The New York Giants ran their preseason record to 2-0 Saturday night with an under-whelming 20-16 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers (0-1) at MetLife Stadium.
The heroes were Curtis Painter and Corey Washington The Giants; game-winning score came on a 12-play, 80-yard drive engineered by Painter in his first action of the night. Trailing 16-13, Painter went 7-for-7 and hit Washington with the go-ahead 3-yard touchdown pass. The play was a fade pattern where Washington, an undrafted free agent, showed the full value of his 6-foot-4 frame with a twisting catch near the corner of the end zone.
The Giants clinched the game when Martavis Bryant of Pittsburgh caught a fourth-down pass and fumbled. C.J. Barnbett of the Giants recovered at the 27-yard line with 1:14 left.
The Giants led the entire game until Howard Jones scooped up a backward pass from Ryan Nassib and returned it 28 yards for a score to give Pittsburgh a 16-13 lead with 10:16 to play. Nassib's pass was intended for Michael Cox and what will assuredly anger Tom Coughlin is that Giants players watched while the Steelers picked up the ball and ran it in.
Here are some of the takeaways from Saturday's game.
The Giants hit their first big play, a 73-yard touchdown run by Rashad Jennings. Unfortunately, they did absolutely nothing else while Eli Manning and the rest of the first group was in the game. They ran 11 total plays, gained 101 yards and got one first down. Manning went 0-for-2 and was sacked once, courtesy of Charles Brown's inability to block Jarvis Jones. Will Beatty better get healthy in a hurry.
On Jennings' run, it looked like Geoff Schwartz and either Brandon Mosley or J.D. Walton, perhaps both, threw key blocks. Unfortunately, Mosley and Schwartz both later committed holding penalties. The first-team offensive line playeduntil the 2:00 mark of the first half as the Giants struggle to find some cohesion with that group.
Tight end Larry Donnell also had a false start penalty and appeared to struggle with some blocking assignments.
With three more preseason games and less than a month to the Sept. 8 regular-season opener the offense has a lot of work to do.
The first-team defense gave up only three points in three series, but really wasn't impressive. The Steelers had the ball for 10:37 in the first period. Pittsburgh drove 70 yards in seven plays for a field goal on its first possession, a drive that included a 46-yard catch-and-run by Dri Archer.
The Giants did stiffen in the red zone, but gave up 109 yards in Pittsburgh's first two possessions.
Jason Pierre-Paul and Prince Amukamara each had four tackles. Mathias Kiwanuka had two tackles, including a nice run stop, and a pressure that forced an incompletion by Bruce Gradkowski.
Quite a duel waged Saturday night by placekickers Josh Brown and Brandon McManus. Brown hit a 45-yard field goal. McManus hit from 46 yards. Both guys drove kickoffs out of the end zone.
Preston Parker was used as both a punt and kickoff returner for much of the night.
Charles James got an opportunity to return punts and muffed his first effort in the third quarter, resulting in a turnover at the Giants' 21-yard line.
- Backup quarterback Ryan Nassib looked comfortable for the second straight week, and did a nice job until the backwards pass -- which turned out to be his final play. He completed 12-of-21 for 81 yards
- Don't overlook Parker in the competition for the last couple of wide receiver roster spots. He had a 12-yard punt return and two kickoff returns for 37 yards (18.5 yards per return) as he saw return duty for the second straight week. The 27-year-old Parker caught 40 passes for Tampa Bay in 2011. He also returned 23 punts (9.1 yards per return) and 20 kickoffs (22.0 yards per return) that season.
- Third-round pick Jay Bromley is considered a bit of a developmental prospect, but was impressive for the second straight week. He forced a holding penalty by getting pressure on quarterback Landry Jones on one play in the second half, and appeared to hold his ground well vs. the run.
- Two more penalties this week on Jayron Hosley, including a 37-yarder. Hosley also committed multiple penalties against Buffalo and surrendered a touchdown pass. He is suspended for the first four games of the regular season and might be playing his way completely off the roster.
- Running back Kendall Gaskins got a long look Saturday night. He finished with seven carries for 31 yards and three receptions for 19 yards.
The Giants are on the road next Saturday to face the Indianapolis Colts at 7 p.m. ET. That means a meeting with old friend Hakeem Nicks. That game will be televised on WNBC.