The Giants were able to avoid any effects of Hurricane Joaquin, while also averting any real threat from the Buffalo Bills in a convincing 24-10 win.
Led by a defense that figured out a way to slow down the multi-faceted Bills offense, the Giants (2-2) found a way to get to .500 and remain in the NFC East race.
Linebacker Devon Kennard (four tackles, a pass defended, and an interception) and Co. did what no team was able to do to date, and that was slow down a Buffalo rushing attack that came into the contest averaging a league-best 153 yards per game. The Bills (2-2) were undermanned on offense, sans running back LeSean McCoy and wideout Sammy Watkins, but that doesn’t take away from Big Blue’s performance – a defense that had unknowns like defensive end Kerry Wynn (team-high eight tackles) and fullback/defensive tackle Nikita Whitlock (three tackles and a sack) dominate the line of scrimmage.
Big Blue was never really threatened as they handled any late flurries by a Bills team that repeatedly damaged their own cause with self-inflicted wounds.
Metro focused on some of the key storylines from Sunday’s action.
What we saw:
1. Efficient Eli
Giants quarterback Eli Manning has quietly put together a stellar season, as he’s been as good as any quarterback in the league. Manning was one again stealth, as he went 20-of-35 for 212 yards, three touchdowns, and an interception – his first pick of the season. He connected with five different receivers and always looked poised in the face of a manic Bills pass rush that only notched one sack – and that was from a safety blitz. Manning’s poise was on full display when he coolly connected with Rashad Jennings on a hot-read swing pass off a Bills blitz. Jennings then raced 51 yards for the game-icing touchdown, with 7:42 remaining in the fourth.
2. Taking advantage
Penalties and miscues derailed the Bills, as they racked up 17 penalties for 135 yards – and many of those were of the 15-yard variety. A holding penalty ruined a tremendous improvisational 31-yard touchdown run by quarterback Tyrod Taylor, and a chop-block with 52 seconds remaining nullified a Charles Clay touchdown, that would’ve brought the Bills within seven points. Kicker Dan Carpenter also had a hand in matters when he hooked a 30-yard field goal that would’ve nicely capped a 13-play, 78-yard drive, and with the Bills still within striking distance. Carpenter’s gaffe was followed by a great stand by the Giants’ defense, as they stymied Buffalo on fourth-and-goal from the 2-yard line. And not to be outdone, wideout Robert Woods was stripped by cornerback Prince Amukamara and safety Landon Collins, minutes later, essentially ending Buffalo’s threat. The Bills just couldn’t get out of their own way all afternoon, as it was the little things that stymied them – most due to their own ills, but also due to an opportunistic Giants squad.
3. Running in place
The Bills came into the contest as the top-rated rushing attack, but it was a Giants’ defense that stood strong. Sure, there was no McCoy in the game, but he wasn’t even the best running back on the roster this year, as rookie Karlos Williams currently holds that acclaim. Williams was stymied for most of the game Sunday, however, tallying just 40 yards on 18 carries. He did score a touchdown for the fourth-straight game, but that came through the air on a 23-yard reception. Buffalo’s rushing attack was otherwise non-existent.
Big Blue notes:
- Manning passed Joe Montana for 13th place on the all-time passing yards list, while wideout Odell Beckham Jr. set the record for the most receiving yards during a player’s first 16 career games.
- The Giants entered the game allowing a league-worst 14.3 points per game in the fourth quarter, mainly on the strength of two blown double-digit leads in the final stanza during its first two games, but were stout this time in yielding just seven points.
- Not all was rosy for Big Blue, as they still had lapses in focus. Clock management was still an issue for the Manning and Co., as he was flagged for a delay of game penalty twice – with a third averted due to a last-second timeout.