The Giants' 20-17 preseason loss Friday to the Chicago Bears marked the end of an important week in the career of rookie running back David Wilson.

The former ACC Player of the Year began practicing with the first-team offense on Monday -- something he admitted made him nervous -- and by Friday he was making the start behind quarterback Eli Manning and finishing with 49 yards on five carries.

“This was the first game with the starters,” Wilson said, who got the nod in place of injured starter Ahmad Bradshaw (hand). “I hadn’t gone against a starting defense in the NFL until tonight, and I did pretty well.”

If Wilson had any remaining nerves, they appeared to evaporate by the second offensive possession. The first-round pick gained 64 yards on runs and receptions on the drive, including a 13-yard run, a 15-yard run and a 29-yard catch that was punctuated by a 12-yard penalty against the Bears for a late hit.

And when coach Tom Coughlin replaced Wilson with Andre Brown at the end of the drive, the offense suddenly sputtered and the Giants were forced to settle for a Lawrence Tynes field goal.

“Those were three long plays,” Wilson said. “Gave me a little breather. I definitely wanted to get back in.”

Of course, no rookie can have a perfect performance in Coughlin’s eyes.

Wilson still needs to develop as a blocker before he can be trusted with Manning in the backfield.

“He may not have seemed overwhelmed,” Coughlin said. “All young people have trouble with protections. Just the knowledge of how to get to the person you’re responsible for, and that took place, so he’s battled with that and he still is. He has some playmaking ability, that was shown tonight, and that’s something we certainly can use."

Da’Rel Scott blocks a punt: After dealing with leg injuries throughout camp, Scott was beginning to think there wasn’t room for him on the Giants’ 53-man roster.

“I’ve been stressed out, just my situation with camp, getting hurt,” Scott told “It was a frustrating couple of weeks. I couldn’t do nothing. I couldn’t practice.”

That’s why the second-year running back was so relieved to block a punt on Friday -- his first block of any kind at any level.

"It came at a great time,” he said. “It was definitely a relief.”

Scott had five carries for 16 yards -- including one 15-yard run -- a 12-yard reception and a 28-yard kick return.

Ramses Barden makes a statement: Perhaps no one did as much for himself on Friday as Barden, who needed a big game to ensure his spot on the 53-man roster.

The fourth-year wideout made three difficult catches, registering 46 yards and his first ever NFL touchdown. The scoring play was particularly impressive because Barden did a good job using his 6-5 frame to shield Bears cornerback Charles Tillman from the ball on the in route.

Perhaps his best play was a 22-yard leaping reception over the middle, which was made even more impressive by the fact that Tillman was dangling off of his side.

And when Barden wasn’t catching footballs, he was contributing in other ways.

He saw action on kickoff coverage, tried to block a punt and drew a pass-interference penalty on Tillman that set up a one-yard touchdown run for Brown.

“I feel like I showed some things that were highlights of the different elements and different dimensions I bring to the team offensively, special teams,” Barden said.

Barden was reluctantly happy that Scott blocked a punt because that remains a dream of his.

“I was talking to Da’Rel earlier, ‘I’m so happy you got that punt block. I’m just mad you got one before I did,’” Barden said. “I felt it coming. I knew somebody was going to get it. I thought it was going to be me.”

Mathias Kiwanuka injures groin: The first half ended on a sour note, as Kiwanuka was helped off the field because of a groin strain.

Kiwanuka was seen laughing on the sideline in the second half, so it didn’t appear to be too serious. Plus, he has until Sept. 5 to recover for the season-opener against the Dallas Cowboys.

David Douglas might have taken Jerrel Jernigan's job: It won’t show in the box score, but Douglas had two 36-yard plays overturned by holding penalties. The first was a punt return that was undone by a pair of holding penalties -- one by safety Will Hill and another by Barden (which was declined) -- while the second was a downfield catch that was ruined by a holding penalty on guard Mitch Petrus.

Douglas also had a 28-yard kick return, which is significant because that was seemingly the only role he had yet to take from Jernigan, who is in his second season.

Jernigan began the preseason as a punt returner, kick returner and slot receiver, but he muffed a punt in the first preseason game and was only targeted once on Saturday.

Manning good, David Carr not so much: Manning had his best performance of the preseason, completing 17 of 21 passes for 148 yards and a touchdown.

Carr came into the game in the second half but didn’t fair nearly as well. Playing behind a struggling backup offensive line, Carr completed just 7 of 16 passes for 76 yards and was picked off once and sacked for an eight-yard loss.

Follow the Giants and Alex Raskin @CBSSportsNFLNYG and @AlexRaskinNYC.