Oct 162023
Darren Waller, New York Giants (October 15, 2023)

Last play of the game – © USA TODAY Sports

The undermanned and underdog New York Giants put up a good fight, but the Buffalo Bills came from behind in the 4th quarter to defeat them 14-9 on Sunday night at Highmark Stadium in Orchard Park, New York. The Giants’ own comeback effort fell just short. The Giants are now 1-5 on the season.

Tyrod Taylor started at quarterback for the injured Daniel Jones. And an offensive line already missing left tackle Andrew Thomas and center John Michael Schmitz took another hit when back-up left tackle Joshua Ezeudu left the game in the first quarter with a toe injury. Nevertheless, the Giants led 6-0 at halftime despite a serious brain fart by Taylor at the end of the half that cost the Giants almost certain additional points. The Giants also had an opportunity to win the game in the waning seconds but ran out of time and chances at the 1-yard line.

The Giants actually out-gained the Bills in total net yards (317 to 297), net yards rushing (132 to 128), net yards passing (185 to 169), and time of possession (31:24 to 28:36). The Giants also won the turnover battle (2 to 0). However, the most telling stat was the Giants were 0-of-5 in the red zone while the Bills were 2-of-2.

The offense seems to have forgotten how to score touchdowns. The Giants have yet to score an offensive touchdown in the first half of a game this year and have not scored an offensive touchdown in four of their six games. The last time the offense scored a touchdown was against the San Francisco 49ers in Week 3.

Despite each team having six possessions in the first half, the only points came on two field goals by place kicker Graham Gano. The Bills’ first-half drives resulted in three punts, a missed 52-yard field goal, a fumble forced by linebacker Bobby Okereke and recovered by linebacker Micah McFadden, and an interception deflected by Okereke and picked off by McFadden.

The Giants went three-and-out three times, each time punting the ball away. The first field goal drive came on a 12-play, 45-yard possession and the second came on a 9-play, 34-yard possession. Graham kicked field goals of 29 and 43 yards.

However, the big missed opportunity came at the end of the first half. The Giants got the ball back at their own 41-yard line after McFadden’s interception with 2:23 left on the clock before halftime. The Giants reached the 1-yard line with 14 second left, aided by a 9-yard pass interference penalty on the preceding play. With no timeouts left, Taylor mistakenly audibled to a run. Halfback Saquon Barkley was stuffed at the line of scrimmage and time expired. The Giants came away with zero points.

At the break, despite this snafu, the Giants led 6-0.

The entire 3rd quarter was taken up by each team’s first second-half possession. The Giants gained 39 yards and three first downs in just over five minutes, but punted the ball away. The Bills held the ball for almost 10 minutes, driving 89 yards in 17 plays and picking up eight first downs. The drive culminated with Buffalo’s first points of the game, a 3-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Josh Allen on 3rd-and-goal on the first play of the 4th quarter. The Bills now led for the first time, 7-6.

The Giants responded with their own scoring drive, moving the ball 79 yards in nine plays. However, after an incomplete pass on 3rd-and-1 at the 11-yard line, Head Coach Brian Daboll decided to have Gano kick the 29-yard field goal. The Giants regained the lead 9-7.

The Giants’ defense held the high-power Bills’ offense scoreless in the first half. Nevertheless, unfortunately, Buffalo again drove the field for a touchdown on their second possession of the second half. The Bills managed a 12-play, 75-yard drive that ended with a risky 15-yard touchdown pass in traffic. Buffalo was now ahead again, 14-9, with 3:48 left to play.

The Giants gained one first down, but the drive ended with two Taylor deep shots that fell incomplete, the final one being on 4th-and-8 from the Giants 38-yard line. The Bills now had the ball back with 1:45 left to play. Nevertheless, the Bills could not advance the ball more than a yard, and their kicker missed a 53-yard field goal.

The Giants were still alive. They had the ball back at their own 43-yard line with 1:25 left on the clock. The Giants were able to run 13 plays and gain 56 yards, including an 8-yard pass interference penalty on the second-to-last play of the game. This gave the Giants the ball at the 1-yard line with no time on the clock. With one final chance, Taylor threw to tight end Darren Waller in the back of the end zone. Waller was mugged by the defender, but no penalty was called. The game ended with the Bills victorious.

Taylor finished the game 24-of-36 for 200 yards, no touchdowns, and no interceptions. He rushed the ball five times for 24 yards and was sacked three times. His leading receivers were wideout Wan’Dale Robinson (8 catches for 62 yards) and Waller (5 catches for 43 yards). Barkley carried the ball 24 times for 93 yards.

The defense held the previously prolific Bills’ offense to 14 points and less than 300 yards. The two inside linebackers led the stat sheet. Okereke was credited with 11 tackles, two tackles for losses, two pass defenses, and one forced fumble. McFadden had seven tackles, one interception, and one fumble recovery. The Giants had two turnovers but did not sack Josh Allen.

GAME VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS are available on YouTube.

On Saturday, the Giants placed OLB Azeez Ojulari (ankle) on Injured Reserve. To fill his roster spot, the team signed OL Jalen Mayfield from the Practice Squad. Also on Saturday, the Giants activated QB Tommy DeVito and OL Justin Pugh from the Practice Squad.

Inactive for the game were QB Daniel Jones (neck), LT Andrew Thomas (hamstring), OC John Michael Schmitz (shoulder), OT Matt Peart (shoulder), DL D.J. Davidson (knee), S Bobby McCain, and S Gervarrius Owens.

OL Joshua Ezeudu (toe) left the game in the first quarter and did not return.

Transcripts and video clips of post-game media sessions with Head Coach Brian Daboll and the following players are available in The Corner Forum and at Giants.com:

Head Coach Brian Daboll will address the media by conference call on Monday.

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Eric Kennedy

Eric Kennedy is Editor-in-Chief of BigBlueInteractive.com, a publication of Big Blue Interactive, LLC. Follow @BigBlueInteract on Twitter.

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