Saquon Barkley of the Giants runs the ball upfield in the first...

Saquon Barkley of the Giants runs the ball upfield in the first quarter of a game against the Bills on Sunday. Credit: Getty Images/Timothy T Ludwig


The Giants completed a third straight game without an offensive touchdown, even though they twice had the ball at the Bills’ 1-yard line, coming away with zero points in each instance. Saquon Barkley looked rusty and said he felt that way, too, and it wasn’t until he managed two long runs in the fourth quarter for a combined 53 of his 93 rushing yards that he looked comfortable (he had 40 yards on the other 22 carries). A bad penalty on Evan Neal for being illegally downfield negated what would have been a signature 43-yard catch by Jalin Hyatt in the second quarter. Backup QB Tyrod Taylor did not have any turnovers and was sacked just three times.


For most of the game, the Giants kept Josh Allen from playing like Josh Allen. Eventually they allowed two touchdowns, one on a cutely designed play that had Deonte Harty in motion, then swinging out for a 3-yard catch, and the second on a vintage Allen play in which he dodged up, back and around the pocket before firing a dart to a seemingly well-covered Quintin Morris for the winning points. Bobby Okereke was all over the field and finished with 11 tackles plus two passes defensed, one tipped to Micah McFadden for an interception. The Giants put pressure on Allen at times but could not sack him and had only one recorded quarterback hit. Holding Buffalo to 297 net yards and 6-for-12 on third downs is progress for a group that seems to be improving weekly.


Graham Gano was 3-for-3 on field goals to account for all of the team’s points, including a long of 43. It’s not certain how much credit the Giants should get for it, but the Bills missed both of their field-goal attempts with Tyler Bass going wide right (Super Bowl XXV anyone?) from 52 and 53 yards. There was a new wrinkle in the return game with Parris Campbell, who hardly played on offense, returning a kickoff. He had a nice run for 27 yards in the fourth quarter but it was negated by a holding penalty against Cam Brown.


Whether or not it was communicated (Brian Daboll says it was), it’s inexcusable for the first half to end the way it did with time expiring after a run with no timeouts left. That lack of awareness falls on the quarterback who changed the play, but ultimately it’s the head coach who has to make triple-sure it doesn’t happen the way it played out. Wink Martindale’s defense was schematically up to the task of containing the Bills’ high-scoring offense for most of the night.

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