INDIANAPOLIS - Ryan Nassib finally showed the New York Giants how this new offence should look.
Crisp, efficient and potent.
After three quarters of bumbling around in Indianapolis, the second-year quarterback led New York to two touchdowns in the final four minutes Saturday night.
The second came on a 4-yard TD pass to Corey Washington with 55 seconds left —to give the Giants an improbable 27-26 victory against the Indianapolis Colts.
"It was definitely a strange game in that way, but it shows that we have some perseverance," Nassib said. "We'll play until the game's over."
For three quarters, the Giants stumbled around.
Two-time Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning finished 1 of 7 for 6 yards and was fortunate to have an interception wiped out by a Colts penalty.
Backup Curtis Painter, the one-time Indy starter, completed one pass during a first half that the Giants managed only 48 yards and wound up 6 of 15 for 64 yards and one TD.
The defence allowed 177 yards in the first two quarters, struggling to force punts, and kickoff returner Quintin Demps even lost a fumble.
"Whatever words you want to use to describe it, there was no production," coach Tom Coughlin said when asked about the offence. "There's nothing to look at from a production standpoint and that's disappointing."
Things looked so bleak that when Painter finally got the Giants (3-0) on the scoreboard with 10:16 left in the fourth quarter, on a 3-yard TD pass to Kellen Davis, the smattering of fans left at Lucas Oil Stadium thought it was more of a gimme than the start of a comeback.
Sixteen seconds later, though, Spencer Adkins recovered a fumble in the Colts' end zone to make it 26-14, and then Nassib started working his late-game magic.
He led the Giants on a 92-yard drive, capped by Michael Cox's 2-yard TD run, and then found Washington in the back corner of the end zone. Washington has caught a TD pass in each of the Giants three preseason games, including the winning scores each of the past two weeks.
"He's proven that he's made those big plays before and he did it once again," Nassib said of Washington.
The late rally, against Indy's backups, ruined what had been a big night for Hakeem Nicks, who signed with Indianapolis (0-2) as a free agent in March after helping the Giants win the Super Bowl in their last trip to Lucas Oil Stadium in February 2012. He showed his old team that he could still play.
Nicks caught five passes for 53 yards, accounting for most of Andrew Luck's production on a night Reggie Wayne was again held out. Luck wound up 12 of 18 for 89 yards with one TD.
All week Nicks held his emotions in check, telling reporters all the right things.
On Saturday night, he looked as if he had all the right moves, too, with the exception of a couple of goodbye waves to his ex-teammates as he headed out of bounds.
The second time he did it, the refs flagged him for unsportsmanlike conduct wiping out a 36-yard gain and getting a brief lecture from coach Chuck Pagano.
"He knew what he did, what that discussion was going to be like," Pagano said.
The penalty didn't stop Nicks or the Colts. On the next play, he caught an 8-yard pass for a first down, and opened the second quarter with a 17-yard catch that eventually led to Adam Vinatieri's second field goal of the game, a 42-yarder that made it 13-0.
Matt Hasselbeck replaced Luck on the next series and promptly threw a 14-yard TD pass to Da'Rick Rogers to make it 20-0 at halftime, and two field goals from Cody Parkey made it 26-0 early in the fourth — a lead that looked safe.
Painter's TD pass and Adkins' fumble recovery gave the Giants a glimmer of hope and Nassib made it happen by overcoming two offensive penalties and converting two fourth-down chances by hooking up with Washington for the winner.
"We challenged them at halftime," Coughlin said. "I wanted us to come out in the second half and see who loved football. It was primarily the end of the second group and then the third group that did it."
Notes: Four New York players left the game with injuries: Cornerback Prince Amukamara (groin), offensive tackle Charles Brown (shoulder), defensive tackle Markus Kuhn (elbow) and safety Cooper Taylor (toe). Coughlin did not have a postgame update. ... Manning said he is comfortable in the offence but that the Giants are still trying to understand all the nuances. ... Pagano said the Colts did not sustain any significant injuries.