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Buffalo Bills and New York Giants usher in 2014 NFL season

New York Giants vs Buffalo Bills August 4,2014-slide0
Drew Hall

The New York Giants defeated the Buffalo Bills 17-13 at historic Fawcett Stadium in Canton, Ohio Sunday night. The game marks the beginning of the 2014 NFL Preseason eagerly awaited by fans for six months.

Players play and coaches coach
Players play and coaches coach
Drew Hall

The stadium was packed to the brim, having the capacity of roughly twenty-five percent of a typical NFL stadium. Part of the pregame festivities included the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s newly enshrined Class of 2014. Michael Strahan, Andre Reed, Walter Jones, Derrick Brooks, Aeneas Williams, Ray Guy, and Claude Humphrey were introduced to fans in what was the culmination of a three-day celebration.

In a moment of good-willed spirit, Michael Strahan led the New York Giants in an on-field display of pride and motivation filled with high-flying leaps and hollering. Not to be outdone, Andre Reed quickly retaliated leading the Bills to midfield in what I can only liken to a high school pep rally with competing schools in the same auditorium.

The show came as a delight to fans as they saw their beloved legends leading their teams one last time.

With the opening kickoff, all eyes were on Buffalo Bills rookie wide receiver Sammy Watkins and second-year quarterback E.J. Manuel. Manuel is hoping to improve after his rookie year and bypass the dreaded sophomore jinx. Watkins enters the NFL as big play making speedster out of Clemson drafted to give Manuel a deep threat.

Unfortunately for the Bills, Manuel and Watkins were unable to connect. Watkins was targeted three times but did not come down with a reception. Manuel completed just two passes for 19 yards in very limited action.

Eli Manning, the New York Giants quarterback who has already led them to two Super Bowls did play in the first quarter. Under a new offensive system the Giants utilized dump off passes, screens, and a running game featuring rookie Andre Williams out of Boston College. It was Williams who would plow over the goal line for the game’s first touchdown.

Williams, selected in the fourth round by New York led the Giants had a solid debut with 48 yards on seven carries and a touchdown to boot.

Tied at halftime, the Bills took a slim three point lead into the final period when Giants reserve quarterback Ryan Nassib launched a 73 yard bomb to Corey Washington for the winning score. Washington is an undrafted rookie out of tiny Newberry College in South Carolina. He’s also one of the few who seems able to leave a good impression on Giants head coach Tom Coughlin.

Be sure to check out the slideshow which features exclusive photographs taken from the sidelines of the game.