Jennings shows Giants big-play ability

August, 10, 2014
8/10/14
12:25
AM ET
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The New York Giants' first-string offense looked abysmal Saturday night ... with one exception.

Jennings
On the first play of the Giants' second possession, Rashad Jennings took an inside handoff from Eli Manning and burst through a gaping hole in the line, sprinting all the way to the end zone for a 73-yard touchdown.

For Jennings, it was a moment to remember in his first home game at MetLife Stadium -- even though this is just the preseason.

"You only get one chance to have a first impression," Jennings said, "and that was something Coach Coughlin was reminding us [about] before we went out on the field. So obviously it feels good."

The hole came courtesy of Brandon Mosley, who's currently holding down the starting right guard spot following the retirement of Chris Snee. Jennings did the rest but credited his teammates after the game.

"Eli made sure we were in the right play," Jenning said. "The offensive line beat the double team, the puller came around and put a body on a body, gaping hole, gave an opportunity for the [running] back to be one-on-one.

"One-on-one battles in the open field, you gotta win those. And that's what I did. The rest was just a race."

That actually was the most impressive aspect of the run -- the fact that Jennings wasn't caught by the several Pittsburgh Steelers in pursuit. At 6-foot-1 and 231 pounds, Jennings has a reputation of being a power back, not a speed demon.

"There's one thing I run around the locker room and say before games a lot of times, and that's, 'Don't let anybody define you,'" Jennings said. "You get a lot of labels as a player, as an athlete -- he's a physical runner, he's this, he's that, all positions. Something [important] to me, I always want to be a complete back. That's what I want to prove in the league."

This wasn't even the longest run of Jennings' NFL career. He had an 80-yard touchdown scamper for the Oakland Raiders against the Houston Texans last year. The Giants signed him to be their workhorse back, but perhaps he's more of a home run threat than any of us thought?

It's a good thing he "went deep" Saturday night, because otherwise there'd be literally nothing positive about the Giants' starting offense. In the three other series with Manning under center, the team committed three penalties and failed to make a first down. Manning didn't even complete a pass.

"This is the beginning," Jennings said. "We're still growing, we're still learning -- got a lot of stuff to make sure we take care of, myself included."
Kieran Darcy is an ESPNNewYork.com staff writer. He joined ESPN in August 2000 after graduating from the University of Pennsylvania, where he played four years of JV basketball.
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