Prior to arriving at Giants’ training camp in late July, wide receiver Corey Washington spoke to his grandmother.
The former Newberry star had been cut by the Arizona Cardinals, signed to a future contract with the Giants and was staying at home until he had to report.
So his grandmother brought him close, looked him in the eyes and told him bluntly she didn’t want to see him anytime soon.
“She said I don’t want to see you back in Charleston,” Washington recalled.
And now he’s doing everything he can to stay right where he is.
Washington hauled in a game-winning 73-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s annual Hall of Fame game to give the New York a 17-13 victory over the Buffalo Bills in Canton, Ohio.
“I beat the corner off the line—he was off a bit—and I saw him and I stutter-stepped a bit and he bit on the stutter,” Washington said. “(The corner) tried to jam me while we were running, but I slapped his hands down.”
Washington’s touchdown capped an eventful start to the Giants’ NFL season, one that included the debut of Ben McAdoo’s new West Coast Offense. There was enough displayed to long for more. Along with enough to realize the Giants have a long way to go before opening the season in Detroit.
It started with a three-and-out and followed with a sack-fumble. Then, Eli Manning and the boys got it rolling.
Led by rookie Andre Williams (seven rushes, 48 yards, one touchdown), the Giants marched 80 yards in 12 plays chewing up 7:04 of the game clock against the Bills’ second unit. Williams capped the drive with a three-yard touchdown run.
“I thought eventually we got to where we ran the ball pretty well,” coach Tom Coughlin said. “We might not have had our ones in there, but still we had some consistency in runs there.”
Manning and the Giants worked their new no-huddle offense and showed all the up-tempo approach McAdoo has enforced on Big Blue. Was it perfect? No. Was it a step in the right direction? It appeared so.
“We’ll be trying to get in and out of the huddle fast,” Manning said “Get to the line of scrimmage, get things declared and try to push our guys and see if we can have a quick tempo and see if that will help out our play.”
Ryan Nassib relieved Manning following Williams’ touchdown and displayed the same roller coaster-like behavior he’s shown throughout the first two weeks of training camp. There’s the good, there’s the bad. The Giants’ got them both.
The second-year pro, who finished seven-of-12 for 139 yards and a touchdown, looked good when rolling out of the pocket. There was accuracy and arm strength, but also indecision and fluster. On the Giants’ first possession of the third quarter, Nassib was intercepted. While the play was overturned due to roughing the passer, Nassib’s decision was spotty at best.
With a hand in his face, Nassib seemed to release the ball without looking, tossing it right to linebacker Preston Brown. On a rollout on the same series, Nassib again faced pressure. This time, he threw the ball in the dirt while in the tackle box. The ref threw the flag for intentional grounding.
“That’s why we’re playing him a lot,” Coughlin said. “He’s a very serious young man who’s a talent kid who needs to play. He didn’t get to play last year, but he’ll get some time and as he does, he’ll grow and get better.”
But when Nassib needed to make the play, he did. Hitting Washington on the 73-yard strike.
Defensively, free-agent acquisition Zack Bowman recorded an interception along with Cooper Taylor. Taylor, last year’s fifth-round pick, also recorded eight tackles. Mathias Kiwanuka, Jason Pierre-Paul and Jacquian Williams had bat downs. Kerry Wynn, Damontre Moore and Jordan Stanton had sacks.
Buffalo quarterback and second-year pro E.J. Manuel completed 2-of-7 passes for 19 yards. The Giants’ held running backs Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller to eight yards on three carries.