What a difference one drive makes for the New York Giants.
Through five possessions against the New York Jets on Friday night, Eli Manning and the Giants' first-team offense did nothing. Only monster fans of punter Steve Weatherford could view the drives as successful. Tom Coughlin's team was about to be the subject of full-blown talk radio panic.
But the Giants' first team salvaged the Snoopy Bowl with an efficient and productive two-minute drill to end the first half. Manning led the Giants on a 11-play, 91-yard drive covering 1:48, capped by a 15-yard touchdown strike to wide receiver Rueben Randle.
"It was the best rhythm we've gotten," Manning said, per the team's official website.
Randle celebrated the score by mimicking Santonio Holmes' old "flying Jet" routine. It was a show of swagger by a team that needed something to celebrate after a long cold spell that carried across four games.
"We started to get a little bit of our mojo back and as a result, we were able to get into the end zone, which is always a good thing," said wide receiver Victor Cruz, who had three of his four receptions on the scoring drive.
Manning entered Friday night having completed 7 of 16 passes for just 49 yards in the preseason. The slow start led to speculation that the quarterback was struggling to pick up the nuances of the new scheme installed by offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo.
Manning was far from perfect against the Jets. His numbers were only OK (12 for 21, 139 yards and a touchdown), and the scoring drive saw an ugly interception wiped away after it was ruled that Jets corner Kyle Wilson had stepped out of bounds before making the pick.
But this will be remembered as an evening that represented progress for the Giants' offense. Call it a much-needed development.