Detroit, MI – No Eli Manning. No Saquon Barkley. No Odell Beckham, Jr.
And no problem for the Giants. With their three most important offensive players getting the night off, the Giants still rolled to a 30-17 preseason victory against the Detroit Lions Friday night in Ford Field.
The triumph was largely manufactured by the Giants' 2017 draft class. Davis Webb made his first NFL start at quarterback and completed 14 of 20 passes for 140 yards. Running back Wayne Gallman scored on an 11-yard pass from Webb and an eight-yard run. Evan Engram had two receptions. Dalvin Tomlinson contributed to a stout first-team team defense that did not give up a third-down conversion with a pair of tackles, including one for a loss.
Aldrick Rosas, another 2017 newcomer, kicked a 55-yard field goal as the Giants improved to 1-1 this month.
"Even though everybody says the wins don't matter, there is a much different feeling in the locker room when you win a football game," coach Pat Shurmur said. "Last week we were disappointed. Today, I was happy for our guys."
Webb took a big step forward after his shaky outing in relief of Manning a week ago against Cleveland. He completed 14 of 20 passes for 140 yards, the touchdown and no interceptions for a passer rating of 106.2. In the loss to the Browns, his numbers were nine completions in 22 attempts for 70 yards, and a rating of 49.4.
"I thought he was calmer tonight," Shurmur said. "I tell the guys to stay calm, but I wish I could do it all the time, I got wound up a couple times. It happens, its football, you compete, and we help each other stay calm. He did fine, he did a really good job tonight.
"It was the Davis Webb I'm used to seeing, but he had more success on his throws. Again, he helped get us in the end zone, which is good."
After the Giants went three-and-out on their first possession, Davis was a replay reversal away from a disastrous start to their second. He was sacked for an eight-yard loss by Ricky Jean Francois and lost the ball, which was originally ruled a fumble that Detroit recovered and returned to the Giants' one. But after a review, referee Shawn Smith ruled the play an incomplete pass, and the ball was returned to the original line of scrimmage at the 21. On the next play, Sterling Shepard was penalized for an illegal blindside block, sending the Giants back eight yards.
Once again…no problem. Webb's pinpoint 27-yard throw down the left side to Shepard on third-and-17 highlighted a 17-play, nine-minute drive that ended with Gallman's touchdown reception, which gave the Giants a 7-3 lead.
"It was a great route by Sterling," Webb said of the play that provided a necessary spark. "We practiced that at Weehawken High School a few times, so yeah, it was a good job."
Webb's touchdown pass was his first in a Giants uniform.
"I was excited about that," Webb said. "It was even cooler to throw it to Wayne. That was my first roommate here, other than Evan. Wayne and I roomed together for two months, so that was an exciting moment. It wasn't really a good throw, it was a good catch, and that was fun to get some points on the board. It was a long drive. That was one of the longest drives I've been a part of.
Webb later threw a 40-yard pass to Russell Shepard to set up Rosas' long field goal.
The second-year pro insisted he did not need a productive performance to maintain the faith he has in his own ability.
"I'm pretty confident in my ability," Webb said. "I just think I needed to hit the reset button and kind of figure out how I want to play football. I want to play football at a smooth, calm level, and again, I didn't play my best game tonight. Guys around me made plays."
And those guys were happy to see Webb play well and have fun.
"He's a player," Gallman said, who was selected in the fourth round last year, one round after Webb. "We all know he's a player, Davis is the first one in the building and the last one out. He's very dedicated. When he does have those downtimes, he doesn't dwell on them. He gets right back into it and that's why I'm glad he came back from last week where he didn't have the best game to this game where he did way better. He had a good game, so I'm proud of him."
"Davis definitely did his thing," said Engram, the team's first-round choice a year ago. "It was good to be out there with him, good being in the huddle with him, and catch some passes from him as well. I'm definitely proud of him, I know he feels good about it this week, and definitely looking to build on it going forward."
Barkley, the Giants' first-round draft choice this year, didn't play after straining his hamstring on Monday and missing the joint practices with the Lions. The Giants continue to be cautious with Beckham's surgically-repaired left ankle. And Manning got the night off because Shurmur though he already got the work he needed this week.
This was the 11th preseason game (of 58) Manning has missed in his 15-year career, the eighth absence that resulted from a coach's decision.
"I made the decision earlier in the week that I wasn't going to play Eli," Shurmur said. "Here's the thing with Eli and Odell, I felt like we were going to get better than practice work against Detroit for two days. They got a lot of good work and the unintended consequence of that, it allowed us to give Davis Webb more work. Because Odell got his work, we didn't want to put him out there."
Turns out to win the game, they didn't have to.
These players stood out in the Giants win over the Detroit Lions