Rashad Jennings takes off for 73-yard touchdown

Posted Aug 9, 2014

RB Rashad Jennings scored a 73-yard rushing touchdown in the first half

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – The Giants ran 62 offensive plays in their preseason game against Pittsburgh Saturday night. On 61 of them, they gained a total of 239 yards, or 3.9 yards a snap. But it was that 62nd play that gave the Giants a shot in the arm.

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On the first snap of their second series, Rashad Jennings took a handoff from Eli Manning, blasted through the space created by Brandon Mosley’s block on Lawrence Timmons and outran cornerback Cortez Allen for a 73-yard touchdown and a 7-3 Giants lead. The Giants, who squandered a 13-3 advantage, went on to win, 20-16, on Corey Washington’s three-yard touchdown reception with 2:50 remaining in the game.

Jennings’ run was the longest play of the game and the longest executed by the Giants’ starters in two games.

“It was a play that Eli (Manning) made sure we were in the right play,” Jennings said. “It was perfect. Offensive line beat the double team. A puller came around and put a body to clear the hole and it gave me an opportunity for a one on one. One-on-one battles, you have to win, and that’s what I did. The rest was just a race.”

Jennings has been touted as a power back who gets the tough yards inside. But once he was in space, he turned up the speed and outran everybody.


“One thing I run around the locker room and say before games is, ‘Don’t let anybody define you,’” Jennings said. “You get a lot of labels as a player and an athlete. He is a physical runner, he is this, he is that. All positions. Same thing for me, I always want to be a complete back. That is what I want to prove in the league and that is the only thing I am going to settle for, so regardless what you are perceived as, it is more how you look at yourself. This is the beginning, we are still learning and growing and have a lot of stuff that we make sure we take care of, myself included. We are happy where we are at, but we are not satisfied.”

Jennings’ touchdown marked the second year in a row a Giants back ran for a long touchdown in a preseason game; last Aug. 24, David Wilson scored on an 84-yard run vs. the Jets.

The Giants rushed for 171 yards on 31 carries, a 5.5-yard average that was obviously boosted by Jennings, who had 85 yards on five rushes.

“I think the running game was good and we had a couple other good runs,” Manning said. “We got called for holding on a couple things, and we have to get rid of those penalties. But it seems like we’re getting good push and whenever you have a running back break a long one for 70 yards or 80 yards, whatever it was, that’s always a great thing to have: to go be able to hit that big play and hopefully we can get a few more of those and also be a little bit more consistent offensively.”

“I liked to see the 73-yard touchdown run,” coach Tom Coughlin said. “That was fun. I wish I had seen more of them.”

He might in the near future.


  • Manning and Ben Roethlisberger, who have won two Super Bowls apiece, might have set an NFL record for fewest combined completions by two starting quarterbacks – one.

    Manning played the first four series, but threw just two passes and didn’t complete either of them. He was also sacked once. Roethlisberger made a cameo appearance on the Steelers’ opening possession and also threw two passes. He completed one, a screen to Dri Archer, who turned it into a 46-yard gain, setting up Scott Suisham’s 26-yard field goal that gave Pittsburgh its only points of the half.

    “We just had limited opportunities,” Manning said. “It was great to see Rashad on the big run. First series, we had a third-and-two, got them to jump offside on third-and-seven, so that was good, using the cadence. Third-and-two, they just had a good call on (Manning rolled right and threw the ball into the ground). We still could’ve executed better, but that’s something we’ll look at on the film and learn from that. The next two series we just got backed up right away. We had a sack on the first play on that next series and then all of a sudden you’re at your four-yard line and second-and-17. That’s not an ideal situation. The next series, two holding calls backed it up, so we didn’t even get a pass off on those series. So I think we’ll try to learn from it and understand that it’s the preseason and not everything is going to be perfect. But we’ll definitely have some stuff to look at and to get better on a few things.”

    This was the first time Manning played in a preseason game without completing a pass. His previous low total in a preseason game was two completions, which occurred three times, most recently in the 2013 opener, at Pittsburgh.

    “I’m not totally shocked,” Manning said. “Obviously, it’s not the ideal situation, but when you only have two attempts, there’s that possibility.”

  • Backup Ryan Nassib entered the game with 10:35 remaining in the second quarter and again had the longest stint of the Giants’ three quarterbacks. He completed 12 of 21 passes for 81 yards. But a pass he threw in the fourth quarter was ruled to have been thrown backward, which is a fumble. Howard Jones scooped up the ball and returned it 28 yards for a touchdown, giving the Steelers a 16-13 lead. The play was upheld after a replay review.


  • Curtis Painter followed and completed all seven of his passes for 68 yards, all on the game-winning drive that ended with his three-yard touchdown pass to Corey Washington.

  • Running back Kendall Gaskins rushed for 46 yards on 10 carries and caught three passes for 19 yards.

  • The competition for the placekicking job appears no closer to a resolution. Incumbent Josh Brown kicked a 45-yard field goal and an extra point and each of his two kickoffs was a touchback. First-year challenger Brandon McManus kicked a 46-yard field goal and an extra point and each of his three kickoffs was a touchback.

  • Last week, the Giants did not have a single kickoff return, as all four Buffalo kicks flew out of the end zone for touchbacks. On Saturday, Quintin Demps had two returns for 46 yards and Preston Parker had two for 37 yards.

  • The Giants were penalized 10 times for 109 yards.

    “Didn’t like a lot that went on,” Coughlin said. “Didn’t like the penalties. Didn’t like the turnovers (two lost fumbles). Didn’t like the muffed punt. Didn’t like the backwards lateral that I think was awful close but they called it a fumble, so what are you going to do. Despite all of that, we found a way to win the game.”

  • Fullback John Conner was going through the NFL’s concussion protocol following the game. He absorbed a helmet-to-helmet collision on the Giants’ last offensive play.

  • The Giants have won their first two preseason games for the first time since 2006, when they finished 4-0.

  • The Giants’ game captains were Stevie Brown, Henry Hynoski and Josh Brown.

  • The following Giants did not suit up for the game: Wide receivers Odell Beckham Jr. and Trindon Holliday; tight ends Daniel Fells and Xavier Grimble; linebacker Jon Beason; tackle Will Beatty; running back Peyton Hillis; cornerback Trumaine McBride; and defensive linemen Mike Patterson and Kelcy Quarles.