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Instant Analysis

Instant Analysis: QB Webb shines in Detroit

AT A GLANCE: After holding three days of joint practices in Michigan, Pat Shurmur's home state, it was time for the Giants and Lions to square off at Ford Field in the second week of the preseason. Eli Manning got the night off, which led to Davis Webb making the start at quarterback. The second-year pro turned in his best preseason performance to date en route to a 30-17 victory over Detroit.  

UP NEXT: The Giants return to East Rutherford for the all-important preseason game, known as the "dress rehearsal" around the NFL because starters typically play the longest before resting in the finale. The Giants will be the visiting team this year in the annual MetLife Bowl against the Jets, who selected quarterback Sam Darnold one pick after Big Blue drafted running back Saquon Barkley second overall. This is the 50th consecutive summer the teams meet since the series began in 1969. The Giants won the last year's meeting, 32-31, their second consecutive one-point victory against the Jets. They trail in the annual preseason series, 25-23-1, with the tie coming in 1972.

WHAT WE LEARNED ABOUT THE OFFENSE

*A week after Saquon Barkley ripped off a 39-yard run on his first NFL snap, the second overall draft pick was sidelined this week because of a hamstring. He tweaked it during Monday's practice at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center before the team left for Detroit. Barkley made the trip but did not practice. "I'm feeling good," he said a day before the game. "It's coming along. Obviously you guys heard what happened so it's frustrating just to watch the guys be out there and not being able to compete with them, but you know, you got to trust the team, the coaching staff and the trainers and the strength staff. They have a great plan in place and doing the best they can to get me back as quick as possible." Shurmur said he is "day to day."

*Eli Manning got the night off, and second-year quarterback Davis Webb made his first career start in the preseason. Webb, who did not play in the regular season as a rookie in 2017, admitted he was a little too amped up in last week's opener as he completed just nine of 22 passes for 70 yards. On Friday against the Lions, Webb channeled that energy and showed command of the offense, completing 14 of 20 passes for 140 yards with one touchdown, no interceptions and a passer rating of 106.3. His night, which spanned the entire first half before rookie Kyle Lauletta took over in the third quarter, included completions of 40 yards to Russell Shepard and a 27-yarder to Sterling Shepard on third-and-17 from inside the Giants 20. 

Webb also led a 17-play, 79-yard drive that took nine minutes off the clock and resulted in an eight-yard touchdown to running back Wayne Gallman, who noted this week how much confidence he has gained in "knowing what the quarterbacks want" in the passing game (Gallman also had an 11-yard touchdown run after Lauletta came into the game). Webb even ran a successful quarterback sneak in the red zone on fourth-and-one to keep the drive alive. 

"I just think it was the first time in the new offense, hadn't played in [nearly] a year," Webb said of last week's performance. "Those are all excuses, but at the same time, I knew I had to play better this week. It was a long week for me. I was motivated to play well for my teammates. Honestly, I didn't play great tonight. Cody Latimer made a big catch, Sterling Shepard made a big catch, Russell Shepard made a big catch, and they kind of helped me out a little bit. I've got a lot of things I need to improve on, but right now it looks good. Right now it looks good."

*With a short field off a turnover, Lauletta showed his athleticism and put some moves on the Lions defenders on a 10-yard touchdown run early in the third quarter. He completed two of five passes for 27 yards.

*With Robert Martin's 16-yard touchdown run with 4:11 remaining in the game, the Giants reached 30 points, something they have not done in the regular season since the 2015 season finale.

WHAT WE LEARNED ABOUT THE DEFENSE

*After notching just three quarterback hits and one sack in the opener, the Giants turned up the pressure against Detroit. The defense got sacks from Olivier Vernon, Kerry Wynn and Romeo Okwara while Josh Mauro and B.J. Hill had quarterback hits. Kareem Martin added to the disruption and swiped Matthew Stafford's arm for an incomplete pass.

"We are gritty, we are aggressive, and we are playing how we want to play," safety Landon Collins said. "We are playing sound, we understand what the defense asks of us, we understand what the defensive call is, and we are playing fast. …Each and every day the chemistry is getting stronger. We are just clicking, it's not like we are fighting against each other trying to find out what the heck is going to happen within the play. It just happens, and it happens naturally."

*Sixth-year linebacker Ray-Ray Armstrong grabbed an interception in the third quarter after Lions wide receiver TJ Jones could not hold onto the pass. The ball went through his hands and then bounced off Giants cornerback Grant Haley before Armstrong eventually pulled it in. Shurmur has told his team that "turnovers are important, but what's most important is what you do after turnovers." Two plays after Armstrong's interception, Lauletta ran it in for a touchdown. In the opener, the Giants also turned a fumble recovery on special teams into a quick touchdown.

*Coming out of the opener against the Browns, Shurmur admitted that the coaching staff didn't get any "clarity" at the free safety position. That's because Curtis Riley, who had seen extensive reps with the first team next to two-time Pro Bowler Landon Collins, was dealing with a hamstring injury. Darian Thompson, who started all 16 games and played the most snaps on defense for the Giants last season, started in his place but then left with his own hamstring injury that he suffered on a special teams play. Andrew Adams, the team's leading tackler from the opener, and Michael Thomas are also competing for the job, but the healthy Riley got the start on Friday night and recorded one tackle. 

*Defensive coordinator James Bettcher returned to practice on Tuesday after missing three days of work to attend the funeral of his mother, Karen Francis Bettcher, who passed away on Aug. 4. Bettcher joined his family in his hometown of Lakeville, Indiana.  

WHAT WE LEARNED ABOUT SPECIAL TEAMS

*Aldrick Rosas made a 55-yard field goal to make it a 10-3 Giants lead in the first half. The longest of his career had been 52 yards, preseason or otherwise. 

INJURIES: RB Jalen Simmons (concussion)

DID NOT DRESS DUE TO INJURY: RB Barkley (hamstring), S Darian Thompson (hamstring), CB Donte Deayon (hamstring), TE Ryan O'Malley (ankle), LB Thurston Armbrister (hamstring), WR Travis Rudolph (quad), LB Connor Barwin

GAME CAPTAINS: S Landon Collins, C Jon Halapio, S Mike Thomas

The best images from the Giants' second preseason game in Detroit.

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