Corey Washington builds capital as scoring receiver

Giants strong safety Antrel Rolle upends Pittsburgh Steelers Giants strong safety Antrel Rolle upends Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Heath Miller in the first quarter of a preseason NFL game, Saturday, Aug. 9, 2014, in East Rutherford, N.J. Photo Credit: AP / Bill Kostroun

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Corey Washington said his phone was not as inundated with calls and messages as it was a week ago, when he caught his first game-winning touchdown of the preseason. Has he become that predictable already?

No. It's just that last week's game was on national television. Saturday night's news took a little longer to get around. Washington expects the calls to stream in soon enough. He has other expectations as well.

"I'm just waiting for the regular season to start, hopefully make the 53-man roster here in New York," the undrafted rookie from tiny Division II Newberry College in South Carolina said after the Giants' 20-16 win over the Steelers.

Last week, it was a deep touchdown pass against the Bills early in the fourth quarter that won the game. On Saturday night, Washington used his height to grab a 3-yard fade pass from Curtis Painter with 2:50 left. At 6-4, he could be the Giants' new red zone target. "I can be a playmaker," he said. "Whatever the coaches want me to do, I can do it."

Defense still adjusting

And how about the defense?

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While the most critical aspect of the preseason is getting the Giants' offense into working order, the defense is adjusting to some new pieces and concepts as well. The starting unit kept the Steelers out of the end zone Saturday night -- the Giants have yet to allow a touchdown in the preseason -- but came away unhappy with some of the big plays it allowed.

"Pittsburgh came out here and ran a lot of misdirection with fullbacks and pullers," safety Stevie Brown said. "We need to work on getting our eyes back. Once we get that, we'll definitely grow as a defense. We played well, but it definitely wasn't up to our standards."

The biggest play the Giants allowed was a 46-yard screen pass from Ben Roethlisberger to Dri Archer in the opening series. A hustling tackle by Prince Amukamara held the Steelers to a field goal.

"Overall, our main focus is to not let them get in the end zone, and we were able to do that, to make them kick a field goal," said safety Antrel Rolle, who made a nice play sniffing out a short pass to tight end Heath Miller on the second series. "Obviously, we can get a whole lot better, a whole lot better in the run game, a whole lot better in eliminating the penalties and eliminating the big plays.''

Prince shows speed

Amukamara made what turned out to be a touchdown-saving tackle when he sprinted across the field to knock Archer out of bounds after the 46-yard catch-and-run on a screen pass. The Giants held the Steelers to a field goal, but it wasn't the other four points that Amukamara wanted to stop, it was teammate Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. "I want to see how fast I ran on that play," Amukamara said. "DRC takes pride in being the fastest guy on the team. I don't know about that."

Kick for kick

The battle between veteran Josh Brown and rookie Brandon McManus to become the Giants' kicker is too close to call. Each player kicked a first-half field goal, Brown connecting from 45 yards and McManus from 46. Special teams coordinator Tom Quinn said earlier that to win the job, McManus will have to beat out Brown.

Giant steps

Steelers running back Miguel Maysonet (Stony Brook University) rushed two times for 1 yard in the second half . . . Nine Giants did not play because of injury: receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (hamstring), receiver Trindon Holliday (hamstring), running back Peyton Hillis (ankle), cornerback Trumaine McBride (hip), linebacker Jon Beason (foot), tackle Will Beatty (leg), tight end Daniel Fells (knee), tight end Xavier Grimble (hamstring), defensive tackle Mike Patterson (shoulder) and defensive tackle Kelcy Quarles (ankle).

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