The Buffalo Bills looked very good in every aspect of their 21-0 victory over the New York Giants at New Era Field on August 21. The preseason shutout was the Bills’ first since 1996.
Dealing with distractions and several injuries, the Bills dominated the Giants to get their first victory of the preseason. Buffalo totaled 21 first downs and outgained New York 343-166 in total offense. They also nearly doubled the G-Men’s time of possession and won the turnover battle (4-2).
While the Bills (1-1) did a lot of good things, there are still a few things they need to improve to reach the playoffs for the first time since 1999. The rest of the article will look at the good, bad and ugly of their victory in Week 2 of the preseason.
Tyrod Taylor and E.J. Manuel looked very good behind center with each making quality throws. The Bills scored all 21 of their points with Taylor and Manuel leading the offense. The Bills’ top two quarterbacks led the team to three scores on eight possessions, but they had two drives end with a fumble in the end zone and a missed field goal.
After being sacked on the third of the opening series to force a punt, Taylor showed his playmaking ability on the team’s second offensive series. On third-and-8 from Buffalo 37, Taylor, feeling pressure, spun away from Giants’ cornerback Janoris Jenkins and hit tight end Charles Clay in stride for a 59-yard gain to the Giants 4. The Bills failed to score.
On Buffalo’s fourth possession, Taylor led a seven play, 52-yard touchdown drive. The 27-year-old was 3-for-5 for 51 yards during series, including a 13-yard touchdown toss to LeSean McCoy. Overall, Taylor completed 7-of-10 passes for 132 yards.
Manuel had more success than Taylor in moving the ball. The 26-year-old backup led two drives of 10 or more plays, one of those drives resulted in a touchdown and the other ended with a missed field goal. Following a Giants turnover, he opened the Bills’ possession with a 19-yard TD pass to Greg Little and then hooked up with Dezmin Lewis for the two-point play to make it 21-0. Manuel, who also looked good against Indianapolis, finished the day 8-for-13 for 69 yards.
The defense was fantastic, as it was against Indianapolis a week ago.
“Obviously a really good performance,” head coach Rex Ryan told Bills’ Insider Chris Brown. “The effort was great. I’m really happy with the way the ‘D’ played.”
Buffalo’s D permitted the Giants just seven first downs on 15 possessions as they held the Giants to three or fewer plays in 10-of-their -12 offensive possessions. The Bills’ defense, who were on the field for just 47 plays, limited the Giants to 1-of-11 on third downs and forced a total of four turnovers (two fumbles and two interceptions). They also recorded three sacks and permitted New York just one trip into the red zone.
The defense was equally exceptional against the pass and run. Buffalo permitted New York’s three quarterback’s to complete just 8-of-25 passes (32 percent) for 64 yards. The Bills made it difficult for the Giants’quarterbacks all day, recording four quarterback hits and seven pass defenses. The defense allowed three passes over 10 yards and three first downs via the air.
The final rushing stat line for Giants was 19 carries for 102 yards, which is nothing to celebrate for the Bills. However, most of those numbers are a little distorted as Buffalo’s reserve unit allowed backup running back Bobby Rainey to tally 70 yards on two carries. In total, the Bills gave up three rushing first downs and had five tackles for losses.
The Bills’ starting unit was most masterful, holding the Giants to 37 yards in the first half. Buffalo forced two first-half turnovers, both of which led to touchdowns for the Bills. Buffalo’s first unit held the Giants’ starters to 23 net yards on four possessions, the final three of which were three-and-outs.
DT Jerel Worthy, LB Bryson Albright, LB Bryson Albright and DE Jerry Hughes caused the most havoc. CB Corey White, CB Kevon Seymour, LB Lorenzo Alexander, CB Sterling Moore and S Robert Blanton also had solid games.
- LeSean McCoy Giving TD Ball To Kid
McCoy did not have a great game, but he showed why he is so valuable with his pass-catching ability. The 28-year-old had four receptions for 58 yards, which includes an excellent catch for a touchdown — after which, he handed the ball to a young fan in the stands.
- Kroy Biermann
The veteran outside linebacker, who was signed just this week, combined for five tackles (two solo) and a half-sack. The 30-year-old was also credited with a quarterback hit.
- Marcell Dareus To Enter Rehab
Dareus was suspended for four games by the NFL earlier this week for his marijuana use and decided to get help.
- The Running Game.
Buffalo, the No. 1 rushing team last year, totaled just 70 yards on 39 carries against the Giants. The Bills had nine runs for negative yardage.
James Wilder Jr. led the way with 31 yards on 11 carries. Jonathan Williams had the longest run of the day for the Bills (12 yards) and finished with 17 yards on eight attempts. McCoy ended the game with five runs for 0 yards.
- Jerome Felton’s Fumble
The 30-year-old fullback has never crossed the goal line in his six-year career during the regular season. He had a chance to score against the Giants but was stripped of the ball by Landon Collins, as he tried to stretch over for a touchdown after receiving a pass from Taylor. New York’s Damon Harrison recovered the fumble in the end zone.
- Cardale Jones, quarterback
Jones played well during his first preseason game but struggled mightily against the Giants. The rookie played the entire second half, completing just 6-of-12 passes for 83 yards and had one of his poorly thrown balls intercepted.
- Mike Gillislee leaves game, injured
Gillislee battling for a roster spot in a crowded Bills’ backfield, was injured when he was tackled on his first carry of the afternoon. The 25-year-old left the game, following his six-yard gain, to get evaluated for a concussion. He is questionable for the Bills next game against Washington on Friday.
With Karlos Williams being released, Gillislee is competing with Jonathan Williams, Daniel Herron and Wilder Jr. for the team’s last few running back slots behind McCoy and Reggie Bush.
Buffalo had a major problem with penalties last year, being flagged a league-high 168 times for 1249 yards (most in the NFL). While the Bills cut their penalties down against the Giants (seven compared to 11 against Indianapolis) but still made too many mistakes. Buffalo was penalized a total of 73 yards against the Giants.
- Jordan Gay
Gay, known as a kickoff specialist, was disastrous with his field goal and extra point attempts. Gay clanked one-of-his-two extra points off the right uprights and missed a 37-yard try – his only attempt.
[Photo by Gary Wiepert/AP Photo]