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The NFL preseason is officially underway, as Sunday night the New York Giants defeated the Buffalo Bills, 17-3, in the Hall of Fame Game.
In what is truly a glorified scrimmage for coaches to finally get a look at their players in a game situation, we can’t help but find the importance of the preseason opener.
Here are five takeaways from the Bills-Giants game:
1. Mr. 70 percent
Eli Manning‘s quarterback coach wants him to complete 70 percent of his passes. Well, Eli showed him.
Manning went 6-for-7 for 43 yards in three possessions with the first-team offense. The Giants’ first drive resulted in a three-and-out, then Manning was sacked and fumbled in the second.
But Eli completed 85 percent of his passes!
2. Backfield by committee
The Giants are getting back to their running game in 2014. Rashad Jennings and Andre Williams look to be the newest version of Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs, and served as the 1-2 punch on the team’s first touchdown drive.
Jennings carried the ball seven times for 23 yards, adding 20 receiving yards on three catches. The rookie Williams rushed seven times for 48 yards, including a touchdown.
3. Sophomore slump?
EJ Manuel did not get off to the best start in his first action of Year 2. The second-year quarterback completed 2-of-7 passes for 19 yards, looked unable to read the Giants D, and had three passes swatted down at the line of scrimmage.
4. Giants need help at tight end
Larry Donnell started at tight end for New York, hauling in one pass for 13 yards. Daniel Fells split time with him with the first team, but suffered a knee sprain and is set to undergo an MRI. Adrien Robinson got action with the second and third teams.
Since Martellus Bennett left for Chicago, the Giants have had no production out of their tight ends. You have to wonder if they can make a trade or are considering Jermichael Finley at this point.
5. Rookie woes
Bills’ first-round pick Sammy Watkins came up empty on three targets Sunday night. Whether they were Watkins’ or Manuel’s fault — we won’t delve into that.
Given Manuel’s struggles and the fact rookie wide receivers tend to take time to transition to the pro level, it’s hard to expect too much out of Watkins in Year 1.
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