CANTON, Ohio – Folks, Jeremy Shockey may just be that good. The Giants first-round pick showed all the ability New York fell in love with during his first professional contest. He busted out with a 48-yard catch-run-and-rumble that set up his own TD late in the first half.
Shockey took a short pass and broke three tackles on the play, the final coming when he lowered the shoulder and the boom on Texans FS Kevin Williams. He also shook off a facemask penalty on Texans S Matt Stevens in the process. Shockey then ran a nice, crisp slant pattern and corralled Jesse Palmer’s eight-yard pass for a touchdown. He finished the evening with four catches for 80 yards.
That helped Big Blue top the Texans at the Pro Football Hall of Fame Field at Fawcett Stadium.
“That was a big-time play,” Giants Head Coach Jim Fassel said. “If you don’t get excited about that, not much will excite you in football.”
Fassel got exactly what he was looking for from Kerry Collins and the Giants starting offense. RB Tiki Barber scored easily from one yard out to cap New York’s season-opening drive.
The Giants marched effortlessly on their first possession of the 2002 campaign, moving 66 yards in 10 plays. Highlights of the drive were a 13-yard catch by Shockey and an 18-yard connection between QB Kerry Collins and WR Ike Hilliard.
“It is always good on the first drive of the season to run the ball well, throw the ball well, and score a touchdown,” Barber said.
“I thought the offensive line did a really good job, both in pass protection and in the running game,” Collins said.
The inexperienced, makeshift OL passed its first test. “The offensive line was making some big holes, which is what we expected,” added Barber, who accounted for 30 yards on six touches.
The second-team offense wasn’t as prolific right off the bat. Palmer’s late second-quarter INT to Kevin Williams led to a 24-yard TD catch by Houston TE Billy Miller, who beat Giants S Clarence LeBlanc in the end zone.
Palmer connected with Jonathan Carter for a 38-yard gain in the third quarter. That set up Owen Pochman’s 37-yard field goal that extended New York’s lead to 20-10.
The Giants never looked back from that lead, finishing off the Texans 34-17