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American Football: Dayne steals Mannings thunder

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posted on Aug, 14 2004 @ 05:23 PM
The much-anticipated debut of Eli Manning was upstaged by another once highly regarded New York Giants first-round draft pick and a budding television star.

Ron Dayne showed flashes of his Heisman Trophy days, scoring on runs of 29 and 67 yards, and Jesse Palmer threw a game-winning 11-yard touchdown pass with 6:32 to play, rallying the Giants to a 34-24 win over the Kansas City Chiefs on Friday night.

Eli Manning was 7-of-13 for 91 yards in his professional debut.

"It felt good to get out and be able to run and score a touchdown," said Dayne, who gained 118 yards on 11 carries in his first action since last preseason.

"That was the main thing, I wanted to score a touchdown and help the team win," added Dayne, who was inactive for all 16 games last season under Jim Fassel.

The victory in Tom Coughlin's preseason debut as coach wasn't pretty.

Trent Green and the Chiefs gained 311 first-half yards and scored on four of five possessions in shredding the Giants' rebuilding defense. If they'd stayed in, the game would not have been close.

"I liked the way we hung in there," said Coughlin. "We were in a blitzkrieg in the first half and we hung in there."

Manning, the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft by San Diego and then traded to the Giants, played about two quarters with mostly a backup crew. He was 7-of-13 for 91 yards after getting a big ovation when he took over from Kurt Warner (3-of-7 for 49 yards) in the second quarter.

Coughlin told ESPN's Sal Paolontonio he will decide in the middle of the week whether Manning or Warner will start Thursday at Carolina.

"I thought it was a decent first outing," said Manning, who didn't turn over the ball and who had no problem getting his plays off.

The big story for the Giants was the revival of Dayne.

After gaining 5 yards on three carries, he woke up the Giants by bouncing off linebacker Shawn Barber on a third-and-short and going untouched for a 29-yard TD to cut the Chiefs' lead to 14-7.

The next time Dayne touched the ball, he took a handoff from Manning and went 67 yards for a score.

"That's a plus," Coughlin said. "No question about that. We just asked him to take pride in himself and prove to me he is a football player."

Palmer, television's "The Bachelor," is battling to be the No. 3 quarterback. He threw the winning pass to David Tyree two plays after Robert Peace recovered a fumble deep in Kansas City territory.

Chris Douglas iced it with a 26-yard TD run with 1:54 to play.
Green threw a 23-yard touchdown pass to Kris Wilson and Larry Johnson scored on a 3-yard run to give the Chiefs a 14-0 lead. Omar Easy scored on a 1-yard run and Lawrence Tynes had a 27-yard field goal for Kansas City, which was penalized 19 times for 160 yards.

"I expected them to be better than that," Chiefs coach Dick Vermeil said. "They were better than that on the practice field. The penalties put too much pressure on the defense."

Playing three series, Green was 7-for-11 for 111 yards in taking the Chiefs to a 14-0 lead.

Coughlin, who replaced Fassel after last season's 4-12 disaster, made his presence noticed challenging a Chiefs fumble recovery early in the second quarter.

Referee Terry McAulay ruled Warner was trying to tuck the ball and the Giants maintained possession at their 38. Eight plays later, Dayne scored -- and seemingly revived his career.

After Tynes kicked a 27-yarder to push the lead to 17-7, the fans got out of their seats to welcome Manning to Giants Stadium.

His first pass was dropped by Visanthe Shiancoe.

The second play was more memorable. Dayne took a handoff from Manning, followed guard Barry Stokes around the right end and went 67 yards for his second touchdown in as many plays.

Easy scored on a 1-yard plunge on the next series to extend the Chiefs' lead to 24-14. But Manning led a nice two-minute drill that resulted in Bill Gramatica's 42-yard field goal at the end of the half.

Gramatica added a 26-yarder early in the fourth quarter. Manning hit Chris Douglas on a 22-yard swing pass.


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