NEW YORK GIANTS 20 – PITTSBURGH STEELERS 16
It wasn’t pretty. In fact, at times, it was downright ugly, but the New York Giants defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers, 20-16 to improve to 2-0 in preseason play.
Eli Manning didn’t complete a pass, Victor Cruz went catch-less again and there were a few miscommunications between the quarterbacks and receivers. If it weren’t for Rashad Jennings 73-yard touchdown and Corey Washington’s game-winning, fade-route grab, there’s a chance the below list is simply filled with duds. On to the recap…
The Giants’ free-agent acquisition from Oakland made quite the first impression in front of the home town fans taking his second carry of the game 73 yards for a score. Despite being known primarily as a down-hill runner, Jennings showed some impressive speed pulling away from all defenders on his way to the endzone.
- It was another nice showing from the second-year pro as Moore continually got after the passer and made a few impressive plays on the run. There was a near sack of Landry Jones on third down that forced an incompletion and a chase down on a screen play that forced a punt. Granted, Moore was going up primarily against the second-team offensive line, but there were flashes of extreme potential. It may be time the coaches give Moore some looks with the starters.
- It’s been well documented how Jay Bromley grew up a New York Giants fan. Maybe playing at MetLife Stadium lit a little extra fire inside because the rookie was all over the place. Bromley was active as a pass rusher, stuffed a few running plays and made a mockery of Steelers’ offensive lineman Cody Wallace. At one point, Bromley pressured Landry Jones into an incomplete pass while being held.
- Another game-winning touchdown for the rookie, who seems to only catch them. On a third-and-goal from the three, Giants’ quarterback Curtis Painter threw one up in single coverage and let Washington go and grab it. The issue with Washington’s roster chances are the fact he has little value on special teams. He’s seen a few reps as a gunner and kick returner in practice, but that’s usually with the third or fourth teamers. Not to take anything away from the young man, but he’s also making these plays against a team’s fourth-string defense.
- A little vintage JPP shown by the former All Pro. Pierre-Paul rocked Bruce Gradkowski on a drop-back pass, chased down a receiver on an end around and was a force against the run.
- This list could go on and on for the defense, but the final nod goes to Amukamara. The third-year pro was extremely physical against the Steelers and looks poised for a big season. He’s comfortable in the NFL now, and seems to have found his niche and is really playing some good ball.
Maybe it was the fact Ben McAdoo continues to hold the reigns incredibly tight on the two-time Super Bowl MVP, but the fact Manning went 0-for-2 in four series is a bit alarming. Manning has yet to attempt a pass over 10 yards, has yet to find Victor Cruz and didn’t pick up a single first down. It’s either McAdoo being cautious, or Manning not taking shots. Head coach Tom Coughlin said there were more pass plays called than run, so maybe Manning’s checking out of them.
- Granted, it’s tough to catch a pass when your quarterback throws only two in four possessions, but it’s game No. 2 without a catch for the former Pro Bowler. Cruz needs to get more comfortable with the offense. I’ll watch the film over the coming days to see if he was open on either of Manning’s two passes, but this is now seven possessions without a grab.
- It’s getting to be noticeably bad for the former third-round pick. Hosley has shown nothing to make him warrant a spot on the final 53-man roster even if he were not going to be suspended. He’s constantly beat for completions. When he’s not beat for completions, his receiver is still open, he just does something illegal before the pass gets to him. It was two more defensive pass interference calls against Hosley tonight.
- The Giants need Will Beatty to get healthy…and they need it to happen fast. Brown has been beat continually by Jason Pierre-Paul in practice and now it’s happening in games. Jarvis Jones beat Brown for a sack, then allowed another pressure a couple series later.
- Nice outing for the starting defense as a whole tonight. Aside from a few nice runs by Pittsburgh, the defense played held the Steelers in check. There weren’t many open receivers and there was pressure on the quarterback.
- While a few runs were negated because of penalties, rookie running back Andre Williams continues to impress. Wiped out by a Geoff Schwartz hold, Williams broke free on a long run on a draw play where he showed power and some speed/agility. He’s looking more and more like he can be a game breaker.
- Jacquian Williams made a very nice play against the run early on. The linebacker came from the backside, use some nice acceleration and tackled LeGarrette Blunt.
- On the Rashad Jennings touchdown run, credit Geoff Schwartz and J.D. Walton with two key blocks to create a huge running lane. The Giants’ offense seems to want to throw the ball, but the team has fared better running the football these first two games.
- Walter Thurmond III had great coverage on a Ben Roethlisberger attempted pass on third down for Lance Moore. It was physical coverage, but legal, and the play resulted in an incompletion, forcing the Steelers to settle for a field goal.
- Assuming this is a good thing, but I don’t recall the Steelers going anywhere near Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie Saturday all night.
- Ryan Nassib continues to improve each and every week. Sure, he didn’t have the highlight 50+-yard touchdown, but he’s been more calm in the pocket, shown poise and is getting better. Progress, that’s all you can ask for with Nassib.
- The Steelers screen pass to Dri Archer was set up perfectly. Sometimes that happens, which is why this goes under “The Bad” and not “The Ugly.” Kudos to Amukamara for chasing him down.
- The run defense wasn’t the best for the Giants on the Steelers’ opening drive. There were holes, a missed tackle by Johnathan Hankins and a few poor angles.
- As much as his teammates seem to love him, Charles James II is far from a lock on the Giants’ roster. Granted, he’s helped by the injury to Bennett Jackson and poor play of Jayron Hosley, but James needs to do everything he can to stick on the team. Muffing a punt? Not something that’s going to help. On his first opportunity, James let one go right through his hands and on the next punt it was Preston Parker back deep.
- The offense. There really isn’t anything else to say. There was an expected learning curve when the Giants announced a transition out of Kevin Gilbride’s old offense and Ben McAdoo’s new one. But between practices, and now games, the poor offensive play is extremely noticeable. For whatever reason, things aren’t clicking and it’s alarming. In four series, Manning went 0-for-2. He threw two passes in four series. Two. Not to mention in the seven offensive series Manning has played this preseason, he has yet to throw a ball more than 10 yards. It’s not good. It’s not bad. It’s flat out ugly. Things haven’t looked good in training camp and now they aren’t looking good in the game.
- Maybe it’s just the way the NFL is played now, but the penalties were on overload Saturday night. Defensive holdings, offensive holdings and pass interferences had it raining yellow hankies at MetLife. Again, it’s early in the preseason, but it was a bit much. A total of 10 were called on the Giants totaling 109 yards.