CANTON, Ohio — With running back David Wilson out indefinitely, rookie Andre Williams showed glimpses he can provide the New York Giants’ ground game some fresh legs.
Williams, a fourth-round draft pick and Heisman Trophy finalist out of Boston College, had seven carries for 48 yards and scored on a 3-yard run in a 17-13 victory over the Buffalo Bills on Sunday night in the preseason-opening Hall of Fame Game.
Rookie receiver Corey Washington scored the go-ahead touchdown on a 73-yard pass up the right sideline from backup quarterback Ryan Nassib with 13:18 remaining. Washington reached back to catch the underthrown pass, then stepped around flat-footed defender Kamaal McIlwain.
Williams’ performance was encouraging for the Giants after Wilson sustained his second neck injury in less than a year during training camp.
Getting additional playing time as the No. 2 back behind newly acquired starter Rashad Jennings, Williams provided a 1-2 punch to the Giants’ new-look running game that was slowed by injuries last season. And the two took the pressure off quarterback Eli Manning.
Though Manning lost a fumble while being sacked on the second series, Williams helped bail out the offense on the third possession. He had five carries for 37 yards, which he capped with a strong run up the middle to put the Giants ahead 7-3.
Williams led the nation with 2,177 yards rushing last season, the fifth highest total in NCAA history.
He showed great burst on a 21-yard gain off a sweep to the left to set up his score.
Manning finished 6 of 7 for 43 yards.
“We didn’t get off to a great start,” Manning said, referring to his fumble. “The first game back, you’re going to work out some of the kinks. … I thought there were some improvements. It was a good start.”
For Buffalo, starting quarterback EJ Manuel had several lapses during two series. He completed just 2 of 7 attempts for 19 yards, and nearly had a pass intercepted by linebacker Jacquian Williams inside the New York 10. Manuel never looked off his intended target, rookie Sammy Watkins, and was fortunate to have Williams bat the ball down.
BROWNS: Cleveland claimed injured offensive lineman Michael Bowie off waivers from the Seattle Seahawks.
Bowie was a seventh-round pick a year ago and made eight starts. But he needs shoulder surgery that will sideline him for four to six months, and he was cut by the Seahawks on Saturday.
TITANS: Left guard Andy Levitre was removed from the non-football injury list and returned to the field 10 days after an appendectomy.
Levitre, who has started 80 straight games since being draft by Buffalo in 2009, says he’s hopeful of playing in the preseason opener Saturday against the Green Bay Packers unless told no.