The introduction to preseason. The New York Giants beat the Buffalo Bills 17-13 in the Hall of Fame game. If preseason doesn’t mean much, then what does the actual opener mean? Even less, although the Giants were probably pleased with what they got from Eli Manning and their running backs, while the Bills have quite a few things to be worried about.
The Giants won the game at Fawcett Stadium in Canton, Ohio as Corey Washington caught a 73-yard pass from Ryan Nassib. Nassib, the former Syracuse QB, threw the only touchdown pass of the game for the Giants, completing 7-of-12 passes as the Giants completed 16-of-22 overall for 187 yards and a touchdown. Eli Manning was almost perfect at 6-for-7, throwing for 43 yards. He started and played three series, adding another turnover with a fumble.
The Bills also played three quarterbacks: EJ Manuel, Jeff Tuel and Thad Lewis. Manuel started, playing in two series but looking quite shaky in them, completing only 2-of-7 throws. He didn’t seem too hard done by due to his performance, but head coach Doug Marrone was far less pleased with what he saw from the guy who is supposed to take his game to another level heading into his second NFL season, hopefully this time without injuries getting in the way.
The Giants got some nice moments from Rashard Jennings, going for 23 yards on 7 carries, but the best came from Andre Williams with 48 yards, followed by Peyton Hillis going for 36. Williams scored a touchdown at the end of the first quarter, getting into the end zone after a three-yard run. Jeff Tuel completed the only touchdown pass for the Bills, throwing a two-yard touchdown pass to Robert Woods, the second-year receiver out of USC who caught four passes for 49 yards.
Sammy Watkins had plenty of eyes on him, but the former Clemson receiver, maybe the best heading into the NFL in 2014 among the rookies, was held without a catch. He was targeted three times but the throws were mostly short or simply inaccurate, and the chance to see the stuff he has pulled off in training camp was delayed for the next preseason game the Bills will have, this time probably taking things a bit more seriously.
The Bills threw two interceptions (Lewis and Tuel), although both Zack Bowman and Cooper Taylor didn’t do much with them. The Giants, working hard during the offseason to come off their 7-9 season with a new look and vigor looked good in the pass rush with three sacks while the offensive line, maybe their weakest link last season, allowed just one sack as Kyle Williams got to Eli Manning.