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If ever there ever was a way to perfectly sum up the Giants 2014 preseason, Friday night’s 16-13 victory over the New England Patriots was it.
The starting offense looked anemic, the defense sporadic. Eli Manning resembled something far similar to a first-round bust than a two-time Super Bowl MVP. There were three-and-outs, muffed punts, sacks and near turnovers.
But some how, some way, the Giants escaped with a victory to improve their preseason record to a meaningless 5-0.
Were there bright spots? Sure. Were there pitch black ones, too? Oh yeah.
In the final tune-up before the Giants travel to Detroit to take on the Lions, Manning completed just 1-of-4 passes against the Patriots backups for zero yards. Victor Cruz went catchless and there was another miscommunication between Manning and receiver Rueben Randle.
“It was the right route,” Randle said. “It just wasn’t timed right. I guess (Manning) was expecting me to run it quicker since it was press.”
In two drives, the Giants managed one first down, one three-and-out and two punts.
Oh, and that rebuilt, injury-riddled offensive line? It continued to allow pressure. Despite playing an extra preseason game, the Giants looked like they needed four more.
“I’m ready to move on,” Cruz said. “I’m ready to move on to Week 1. I’m ready to get a good week of practice in come next week and get our focus onto Week 1 and starting the season off on the right foot. I’m excited for that opportunity.”
While the Manning and the starters continue to struggle, New York’s reserves continue to show McAdoo’s offense does, you know, work.
Building off of two strong performances versus the Indianapolis Colts and New York Jets, second-year pro Ryan Nassib again found success versus a preseason opponent’s reserves. The quarterback completed 6-of-14 passes for 107 yards and led the Giants two scoring drives including a 14-play, 80-yard touchdown drive which was capped by a Peyton Hillis diving touchdown on 4th-and-goal.
Rookie Andre Williams again displayed strong running, gaining 44 yards on five carries, including a 38-yard scamper on 4th-and-1. Tight end Larry Donnell caught four passes for 60 yards. Even Jerrel Jernigan made a play on a 22-yard catch-and-run.
But it won’t be Nassib under center in Detroit. It won’t be Williams as the team’s starting running back.
It’ll be Manning, who enters the Monday Night season opener having completed 20-of-41 passes for 188 yards and one touchdown.
“Well, I thought we had a good week of practice,” Manning said. “We didn’t get much going tonight, but we’re getting ready for Detroit, that first game. We got the starters out healthy so that’s always the most important thing.
“We have to get ready for Detroit on Monday night. It should be fun.”
Yes, but unless the Giants improve dramatically, in 10 days, the team won’t be having much “fun” at all.
Video highlights/lowlights from the game are available at NFL.com.
New York Giants Post-Game Player Media Sessions: Transcripts and video clips of the post-game media Q&As on Thursday night with the following players are available at Giants.com: