Big plays lift sloppy Giants over Steelers

John Fennelly, Lead Writer

It wasn’t a masterpiece by the Giants against the Steelers on Saturday night at MetLife, but it could have been worse. They could have lost. Instead, the Giants won their second preseason game in as many tries, 20-16.

Two plays defined the game for the Giants: a 73-yard TD scamper by Rashad Jennings in the first quarter and a 3-yard fade from backup QB Curtis Painter to WR Corey Washington in the corner of the end zone late in the fourth for the deciding score.

The defense played well again, holding the Steelers to just 14% (2-14) on third down attempts and not allowing a touchdown.

As expected, the Giants used backup RB Kendall Gaskins for most of the second half. He responded with 46 yards on ten carries and three receptions for 19 yards. Rookie DE Jordan Stanton had a sack for the second straight game. S Cooper Taylor played the most snaps on defense with 39.

But there was plenty for head coach Tom Coughlin to frown about. The offense gave up a TD when QB Ryan Nassib threw a swing pass to RB Michael Cox who could not find the handle. The Giants did not realize the ball was ruled a fumble since it never reached the line of scrimmage. The Steelers’ Howard Jones scooped up the loose ball and ran it into the end zone for a 28-yard score.

The Giants also committed ten penalties and another fumble when Charles James II muffed a punt.

“Didn’t like a lot that went on,” Coughlin said after the game. “Didn’t like the penalties. Didn’t like the turnovers (two lost fumbles). Didn’t like the muffed punt. Didn’t like the backwards lateral that I think was awful close but they called it a fumble, so what are you going to do. Despite all of that, we found a way to win the game.”

The Giants’ QBs did not reach their goal of a 70% completion rate, converting on 19 of 30 passes. Eli Manning only threw two passes in the four series he played. Both were incomplete. Nassib went 12/20 and Painter was 7/7 on the night with the winning TD.

Injuries were at a minimum. FB Jon Conner left the game with concussion-like symptoms, however.

Did not play: WRs Odell Beckham Jr. (hamstring) and Trindon Holliday (hamstring); TEs Daniel Fells (knee) and Xavier Grimble (hamstring); LB Jon Beason (foot); OT Will Beatty (leg); RB Peyton Hillis (ankle); CB Trumaine McBride (hip); and DTs Mike Patterson (shoulder) and Kelcy Quarles (knee).

From GEICO SportsNite: the Giants react to penalties and running back Rashad Jennings’ performance Saturday night after winning their second preseason game, 20-16.




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