The first touchdown of the season for the Giants showed exactly what they are capable of.
They went 74 yards on three straight passes to Sterling Shepard, Odell Beckham Jr. and Larry Donnell — bang, bang, bang — taking only 58 seconds to reach the end zone. More than a third of their passing yards in the game came on those three snaps.
It was an explosive, quick-strike display of the capabilities that the Giants offense has. The next two touchdown drives, though, were more plodding. More traditional. They featured a mix of passing and running. Combined, they covered 129 yards in 21 plays.
So which is it? What’s the Giants’ offensive personality going to be? Lightning or thunder? Video game or old school?
“Hopefully, both,” Eli Manning said. “Being able to mix in that run and pass, big plays, all those things, is just taking what the defense gives you. That’s what you have to do in this league.”
The Giants seem to be in a position to do both. And while the fast-paced drives that are spurred by big plays are exciting, there does need to be a balance.
“We don’t expect to live like that,” running back Rashad Jennings said. “We have to be a heavy-handed team. We have to be able to control the ball, control the clock, and be explosive when we need to be. And not be one-dimensional.”
Based on the players the Giants used Sunday, they should be able to be that multifaceted group. It was the first time the entire offensive group was together on the field, from Victor Cruz with Beckham and Shepard to running backs Jennings and Shane Vereen, to tight ends Donnell and Will Tye.
“It was good to have all our weapons healthy, playing fast and at a high level,” Manning said. “It was good to see. Offense was clicking. We were looking to get everybody involved. Not forcing the ball to certain guys, just going through my reads. Guys are winning, and it makes my life and my job a lot easier.”
The Giants would like to score more points. Manning said in the preseason that the benchmark for each game is 28 points, and the 20 scored against Dallas came short of that. They also had a turnover and a few penalties that stunted their combustibility.
“We saw some flashes of what it can look like,” Jennings said. “We saw some series of what we think it should look like. We have a lot more work to do cleaning up details and stuff.”
Overall, though, there was plenty to like.
“I saw a lot of good,” Manning said. “We came out, didn’t get off to a fast start. Next two drives, came down, scored, had a two-minute drive, scored, which is great. In the third quarter we weren’t playing really well, but when we needed a touchdown we were able to come together, make some good plays and score.”
And, most importantly, win.
“That means a lot,” Jennings said. “For everybody who has been here since I’ve been here it means a lot. That’s why you saw a lot of excitement when the game was over from me. Because I know that in order to get to where we want to go we have to win those close ones. You only get 16 of them.”