenJarvus Green-Ellis rushing for three scores.
"Brian did a good job of controlling our offense," said Green-Ellis, a rookie free agent last year who gained 125 yards on 29 carries Thursday. "We mixed it up."
"Ben does a lot of things for us going back to last year," Belichick said.
For the Giants, the game left wide receiver Sinorice Moss and backup quarterback Andre' Woodson uncertain if they would stick with the team after it gets down to the 53-man limit by Saturday's deadline.
Moss had two catches, both for touchdowns in the first quarter.
"I felt like I did my best," said Moss, a first-round pick in 2006. "I feel like I have been on the bubble since I got here."
Coach Tom Coughlin said Moss "played real good."
After just 12 offensive plays, the Giants (1-3) led 21-0 on Eli Manning's 23-yard touchdown pass to Moss and David Carr's pass plays -- a 12-yard touchdown to Moss and a 64-yard score on which rookie first-round pick Hakeem Nicks ran about half the distance after the catch.
Manning completed all three of his passes for 76 yards before Carr went 6-for-6 for 153 yards, although the only defensive first-stringer they faced was outside linebacker Pierre Woods.
New England's defensive play changed when New York switched quarterbacks again, going with Andre' Woodson, a sixth-round draft pick last year who spent all but one week on the Giants practice squad. He's competing with rookie Rhett Bomar for the No. 3 job.
On Woodson's third play, he threw an interception that Brandon McGowan returned 27 yards for a touchdown.
"It took me a while to get into my rhythm and it was the worst possible game to have that happen," said Woodson, who went 6-for-19 for 98 yards and one interception. "Last year I knew I was going to be cut. ... This year is different. It's going to be tense."
Bomar came in late in the game and completed 2 of 7 passes for 40 yards and one interception.
Brady and nearly all of New England's usual starters sat out the exhibition finale for both teams. Brady suffered a sore shoulder when tackled in last Friday's 27-24 exhibition win over Washington, but appears healthy after throwing in practice. His top receivers, Randy Moss and Wes Welker, also sat out the game.
Manning played just one series and Carr handled the next three for New York.
"I think everyone is ready for the season to get going and start playing for real," Manning said.
Green-Ellis ran for touchdowns of 1 and 32 yards in the last 5:53 after the Giants had taken a 27-24 lead on Lawrence Tynes' 25-yard field goal.
Tynes made it 24-7 with a 46-yard field goal before Green-Ellis scored on a 1-yard run capping a 33-yard drive that followed Terrence Nunn's 49-yard kickoff return and Hoyer's 32-yard completion to Greg Lewis.
Hoyer struck again on the first series of the third quarter with an 8-yard touchdown pass to rookie free agent Robert Ortiz. Then he led a 58-yard march that ended in Stephen Gostkowski's 46-yard field goal that tied the game at 24 with 52 seconds left in the third quarter.
The Patriots and Giants met in their fifth straight exhibition finale. The Giants won three of them. ... Patriots kick returner Matthew Slater left the field with his left arm in a sling after being tackled on the kickoff following the Giants' third touchdown. ... Both of Moss' touchdowns came against rookie safety Pat Chung, New England's top draft pick. ... Nicks left in the second half because of a hip flexor.
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Mel Kiper isn't yet sold on Mackensie Alexander and Moritz Boehringer, grading the Vikings a B- for the draft, but give them some time to develop.
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Snagged by the Saints in the fourth round, defensive lineman David Onyemata is the 'Cinderella' story of the 2016 draft.