If the Giants wide-receiver competition were some sort of ongoing reality show, Steve Smith probably would have won immunity yesterday, leading the team with six catches in addition to recovering the onside kick to effectively end the game. He narrowly would have beat out Mario Manningham, who impressed with three receptions, including a touchdown that will surely live on as a part of “How Not to Tackle” instructional-DVD segments. And by virtue of his sprained left foot, rookie Hakeem Nicks was voted off the island, at least for now.
Of course, the Giants’ receiver auditions occurred simultaneously with their week-one game against Washington, which they won with relative ease, 23–17. Eli Manning spread the ball around, completing passes to seven Giants (though only Smith caught more than three), and the defense looked to be in something close to midseason form. (Perhaps giving an offensive game ball would be a tough call, but Osi Umenyiora certainly provided the highlight of the day, returning a fumble for a touchdown in his first game back after missing the entire 2008 season.)
The Giants aren’t quite firing on all cylinders yet — the Redskins shut down the their running game, exactly as they’d hoped to do — but that’s not really unusual. It’s only week one, after all, and it’s no secret they have some things to work out as the season goes along. All they needed yesterday was to score enough points to put the game out of Jason Campbell’s reach, and they did. Next week’s a bigger test, though: at Dallas on Sunday night, underneath the world’s largest scoreboard-slash-punt blocker. So as they say in the TV biz, stay tuned.