Sunday, August 17, 2014
What to take away from Giants' comeback
By Dan Graziano ESPN.com
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The New York Giants' first-team offense was not sugarcoating things after Saturday night's preseason game. They have been terrible so far this preseason and they know it. But the Giants' locker room wasn't a downcast place, and the reason was that the backups had just scored 27 points in the fourth quarter and won the exhibition game, 27-26.
No, these games don't count, but that doesn't mean teams don't want to win them. The Giants thought it was awesome that the backups came back and improved them to 3-0 in the preseason.
"Some of us could take some lessons on how to move the ball down the field and score," starting left tackle Will Beatty said with a smile.
We shouldn't make too much of preseason games one way or the other, good or bad. And the Giants' fourth-quarter comeback Saturday was a comeback by third-stringers against third-stringers, so you can make the case that even less should be made of it than usual. But there are always players worth highlighting in these situations, so here are a couple of them:
In the spring, he looked like the leading candidate to start at tight end. But when camp started, he was buried at No. 5 on the depth chart and has barely seen the field at all in the first halves of the preseason games. But he caught two seam passes over the middle from Ryan Nassib on the game-winning drive, using his size and height to take the ball away from defenders on a play we've seen work a few times with him and Nassib in practice.
"He used the advantage of going up top, which was very smart in my opinion, given the way they're calling things out there," Giants coach Tom Coughlin said.
It's possible a showing like this could help Robinson's chances for more responsibility in the offense. It's not as though Larry Donnell has run away with the starting job while playing with the first team.
"It's my third year, so I need to go out there and make plays if I want to stay around," Robinson said.
He was demoted this week from second to third string, so he didn't enter the game until Eli Manning and Curtis Painter had left it. It was 26-14 Colts when Nassib first got the ball. He was 11-of-15 for 158 yards and the game-winning touchdown pass to Cory Washington. He completed a fourth-down pass to Marcus Harris on the drive that cut the lead to 26-21 and a 27-yarder to Travis Harvey just before that Michael Cox touchdown run. He was 6-of-8 on the game-winning drive, including the 26-yarder to Robinson fourth down and 16.
"He did a lot in very difficult circumstances, which was impressive," Coughlin said.
Third straight game with a game-winning touchdown catch, this one a 4-yarder on which Nassib read the all-out blitz and lofted it to Washington in the end zone. The 6-4 rookie went up and got it, and his chances of making the roster continue to improve.
"I just want to practice the way I play, and keep showing the coaches I belong," Washington said, his smile growing larger by the week.
Anderson forced the fumble and Adkins recovered it in the end zone for the touchdown that cut the Colts' lead to 26-14 one play after the Giants scored their first points of the game. Wynn, the rookie defensive end out of Richmond, helped pressure Colts backup quarterback Chandler Harnish throughout the fourth quarter. These guys are all long shots to make the team, obviously. But they wouldn't mind getting something on tape that might help them make some team. And honestly, in the meantime, their spirited performance is inspiring the sluggish first-teamers.
"When we start the game the way we're finishing them," Beatty said, "it's going to be a sight to behold."