Rapid Reaction: Giants 18, Steelers 13
August, 10, 2013
By Ohm Youngmisuk | ESPNNewYork.com
PITTSBURGH –- Eli Manning and Victor Cruz showed they are still very much on the same page, and rookie defensive end Damontre Moore looked impressive in the Giants' 18-13 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers on Saturday in their preseason opener.
What it means: The Giants have some work to do, but there are reasons to believe they can be explosive on offense. Manning and Cruz looked like they were in midseason form.
It's clear the Giants have a variety of personnel options on defense. The run defense, however, had difficulty slowing down Pittsburgh's ground game in the first half.
The Salsa is back: Cruz missed valuable offseason training time with Manning due to the Pro Bowl receiver's contract negotiations. But Cruz showed why the Giants gave him $45.879 million over six years. Cruz burned the Steelers' secondary for a 57-yard touchdown catch from Manning near the end of the first quarter, which led to his first salsa dance of the year.
"It's great to be on the same page with your quarterback," Cruz said. "Eli and I work hard on that. When things are clicking, you really get the results you want."
DaMonster: Moore lived up to his college nickname of "DaMonster" in his preseason debut. After looking impressive in camp, the team’s third-round pick blocked a punt and had three tackles, a couple of pressures and one quarterback hit all in the first half. Moore disrupted a couple of short passes and looked incredibly active.
Moore's blocked punt with 11:27 to go in the first quarter was recovered by Louis Murphy and set the Giants up with first-and-goal at the Pittsburgh 5-yard line. The Giants' offense, though, failed to gain a yard and settled for a field goal.
Moore has been competing with Adrian Tracy to be the fourth defensive end once Jason Pierre-Paul returns from back surgery. If Moore keeps this up, he'll see snaps in the defensive end rotation behind JPP, Justin Tuck and Mathias Kiwanuka.
Stop the run: The Giants made a concerted effort in the offseason to bolster their run defense. But the Steelers racked up 81 yards on 17 carries in the first half, including 36 yards on a 13-play drive in the first quarter. The Steelers had success running the ball without their prized rookie Le'Veon Bell, who did not play due to a knee injury.
Defensive coordinator Perry Fewell shuffled in many of his tackles and ends. Cullen Jenkins started at defensive end as the Giants opened with Linval Joseph and Shaun Rogers inside. Second-round pick Johnathan Hankins and Mike Patterson also saw a lot of first-half snaps.
The Giants also took a long look at starting linebackers Mark Herzlich, Spencer Paysinger and Keith Rivers while shuffling in Jacquian Williams a bit in the first half.
Injuries: Backup wide receiver Kris Adams suffered a fractured lower leg in the third quarter.
Tuck (back), wide receiver Hakeem Nicks (groin), right guard Chris Snee (hip), cornerback Terrell Thomas (knee), tackle Justin Pugh (concussion), tackle James Brewer (concussion), safety Cooper Taylor (hamstring) and running back Ryan Torain (concussion) did not play.
What's next: The Giants won't play again until Aug. 18 at home against Andrew Luck and the Colts. Hopefully Ahmad Bradshaw will be active and make a homecoming.