Eli Manning Tests Giants’ New Offense, With Some Help From His RBs
CANTON, Ohio (CBSNewYork/AP) — Eli Manning is starting to get the hang of the New York Giants newly installed up-tempo offense.
It helped that the 11th-year quarterback got a chance to go in for a third series in the Giants’ 17-13 win over the Buffalo Bills in the preseason-opening Hall of Fame Game on Sunday night.
After Manning ended the Giants’ second series by losing a fumble on a sack, he bounced back by methodically engineering a 12-play, 80-yard drive capped by rookie Andre Williams’ 3-yard touchdown run.
“Yeah, it was big for our offense to get something going, get a few first downs, get in a good rhythm,” Manning said. “I’m glad we had that one last opportunity.”
Manning went 6 of 7 for 43 yards passing, with his longest completion for 10 yards. He was complemented by a 1-2 punch of a running game made up of Williams and free-agent addition Rashad Jennings, who took much of the pressure off the passing attack.
“It was good to get the running game going and get that offensive line firing off,” Manning said. “That always helps out the whole offense.”
The focus on a ground game is part of the new wrinkles being introduced by new offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo.
“I thought there were some improvements. It was a good start,” Manning said.
Rookie receiver Corey Washington scored the go-ahead touchdown on a 73-yard pass up the right sideline from backup Ryan Nassib with 13:18 remaining.
Bills backup Jeff Tuel hit Robert Woods for a 2-yard touchdown pass on fourth-and-goal to put Buffalo ahead 10-7 early in the second quarter.
Here are five things that stood out in front of an announced crowd of 22,052 at Fawcett Stadium:
GIANTS ON THE RUN
With running back David Wilson sidelined after sustaining his second neck injury in less than a year, Williams stepped in and capably filled the No. 2 spot behind newly acquired starter Rashad Jennings.
The fourth-round draft pick out of Boston College had seven carries for 48 yards and a TD.
“It gives me confidence. I feel like I’m supposed to be here,” said Williams, a Heisman Trophy candidate who led the nation with 2,177 yards rushing last season. “I’m part of the team now.”
“I though he played well, and that was encouraging,” coach Tom Coughlin said.
Bills starting quarterback EJ Manuel had several lapses during two series.
He completed just 2 of 7 attempts for 19 yards, and nearly had a pass intercepted by linebacker Jacquian Williams inside the New York 10. Manuel never looked off his intended target Sammy Watkins and was fortunate to have Williams bat the ball down.
“I would have liked to throw a touchdown pass or to score a touchdown while I was in, but it’s our first game,” said Manuel, the second-year player who has been inconsistent through the first two weeks of training camp. “We got our feet wet, and we’re looking forward to moving on to playing Carolina.”
Coach Doug Marrone didn’t sound as positive regarding the play of any of his quarterbacks.
“Obviously, the performances were not good for a win,” Marrone said. “We’ve got to get better, all of them.”
SAMMY SHUT OUT
Watkins, the Bills first-round pick, was held without a catch after being targeted three times. Two passes from Manuel directed Watkins’ way were tipped. Manuel also was late in finding Watkins flying up the left sideline, and overthrew him by a few yards.
“I’m fine,” Watkins said. “I wish I could have got a ball and got tackled.”
The NFL unveiled a few new wrinkles for the preseason, including providing coaches and players on the sidelines an opportunity to view pictures of plays on tablets and in color. That’s an improvement over the black-and-white still photos that were printed off on paper.
Marrone experienced a problem, saying his tablet initially didn’t work. The issue was fixed and he used the technology in the second half.
“There was a miscommunication,” he said. “I was excited. I did use it in the second half and I liked it a lot.”
Manning was excited to be on hand as former teammate Michael Strahan was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame as part of the seven-member 2014 class. Best of all, Manning noted was how the defensive end got an opportunity to lead the pre-game huddle at midfield.
“That was special,” Manning said. “I didn’t expect that. It was special that he mentioned me and talked about me and made a point. I think that’s the neat thing about winning championships with these guys, you have a special bond forever. It’s not just me and Michael Strahan; it’s me and all of those guys that were a part of those teams and those championships. It is a special bond and a special memory that you always have with each other.”
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