Giants Win Preseason Opener 18-13: The New York Giants defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field 18-13 on Saturday night. Typical for a first preseason game, it was not a picture-perfect for either team, and at times a bit of a snooze-fest for fans to watch.
The most memorable plays came early in the game. The Steelers received the football first. After picking up one first down, the Steelers’ possession bogged down with a holding penalty and then an 8-yard sack by DT/DE Cullen Jenkins on 3rd-and-16. The Steelers successfully punted the ball away but were penalized and had to re-kick. DE Damontre Moore blocked the second punt; WR Louis Murphy recovered and returned the ball to the Steelers’ 5-yard line. Unfortunately, one run and two incomplete passes later, the Giants were forced to settle for a 23-yard field goal by PK Josh Brown.
The Steelers tied the game 3-3 on their ensuing possession by successfully running the football against the Giants’ first-team defense, albeit missing defensive ends Jason Pierre-Paul and Justin Tuck. The Steelers gained 36 yards on the ground on this drive (and 81 on the ground in the first half). The Giants were fortunate that WR Antonio Brown could not get his second foot down on what could have been a 20-yard touchdown over CB Corey Webster. The Steelers settled for a 34-yard field goal.
On QB Eli Manning’s second and final possession, he found WR Rueben Randle for a 16-yard catch-and-run on 3rd-and-9. Then three plays later, on 3rd-and-4, Manning hit WR Victor Cruz deep over the middle for a 57-yard catch-and-run. The Giants led 10-3 near the end of the first quarter. Manning finished the game 2-for-5 for 73 yards and a touchdown. RB David Wilson only managed 16 yards on five carries.
After a Steelers’ punt, the Giants’ turned the football over at their own 44-yard line when an untouched RB Andre Brown clumsily fumbled the football away on a pitch. The Giants’ defense gave up a first down on 3rd-and-15, then 4th-and-2. They held after that but the Steelers did manage to kick a 41-yard field goal that cut the lead to 10-6.
Both teams exchanged punts. The Giants then finished the first half with a 10-play, 68-yard drive that resulted in a 30-yard field goal by Brown with no time left on the clock. The Giants were aided on this drive by two 15-yard personal foul penalties on LB Jason Worilds. QB David Carr was a bit shaky for the Giants despite what looked to be solid stats (7-for-11 for 64 yards). Brown finished with 23 yards on four carries.
Neither team did anything offensively in the third quarter. QB Curtis Painter played for New York in the third period and finished the game 5-of-11 for 55 yards. RB Da’Rel Scott could not get anything going on the ground, rushing 10 times for 12 yards. The Giants benefited from a Pittsburgh screw-up when the quarterback and running back collided in the end zone on a simple handoff, resulting in a safety and a 15-6 Giants’ lead. But the Giants blew another opportunity when S Tyler Sash recovered a muffed punt at the Steelers’ 28-yard line. The Giants could not pick up a first down and Brown missed a 38-yard field goal. The Steelers only picked up one first down in the third quarter.
The Giants made the game more interesting than it should have been in the fourth quarter when it was a comedy of errors on QB Ryan Nassib’s first possession of the game. Two penalties and poor run and pass blocking put the Giants in a dangerous 3rd-and-22 situation. OC/OT Keith McCants snapped the ball over Nassib’s head, resulting in a defensive touchdown for the Steelers. Giants 15 – Steelers 13.
Both teams exchanged punts. The Giants then managed to drive 54 yards in 10 plays, the big play being a 29-yard pass from Nassib to WR Julian Talley on 2nd-and-12 despite heavy pressure. Some strong running from RB Michael Cox (9 carries for 33 yards) helped the Giants to get into field goal range. Brown hit the 47-yard field goal to extend New York’s lead to 18-13 with less than five minutes to play.
The Steelers did threaten on their last possession, driving from their own 18 to the Giants’ 39-yard line but two sacks, one each by CB Charles James and DE Adewale Ojomo, put the Steelers in a 4th-and-20 situation. When their last pass fell incomplete, the Giants took over and knelt on the ball to end the game.
Video highlights of the game are available at NFL.com.
Injury Report: WR Kris Adams broke his leg in the game. OT Chris DeGeare also left the field with an ankle and MCL injuries. X-rays were reportedly negative but he will undergo an MRI on the knee on Sunday.
Post-Game Notes: The following Giants did not play in the game: RB Ryan Torain (concussion), FB Henry Hynoski (PUP-knee), WR Hakeem Nicks (groin), WR Brandon Collins (hamstring), OG Chris Snee (hip), OL James Brewer (concussion), OT Justin Pugh (concussion), DE Jason Pierre-Paul (PUP-back), DE Justin Tuck (back), DT Markus Kuhn (PUP-knee), CB Terrell Thomas (knee/hamstring) and S Cooper Taylor (hamstring).