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CANTON, Ohio – They didn't cause the scoreboard circuit breakers to give out, or gain so many yards that the folks next door at the Pro Football Hall of Fame took notice. But the Giants were pleased with the results of the first test of their new offense in game action Sunday night.
>>Watch: Highlights from NYG vs BUF
But the Giants entered the game eager to gauge variables like tempo, execution and the play-calling communication between offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo and the three quarterbacks. They operate at a faster pace than they did in the past. The Giants went without a huddle on their second possession and scored a touchdown on their third. They averaged 5.0 yards a play for the game.
It wasn't flawless. But it was pretty good for an opening night.
"I'm encouraged, period," Coach Tom Coughlin said. "We had about what the league gives you practice-wise. Maybe shy one practice of what we could have had. We did a pretty good job even right away in the spring with that offense, to be honest with you.
"I thought eventually we got to where we ran the ball pretty well. That might not have been their ones (starters) in there, but still we did have some consistency with runs there. I think that's probably the first thing I saw."
Eli Manning played the first three series and completed six of seven passes for 43 yards. He was also sacked once and lost a fumble on the play, which led to a Buffalo field goal. Manning said he was pleased with the communication from the sideline.
"I thought all of that went well," Manning said. "I thought that the plays were coming in, I thought that we did a good job at the line of scrimmage making checks and making calls and getting to the right plays. Everybody was on the same page, so I thought that all of those things went well. We've got to get better in some areas and improvements, but watching the first game film will be great to study and to learn from and make corrections. It's always at a different speed, a different pace when you get into a real game rather than practice, what we've been doing these past few weeks."
Ryan Nassib, the second-year pro who is battling Curtis Painter for the No. 2 job, took over in the second quarter and played into the fourth, long enough to throw the game-winning touchdown pass to Washington.
Nassib was almost set back by a communication issue as he entered the game.
"I started to freak out at first because my headset in my helmet wasn't working and I was like two seconds from going in," Nassib said. "I was like, 'Oh jeez, I'm going to have to do high school and run from the sidelines to the huddle every play.' … It was just a little headset malfunction. We switched out the mics and stuff and then it all worked out. The communication worked great. It went pretty smoothly, which is what we expected."
Nassib completed seven of 12 passes for 139 yards. In the third quarter, he threw a pass right to Buffalo linebacker Ross Cockrell, who returned it 12 yards. But the turnover was nullified by a roughing the passer penalty on Stefan Charles, who hit Nassib in the facemask.
"Some good, some bad," Nassib said of his performance. "I definitely wish I had some throws back, some decisions back. But that's the benefit of preseason, where you could take this as a great learning experience and go back, look at the film, see the mistakes you've made and learn from them."
Nassib and Washington hooked up for the game's biggest play with 1:42 elapsed in the fourth quarter. On second-and-14 from the Giants' 27-yard line, Nassib threw down the right side for Washington, a rookie from Newberry College. Cornerback Michael Carter was in good position to make a play, but Washington jumped up and reached over Carter to grab the ball before sprinting down the sideline for the game's final score.
"It was just a play-action pass, double-move downfield," Nassib said. "I underthrew it a little bit but he got up and made a big play. He came down with it, after he came down and ran in for a touchdown, that's hard to do on a play like that. Major props to Corey."
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Buffalo head coach Doug Marrone was Nassib's coach at Syracuse and several members of that Orange coaching staff now work for him in Buffalo. Did that make the play more special for Nassib?
"Not so much," he said. "It was more special just because it was my first touchdown. That's probably, definitely, the way I'm going to remember it, for sure."
Coughlin was asked if he liked what he saw from Nassib.
"I did," he said. "We need to get better. The play there at the end was nice, to be able to make a big play. You always like in the first preseason game to throw it down the field and run the ball. That was a good thing."
So are the prospects for the Giants' new attack.
"I like this offense because we have tools," said running back Rashad Jennings, who rushed for 23 yards and caught three passes. "We have tools to fix any problem a defense throws at us. Eli has a great control of the offense and is able to put us in good positions, good plays that we can find those hidden yardages and pop the big ones in the passing game and also in the run game."
And that's after just one game.