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Giants defeat Bills 24-10: Observations, Game Balls, Goats

The Giants picked up a huge victory on Sunday, defeating the Bills 24-10 in Buffalo. At 2-2, Big Blue now sits in a three-way tie atop the NFC East. Here’s what stood out from yesterday’s win.

Defensive Showcase

The Bills entered Sunday’s game scoring at least 27 points in each of their first three contests. They were coming off a 41-point beatdown of the Dolphins. A Giants defense that has taken a lot of criticism through its first three games stepped up in a big way on Sunday, holding the Bills to just ten points.

Even with starting defensive linemen Robert Ayers and Markus Kuhn on the shelf, the front seven looked strong. Cullen Jenkins and Nikita Whitlock (yes, the fullback Nikita Whitlock) each collected a sack. The LeSean McCoy-less Bills rushing attack struggled, as the Giants held Buffalo RB Karlos Williams to 40 yards on 18 carries (2.2 YPC), while QB Tyrod Taylor only managed 15 yards on six carries (2.5 YPC). Taylor averaged 5.7 YPC through his first three games.

The secondary, at full strength after getting CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie back, held the Bills’ passing attack relatively in check. Taylor completed 28-of-42 passes for 274 yards and just one touchdown and one interception. His pick came on a highlight reel play by Giants LB Devon Kennard.

Harris Stepped Up

Most viewed Week 4 as Victor Cruz’s likely return, but he aggravated his calf injury last week, and is, once again, out indefinitely.

While Rueben Randle was the one who stepped up big last week, on Sunday it was return man Dwayne Harris. The former Cowboy made the most of his six targets, hauling in five for 51 yards and a touchdown.

Giants WR Dwayne Harris (Photo:

Giants WR Dwayne Harris (Photo:

While Odell Beckham and Randle are the clear Nos. 1 and 2 receivers respectively, Harris has a chance to settle in as the Giants’ No. 3 receiver until Cruz returns. The Giants will certainly hope so, since Cruz’s return is in question, and TE Larry Donnell has been a disappointment as a receiver this year.

Running Back Roulette, Continued

None of the Giants’ running backs have seized a feature role, though Rashad Jennings had a better game than Andre Williams on Sunday.

While Williams led the backfield in carries (11 for 35 yards), Jennings totaled more yards on fewer totes (9 for 38 yards), and on a day where Shane Vereen wasn’t even targeted in the passing game, Jennings caught two balls for 54 yards and a touchdown.

Fourth Quarter Crisis Averted

Giants fans definitely started to have some bad flashbacks in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s game, as the Big Blue offense had seemingly gone dormant, and Buffalo made it a one score game after a Karlos Williams receiving touchdown cut the Giants’ lead to 16-10.

The Giants struggled to move the ball for most of the second half, punting on their first four possessions of the half. Luckily, they responded to the Williams touchdown with a quick scoring drive of their own, culminating in a 51-yard Rashad Jennings touchdown reception.

Still, the Giants offense didn’t look the same in the second half, and there was more questionable play calling as Eli Manning threw his first 2015 interception on 3rd and goal with just over four minutes left in the game. Why the Giants were still throwing the ball up 14 with four minutes left and in easy field goal range that would make it a three-score game is a real mystery.

Game Balls & The Goat

Offensive Game Ball: RB Rashad Jennings

I’ve been one of his biggest critics this year, but he actually played pretty well on Sunday. His 38 rushing yards in the box score aren’t too impressive, but 4.2 YPC is an improvement over what we saw from him earlier this year. Plus, his big catch-and-run touchdown was a key play of the game. He could see more targets if Vereen continues to struggle.

Defensive Game Ball: LB Devon Kennard

Kennard made the play of the day with an impressive, athletic interception of Tyrod Taylor. He added five tackles and two passes defended. He has been one of the more underrated pieces of the Giants defense this season, and while his pass rush and run defense could use some work, he has looked good in coverage through four games.

The Goat: TE Larry Donnell

With Cruz out indefinitely, the Giants could really use Donnell in the passing game. He’s not a great blocker, and is on the team pretty much just to catch passes, but in 2015 he has struggled to replicate the success he had as a rookie. He had five catches on Sunday, but only 38 yards to show for it.

Up Next

The Giants return to MetLife Stadium to host Colin Kaepernick and the struggling 49ers. The game will be aired nationally on NBC’s Sunday Night Football.

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