But other than the long run, the starters had little to show for their effort. They went three-and-out on their first series, failing to take advantage of a Pittsburgh penalty that set up a third-and-two (Manning had no open receiver and threw the ball into the ground to avoid losing yardage).
After Jennings’ touchdown, the offense began its next set of downs at the Giants’ 12-yard line. Manning was sacked for an eight-yard loss on first down and after three plays, Steve Weatherford punted from the 11.
The starters took the field for a fourth series - “we had a pitch count and weren’t even close,” Tom Coughlin said – but Brandon Mosley and Geoff Schwartz were penalized for holding and Larry Donnell for a false start. The Giants gained just one yard and punted again. Manning’s night ended with just two passes, neither of them completed.
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Coughlin would like to see more production from the offense when the Giants visit Indianapolis Saturday night.
“It is important to see it anytime,” Coughlin said. “That is what we are out there for. We practiced all week and it’s time to do something about it when you get your opportunity to play on the weekend. We let our offensive linemen play a little longer, a couple of them. We thought that was important and we wanted to get a few more snaps out of those guys because they do have to play together and communicate together. The 73-yard run was with the first offense in there, too. I wouldn’t forget about that either. Yes, it is important. That is what we are trying to do is put consistency together. You struggle some and you have to work your way through it. It is always important. That is why you play the preseason games, in addition to trying to discover other people who can help (the team).”
Coughlin was asked on a conference call today if he is seeing small gains in the offense.
“I saw a long one yesterday,” he said. “I saw a finish of a seven-for-seven quarterback that got us in the end zone to win the game. I am seeing that. I am seeing some individual development. I am seeing some of the offensive linemen who are starting to play a little better. We certainly think that Rashad Jennings and, even in this point and time, Andre Williams are improving and getting better. From time to time you’ll see a play by certain individuals. It would have been great to see Larry Donnell get that one contested ball over the middle, but he was in pretty good shape in a pretty good spot and the ball was thrown pretty well. There are some things out there that are definitely improvements. It is not all where it is, obviously. There is some good and some bad and that goes with everything. Hopefully, we are moving in the right direction toward putting together more good.”
- Defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul tied for the team lead with four tackles (three solo) and also had a quarterback hit.
“I thought he played well,” Coughlin said. “I thought that he really chased the ball and showed the outstanding speed that he has. You saw it on the reverse, you saw him down the line of scrimmage. I thought for the plays he had in the game that he gave good effort and was in good position. Again, the way in which he chased the ball and coming in from behind was very good.”
- Fullback John Conner apparently suffered the only injury of note. Conner was going through the NFL concussion protocol after absorbing a helmet-to-helmet hit at the end of the game.
“I think anytime you are dinged and you come to the sideline, that is the way it is going to be treated today,” Coughlin said. “His eyes were bright and he was smiling when I left the locker room, so I was a little bit surprised. It will be precaution and safety first, so he will go through the protocol and who knows if he really is feeling as well as I thought he looked last night. Maybe that can all be accomplished in time for us to see where he will be at this week in terms of practice and play. I don’t know if anything is being ruled out just yet.”
- Rookie wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr might increase his workload this week. He hasn’t participated in team drills since the first week of training camp because of a strained hamstring.
“He is going to practice tomorrow on an individual basis, and then they are going to assess where he is,” Coughlin said. “If he can do a little more, then maybe he will do a little bit more, but if he can’t then we will keep it strictly with individual.”
- Coughlin opened the conference call by praising the kicking game. Josh Brown (45-yard field goal) and Brandon McManus (46) each kicked an extra point (from 33 yards) and combined for five touchbacks on as many kickoffs. Weatherford had a 45.8-yard net average on six punts.
“The kicking game responded very well last night,” Coughlin said. “Five-for-five in terms of touch backs, a 46-yarder, and a 45-yard field goal. Very good net. Steve had a nice game except for the one when he was trying to drive it out of the end zone and it didn’t have the hang time that he wanted. I thought we did a nice job with our double teams, our vice on the outside. I thought our gunners did make some progress with regards to that. Punt protection, all though not really tested certainly did a better job. I think there are some things to look at from a special team’s standpoint that were very positive. Both kickers made outstanding contributions.”