The New York Giants kicked off the 2014 NFL season in style, appearing in the Hall of Fame Game in an insightful matchup with the Buffalo Bills. While a victory is hardly a significant result in a preseason game, the Giants did escape Fawcett Stadium in Canton, Ohio with a 17-13 win.
MVP – Andre Williams
There were doubts about the Heisman finalist’s potential in the NFL, mostly because of the mileage he’d racked up at Boston College. For now, that remains to be seen, however his 48-yard, one-touchdown performance was easily the highlight of the evening.
Williams displayed his punishing running style, averaging 6.9 yards per carry with an impressive 21-yard run that set up his three-yard score.
LVP – Jayron Hosley
There weren’t a lot of negatives for the Giants, but Hosley was one of them. The third-year corner was targeted from the get-go on the Bills’ second-quarter touchdown drive and eventually surrendered a two-yard touchdown to Robert Woods on a quick out.
X-Factor – Rashad Jennings
Expect the free-agent acquisition to play a key role for the Giants this season. He had 10 touches in this game, racking up 23 rushing yards and 20 receiving yards.
Nothing he did was particularly explosive, but it was a positive sight to see from a team that scarcely trusted the running back with catching the football out of the backfield in years past.
Key Stat – 121 Yards Rushing
The G-Men looked very strong running the football, with Williams and Peyton Hillis as big stars vs. the Bills. They ran for 121 yards over 39 carries, including Williams’ aforementioned touchdown run. The 3.1 yards-per-carry average isn’t especially impressive, but it took a slight hit thanks to underwhelming performances by the third-team offense in the second half (Kendall Gaskins and Michael Cox combined for just eight yards over 14 carries).
What This Win Means
In the preseason? Nothing. But the Giants’ performance overall was something to feel very good about.
Eli Manning looked strong in the pocket, the running game delivered with an impressive outing and the defense, as a whole, was solid. They all looked great for their first game of the preseason and should continue to improve in the coming weeks.
A lot of guys garnered some attention tonight, including Spencer Adkins (who seemed to be in on every play), Corey Washington (who had a 73-yard touchdown catch) and Zack Bowman (one deflection which resulted in an interception and an interception of his own). It would be wise to keep an eye on them going forward to see if they can continue to excel.
08/09 vs. Pittsburgh Steelers, 7:30 p.m.