Sunday, August 3, 2014

Giants Experiment with New Pieces in Victory over Bills

GIANTS 17 / BILLS 13

Ok, it was only the first preseason game, but the Giants did get a good look at some brand new pieces in blue on Sunday, in a 17-13 victory over the Bills in the Hall of Fame Game.

After some early struggles, the Giants starting offense pounded the Buffalo defense with the ground attack combo of Rashad Jennings and rookie Andre Williams.

The duo combined for 35 yards on the drive, with Williams having the biggest impact. The rookie showed great speed and power, something Big Blue didn't have at all in 2013. Williams busted through the line for a 21 yard sprint down the sideline to set up the Giants inside the five yard line. Two plays later, Williams plowed through for six to give the Giants a 7-3 lead.

As for Eli Manning, he had an underwhelming night. He spent much of his day checking down to dump off passes, and was strip sacked for a fumble. Get used to the check downs, because that will be a big part of new offensive coordinator, Ben McAdoo's plan. McAdoo comes from the Packers, where Aaron Rodgers excelled on quick slants and screen passes. If Manning can manage that kind of offense, he should be in line for a better season.

Meanwhile it looked like Ryan Nassib put an early stranglehold on the back-up quarterback spot. He was very good on Sunday, completing 7-of-12 passes for 139 yards and a touchdown. The Giants want Nassib to get the job over incumbent journeyman, Curtis Painter.

Nassib's biggest pass of the night came in the fourth quarter, when he connected with Corey Washington for a 73-yard touchdown to put Big Blue in front for good, 17-13.

The Giants (1-0) will host the Steelers in their next preseason test on Saturday.

Michael Strahan Brings Down the House in HOF Speech

Michael Strahan is officially a Hall of Famer. The former Giants defensive end, who was one of the more feared pass rushers of the past decade, was enshrined in Canton, Ohio, as one of seven members in the class of 2014.

A class with many deserving honorees, including Ray Guy, Andre Reed, Aeneas Williams, Claude Humphrey, and Derrick Brooks; Strahan's speech was both funny, poignant and well worth the wait. At 11:00 p.m. he was the last person to speak on Hall of Fame night.

He nicely recaped his football journey that took from an army base in Germany when he was a child, to Houston, where he joined his uncle to learn football, and finally the NFL. The entire Giants team was on hand for the honor, since they were in the Hall of Fame Game on Sunday. Tom Coughlin and Eli Manning were among distinguished current Giants who worked with Strahan in 2007, when Big Blue won it all.

Other guests included former Giants coach Jim Fassell; former defensive coordinator John Fox; and former Giants such as  Lawrence Taylor, Jessie Armstead, and Antonio Pierce. Even Strahan's morning co-host Kelly Ripa was in attendance. He gave shout outs to everyone over the course of the 43 minute speech, including a hilarious impression of Eli Manning during the hours before Super Bowl XLII.

Watch the speech again HERE!