It didn't occur in a regular season or postseason game, but to Ramses Barden, scoring his first NFL touchdown was a significant milestone.
Barden, the fourth-year pro who has just 15 career receptions, used his 6-6 frame to shield Chicago cornerback Charles Tillman and caught an 11-yard touchdown pass from Eli Manning Friday night. The Giants went on to lose to the Bears, 20-17, in a preseason game in MetLife Stadium. But Barden was one of the Giants' bright lights, catching three passes for 46 yards, including a 22-yarder.
Barden later said he was in a groove.
"It doesn't take much," he said. "A couple of plays go positive early on, either when there is blocking or it could be somebody else, you see one of your teammates do something positive, it feeds the rest of the team. That's all it is. I got a catch early, gave me some confidence, I was able to build on it, and I watched plenty of tape this week and had a good week of practice and everything came together."
Barden was inconsistent in training camp, but he caught the eye of some important people with his performance vs. Chicago.
"Ramses Barden did some nice things," coach Tom Coughlin said. "That was good to see."
"Ramses played great," quarterback Eli Manning said. "He had a good slant, had a couple of other catches, quick little slant routes. He had another fade that they called pass interference on, that could've been another touchdown for him. He had a skinny post, so he had a couple of nice catches and big plays. That's what we've been looking for from Ramses over the past couple of years. See if he can step up and make some plays for us, and today, he did it."
Barden needs to keep it up. He is fighting for playing time in a crowded group of talented receivers that includes Hakeem Nicks, Victor Cruz, Domenik Hixon, Jerrel Jernigan and rookie Rueben Randle.
Because he hasn't produced as the team hoped when they selected him on the third round of the 2009 draft, it's been suggested numerous times this summer that this is a particularly important camp for him.
"They're all important," Barden said. "They're all extremely important, but for me, absolutely. I've been here for a few years and this is the healthiest I've been for a while. I want to show that good feeling isn't going to waste. I want to be here for whatever my team needs me to do. Whether it is teams, whether it's on offense, whether it's green zone, I like to contribute in every way that I can and the more touchdowns I can get, the happier I'll be."
And more importantly, the happier the team will be.
*Running back Da'Rel Scott broke through to block a Ryan Quigley punt in the second quarter. Greg Jones recovered the ball on the Chicago 10-yard line. On the first snap, cornerback Charles Wilson was penalized for interfering with Barden in the end zone, an infraction that moved the ball to the one. Andre Brown scored a touchdown on the next play.
"It was just a scheme that we have been working on," Scott said. "We got a couple of returns and I was just trying to set him up. I had a couple of speed rushes up the field and I just stuck it and went inside. I was hoping that would definitely give us a chance to get great field position – which it did. Hopefully, I will get an opportunity to get another one."
*The Giants tried an end-around with Domenik Hixon, but Julius Peppers sniffed it out and tackled Hixon for a 13-yard loss late in the first quarter. They got the 13 yards back on the next play when Manning completed a pass to Randle.
*The Giants' game captains were David Diehl, Mathias Kiwanuka and Spencer Paysinger.
*The following Giants players were inactive: Running back Ahmad Bradshaw (hand), cornerbacks Terrell Thomas (knee), Brandon Bing (leg) and Jayron Holsey (toe), linebacker Michael Boley (hamstring), tackles Will Beatty (back) and Brandon Mosley (ankle), defensive tackle Shaun Rogers (blood clot), wide receiver Hakeem Nicks (foot), and defensive linemen Jason Pierre-Paul (back), Marvin Austin (back) and Adrian Tracy (hamstring). Tight end Travis Beckum (knee) and defensive tackle Chris Canty (knee) remain on the physically unable to perform list.
*The start time of the Giants-New England preseason game on Wednesday, August 29 has been changed to 7:00 p.m. ET. The game was originally scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. The change was made to accommodate WNBC-TV's coverage of the Republican National Convention that evening.