Aug 22, 2014; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning (10) passes against the New York Jets during the first quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

New York Giants Show Some Improvement in MetLife Bowl Victory

Eli Manning and the starting Giants’ offense finally showed some rhythm. The offense looked immensely better than they have in previous weeks, and it was refreshing to see the starters look like a competent group.

Manning and company initially looked sloppy, but they seemed to click on the final drive of the first half. Manning connected with Rueben Randle for a touchdown with five seconds left in the half. Eli exited the game competing 12 of his 21 pass attempts. He also threw his first touchdown of the preseason.

Eli connected with Victor Cruz four times. Cruz was going into Friday’s game without a catch in the preseason. It was good to see the quarterback-wide receiver duo have some high points. Manning did have two fumbles, both of which came when he tried to escape the pocket and elude pass rushers. I have no idea why Eli thinks he outrun defensive ends, but it’s been detrimental to the offense’s production this preseason. He can’t make a miraculous escape like in Super Bowl 42 every single game.

Just like the first three games, the run game looked strong. Rashad Jennings is looking more and more like a bell cow every week. Jennings rushed for 67 yards on 13 carries, and rookie Andre Williams contributed 49 yards on 11 carries. In the wake of David Wilson’s retirement, the Giants seem to have a stable tandem in the backfield. Williams traded words with Rex Ryan prior to the game, and the rookie out of Boston College let his play on the field do the rest of his talking.

The biggest negative from the game was Geoff Schwartz’s injury. Schwartz would leave the game due to a toe injury, and it would later be discovered that he suffered a dislocated toe. With offensive linemen Eric Herman suspended for four games, the Giants are getting increasingly thin at offensive line.

Once the first half ended it was time for the second and third stringers to get their chance. The backup players played very well, which ultimately propelled Big Blue to the victory. Second year man Ryan Nassib got all of the snaps after Manning, and he did not disappoint.

Nassib went 8/12 and threw for three touchdowns. A year after being the low man on the totem pole, Nassib looks more than capable of becoming the primary backup to Manning. Over the course of the preseason he has proven he can manage an NFL offense, and he’s also proven that he’s coachable.

Nassib threw touchdown strikes to fullback Henry Hynoski, receiver Preston Parker, and, stop me if you’ve heard this before, wide receiver Corey Washington. Corey Washington has been Mr. Preseason in the past four games, as he’s caught the game winning touchdown in four consecutive weeks. I firmly believe that Washington has earned some playing time in the regular season. Not only is he scoring touchdowns, but he’s being consistent. A group of wide receivers consisting of Victor Cruz, Rueben Randle, Odell Beckham Jr., and Corey Washington would be lethal.

Although the offense won’t be getting compared to the ’99 Rams, the offense did take a step forward, albeit a small step. If anything, the victory over the Jets gives Tom Coughlin’s group a positive to build off of. With the season opener gradually getting closer, the Giants still have a lot of work to do.

Side Notes

* Damontre Moore recorded two sacks and a fumble recovery. So far this preseason I think he’s been the most consistent defensive end for the Giants. If he doesn’t start opposite of JPP, he should see a significant role as a rotational pass rusher.

* Mario Manningham got his second catch of the preseason. With the emergence of Washington and Preston Parker, it might be very hard for the Giants to maintain Manningham.

* I’m interested to see who the other offensive captain will be. Eli is a lock, but with Chris Snee retired, maybe Victor Cruz will be named captain.


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Tags: Eli Manning Metlife Bowl New York Giants NFC NFC East Victor Cruz

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