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  • NFL

    Giants pull off improbable win

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  • INDIANAPOLIS — Wide receiver Hakeem Nicks showed the Giants starters what they were missing on Saturday night.
    Then, Ryan Nassib showed him up. The second-year quarterback rallied the New York Giants for two touchdowns in the final four minutes.
    The second came on a 6-yard TD pass to Corey Washington with 55 seconds to go to give New York an improbable 27-26 preseason victory against the Indianapolis Colts.
    The Giants had trailed 26-0 with 14:46 to play.
    Indy (0-2) had a chance to win it, but Pat McAfee missed a 64-yard field goal wide left in the final seconds.
    Nassib rescued the Giants (3-0) from what had been a dismal night.
    Eli Manning finished 1 of 7 for 6 yards. He was sacked once and had an interception wiped out by a Colts penalty.
    Backup Curtis Painter was 1 of 5 for 7 yards in a poor first half and finished just 6 of 15 for 64 yards and one touchdown.
    Nassib, meanwhile, was 11 of 15 for 158 yards and threw the winning TD. The score on Saturday came with almost exactly the same time remaining in the game as when former running back Ahmad Bradshaw ran for the winning score in the Giants previous trip to Lucas Oil Stadium — the Super Bowl following the 2011 season.
    But the star of the game on Saturday was Nicks, the former Giant who signed with Indy as a free agent in March.
    All week, Nicks said all the right things about facing his old team.
    On Saturday, he made almost all of the right moves, too, catching five passes for 53 in less than 20 minutes and accounting for most of Andrew Luck’s totals. Luck was 12 of 18 for 89 yards.
    “There was a little more emphasis on this one,” Nicks finally acknowledged during a third-quarter television interview.
    He made sure his old teammates knew it, too, with a quick start.
    Nicks jump-started the night with a 17-yard catch-and-run.
    On the next play, he caught an 11-yard pass near the sideline, waving his hand at linebacker Jacquian Williams.
    Two plays later, Luck hooked up with Griff Whalen on an inside route for a 5-yard TD pass to give the Colts a 7-0 lead.
    Two series later, Nicks was back at it. He caught a 36-yard pass on third-and-3, which was called back after he waved his hand at Trumaine McBride while running out of bounds.
    That drew a flag for unsportsmanlike conduct negating the play. Nicks made amends with an 8-yard catch for a first down on the next play, then opened the second quarter with 17-yard catch that led to Adam Vinatieri’s second field goal of the night, a 42-yarder to make it 13-0.
    After that, Nicks called it a night.
    TEXANS 32, FALCONS 7: At Houston, Jadeveon Clowney made big hits behind the line on consecutive plays and Ryan Fitzpatrick threw a touchdown pass to DeVier Posey in the Houston’s win over Atlanta.
    Clowney, the top overall pick in the draft, smacked down Atlanta’s Antone Smith for a 2-yard loss and then sacked Matt Ryan on the Falcons’ second series.
    Jonathan Grimes returned a blocked punt for a touchdown and Andre Hal returned an interception 64 yards for another score for the Texans (1-1), who showed significant improvement after last week’s 32-0 loss in Arizona.
    Left tackle Sam Baker was carted off the field in the second quarter with a right knee injury for the Falcons (1-1). Baker, who started 16 games in 2012, played in just four games last season because of a left knee injury that required surgery in November.
    STEELERS 19, BILLS 16: At Pittsburgh, Ben Roethlisberger threw two touchdown passes in less than a half of work and Pittsburgh beat Buffalo.
    Roethlisberger hit Antonio Brown for a 76-yard score on Pittsburgh’s second play from scrimmage and found Markus Wheaton for a 16-yard strike to help the Steelers (1-1) won a preseason game for the first time in nearly two years.
    Roethlisberger finished 8 of 11 for 128 yards and the two scores. Shaun Suisham’s 20-yard field goal as time expired ended Pittsburgh’s five-game losing streak in exhibitions.
    EJ Manuel completed 17 of 27 passes for 148 yards and an interception while playing the entire first half for Buffalo (1-2), but the Bills’ starting offense failed to reach the end zone for the third straight game. Bills rookie wide receiver Sammy Watkins left early in the first quarter with a rib injury and did not return.
    PACKERS 21, RAMS 7: At St. Louis, Aaron Rodgers and Sam Bradford each threw a touchdown pass in their preseason debuts and played into the second quarter in the Green Bay’s victory over St. Louis.
    Michael Sam played in the second half and got his first sack of the preseason, dropping Matt Flynn for a 10-yard loss in the fourth quarter to force a 49-yard field goal by Mason Crosby. Sam had a tackle earlier in that series.
    Rodgers was 11 for 13 for 128 yards and a 3-yard score to Randall Cobb in a no-huddle offense on the opening series.
    Bradford showed plenty of mobility in his first action since season-ending left knee surgery last November. He was 9 for 12 for 101 yards and an 11-yard touchdown pass to Lance Kendricks.
    Eddie Lacy had five carries for 25 yards on the Packers’ 12-play, 86-yard drive to start the game.
    JETS 25, BENGALS 17: At Cincinnati, Andy Dalton completed all eight of his passes and led the Bengals to a pair of touchdowns and a field goal during three impressive series before New York’s reserves rallied for a preseason victory.
    It was Dalton’s first game at Paul Brown Stadium since his turnover-filled 27-10 loss to San Diego in the opening round of the playoffs. Also, his first home game since he signed a six-year contract extension.
    He went 8 for 8 for 144 yards, one touchdown and a perfect passer rating of 158.3. The Bengals (0-2) rolled up 173 yards while he was in the game.
    The Jets (2-0) got drubbed 49-9 in Cincinnati midway through last season — Dalton threw a career-high five touchdown passes in that one. Their injury-depleted secondary made it easy for Dalton on Saturday night.
    RAVENS 37, COWBOYS 30: At Arlington, Texas, Deonte Thompson returned a kickoff 108 yards for a score after Dallas’ Tony Romo threw a touchdown pass in his first game since back surgery last season, and Joe Flacco led three scoring drives in Baltimore’s preseason victory.
    The Ravens (2-0) also got a 26-yard fumble return for a touchdown when Courtney Upshaw picked up a botched handoff from Romo and stayed on his feet while Romo tried to drag him down by his jersey.
    Romo’s final play was a 31-yard touchdown pass to Dez Bryant midway through the first quarter.
    Baltimore led 14-7 before Flacco took the field for the first time. He threw a 19-yard scoring pass to Torrey Smith for a 24-10 lead late in the first half.
    Dallas is 0-2.
    DOLPHINS 20, BUCCANEERS 14: At Tampa, Fla., backup quarterback Matt Moore led Miami on two touchdown drives in a preseason victory over Tampa Bay.
    The Dolphins took advantage of a mistake by Bucs rookie Mike Evans.
    Evans, the Bucs’ first-round pick from Texas A&M, caught a short pass from Mike Glennon in the second quarter and after breaking a tackle, sprinted down the sideline toward a 42-yard touchdown which could have given the Bucs a 14-3 lead.
    After a review of the original touchdown call, however, it was ruled that Miami cornerback Brent Grimes had punched the ball out of Evans’ hands just before Evans crossed the goal line. The fumble went through the end zone, giving the Dolphins (1-1) the ball.
    Moore drove the Dolphins 71 yards to a touchdown in the final 1:41 of the first half, completing 6 of 8 passes including a 9-yard touchdown pass to Rishard Matthews that gave Miami a 10-7 lead over the Bucs (0-2) with 8 seconds left in the half.
    VIKINGS 30, CARDINALS 28: At Minneapolis, Teddy Bridgewater gave the giddy fans chanting his first name a pair of go-ahead touchdown throws to cheer for in the fourth quarter, giving the Minnesota Vikings a victory over the Arizona Cardinals.
    Bridgewater floated a back-shoulder fade pass from 2 yards out to Rodney Smith with 18 seconds remaining for the lead, after the Cardinals had gone ahead on a bizarre fourth-down score about a minute earlier.
    On that final drive, Bridgewater completed six of seven passes for 77 yards. The first-round draft pick from Louisville, who finished 16 for 20 for 179 yards, found Allen Reisner for a short touchdown and Jarius Wright for the 2-point conversion with 7:57 left.

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