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Cardiac Giants Knock Off Buffalo, 27-24











Nothing has come easy for the New York Giants in 2011.  The injuries have piled up on both sides of the ball, every game has been decided late in the fourth quarter, but despite the adversity the NYG are 4-2 and in first place of the NFC East after Sunday’s win against Buffalo, 27-24.

The game was a clash of the titans between a Buffalo offense that only allowed 3 sacks through the first five weeks and had a 75% success rate in the red zone, and a New York defense that led the league in sacks and had come up with big red zone stops all year.

The Giants defensive line won the battle at the line of scrimmage and put consistent pressure on Buffalo QB Ryan Fitzpatrick all day including three sacks.  The sack numbers potentially could have been higher, but defensive coordinator Perry Fewell chose to bring only a three-man pass rush on most third downs to counter the Bills short passing game with a zone defense.

New York needed some time to adjust to Buffalo’s offensive style and let up two big touchdown plays in the first quarter; an 80 yard run by RB Fred Jackson and a 60 yard catch and run by WR Namaan Roosevelt.

The Giants offense responded with three long scoring drives in the first half.  Two of the drives ended in one yard touchdown runs by halfback Ahmad Bradshaw and one ended in a Lawrence Tynes field goal.  QB Eli Manning had an efficient afternoon distributing the ball effectively to receivers Hakeem Nicks and Mario Manningham, and tight end Jake Ballard who is developing into a real weapon in the passing game.

Buffalo added a field goal at the end of the first half to tie the game, 17-17.  New York had a few seconds to answer before halftime, but decided to run out the clock after Manning missed Victor Cruz on a deep pass attempt.

Buffalo opened the half moving the ball, but the NYG got bailed out when pass interference was not called on rookie linebacker Jacquain Williams on a pivotal third down.

The Giants responded to the lucky break with another long TD drive.  Manning was able to move the chains through the air before hitting Manningham for what appeared to be a touchdown on a play-action fake.  The call was reversed though and the ball was placed on the one yard line which set up a leaping Bradshaw touchdown, his third of the day.

The Giants defense continued to make adjustments and finally came up with a big play in the third quarter when Corey Webster grabbed an interception.  Webster was in single coverage with Stevie Johnson down the sideline and made an impressive one handed grab on an underthrown ball which he then returned for 25 yards. 

New York began to move the chains with some momentum from the turnover, but a dropped bomb by Mario Manningham in the end zone stalled the drive.  Buffalo’s Alex Carrington then blocked a 51 yard field goal attempt from Tynes as the NYG could not capitalize on the interception.

Buffalo responded with a long drive of their own, including a Fitzpatrick quarterback sneak to convert a fourth and one and a Giants encroachment on a third down to give the Bills a first.  Fitzpatrick locked in on Johnson once the Bills entered Giants territory and hit him for a nine yard score on the Bills’ only red zone possession of the day.

The score tied the game once again, 24-24, and a quick Giants three and out gave the ball back to Buffalo with a chance to take the lead.  Fitzpatrick led the Bills into Giants territory once again and decided to go back to Johnson for a deep ball, but it was underthrown and intercepted by Webster once again.

The Giants came right out of the turnover with two huge Bradshaw runs of 11 and 30 yards.  Manning then chose to force the ball to his big receiver Nicks and drew two defensive pass interference penalties on Bills cornerback Drayton Florence.  New York moved the ball inside the ten yard line and killed some valuable time off the clock before Tynes gave them the lead, 27-24, with 1:32 remaining on the clock.

On the ensuing possession the Bills were immediately called for a false start penalty and were faced with moving the ball 85 yards.  On first down Giants corner Aaron Ross broke up a pass; Fitzpatrick then hit Jackson on a screen for 10 yards, but Antrel Rolle broke up a pass intended for Roosevelt on third.  Buffalo was down to their last glimmer of hope on fourth down, but Jason Pierre-Paul batted Fitzpatrick’s pass down at the line of scrimmage and Manning took a few kneel downs to end the game.

The Giants continued their streak of playing closely contested games, and for the fourth time this season they were able to pull it out at the end.  The game ball should have been given to Webster who single handedly saved the game for New York with his big interceptions and overall great coverage on the dangerous Johnson.  Bradshaw also came up huge with three touchdowns and 104 yards in the absence of his backfield partner Brandon Jacobs.  Most importantly the Giants did not give up any turnovers to a very opportunistic Buffalo defense.

New York will hope to get Jacobs, guard Chris Snee, and defensive captain Justin Tuck back in two weeks at home versus Miami.  The Giants pass rush has been just fine without Tuck (Pierre-Paul, Osi Umenyoria, and Mathias Kiwanuka all had sacks against the Bills), but the Giants are sorely missing their leader’s presence in run defense.  New York will head into their bye week in first place of the NFC East and will try to emerge healthier than they have been all season.







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Nice job. Keep up the good work and analysis.

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