Mistakes and penalties plague Giants in 21-0 loss

Posted Aug 20, 2016

The Giants were shut out by the Bills in the team's second preseason matchup of 2016:

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. – When your best and brightest performer is the punter, you didn’t play a very good game.

So it was for the Giants in their second preseason outing.

Stymied by an ineffective, mistake-plagued and penalty-prone offense, the Giants fell to the Buffalo Bills on Saturday, 21-0, in newly-renamed New Era Field. The Giants dropped to 0-2 this preseason.

For the second week in a row, the Giants committed four turnovers. They added 10 penalties. In their four series, Eli Manning and the starting offense netted 23 yards.


“The first-string offense wasn’t very good, to put it politely,” coach Ben McAdoo said. “In the first half, we had a lot of free runners at the point of attack, and they took it to us.”
In 15 possessions, the team totaled 166 yards - 67 of them on a Bobby Rainey run in the fourth quarter. On that series, the Giants advanced to the Bills’ 10-yard line, but failed to score when Tom Obarski’s 27-yard field goal attempt sailed wide left. The Giants owned the ball for just one-third of the game (20:15), totaled just seven first downs, and were 1-for-11 on third down conversion attempts.

Punter Brad Wing had a busy day and distinguished himself with a 44.8-yard net average, a long kick of 57 yards, and punts that forced Buffalo to take possession at their five- and the six-yard lines in the second half. But McAdoo certainly doesn’t want to see his punter trot onto the field eight times in a game.
“What we practice needs to show up on game days, and it hasn’t,” McAdoo said. “We’ve been sloppy with penalties, haven’t been taking care of the ball very well, and we’ve had opportunities in practice to develop our physicality and from an offensive perspective, it wasn’t there tonight.”

Asked if he took any positives from the offense, McAdoo responded with a quick, “no.”

Manning, who did not play in the opener last week vs. Miami, completed four of nine passes for 44 yards, including a 22-yarder to Odell Beckham Jr. that was the longest of the Giants’ eight – yes, eight – completions (in 25 attempts).

“You can’t freak out,” Manning said, “but you have to understand there has to be some urgency, and we have to do some things better than what we did today.

“I know everyone is disappointed,” running back Shane Vereen said. “But we know we can play better. We know we will play better. We will just get back to the drawing board.”

After a scoreless first quarter, the Bills took a 7-0 lead on Tyrod Taylor’s 13-yard touchdown pass to LeSean McCoy with 12:52 remaining in the second quarter.


Manning and the starters remained in the game for the next series – “They played longer into the game because they didn’t move the ball,” McAdoo said – but still went three-and-out when Manning’s pass for Roger Lewis fell incomplete.

When the Giants got the ball back less than two minutes later, Ryan Nassib was the quarterback. On his very first snap, running back Andre Williams was hit by linebacker Zach Brown and fumbled. Rookie Bryson Albright recovered the ball at the Giants’ 49.

“It looked like Andre had his eyes up on the linebacker, but we have to secure the ball there,” McAdoo said.

Buffalo went the distance in 10 plays and 5:45, and Jonathan Williams extended the lead when he dove over the pile for a one-yard touchdown. Jordan Guy’s extra point attempt hit the right upright.

Later in the quarter, Donte Deayon broke up an EJ Manuel pass to Greg Little in the end zone. That forced Gay to try a 37-yard field goal attempt – which found the same upright. But the Bills still managed to score a touchdown just 13 seconds later. That was the result of a second-down play on which Nassib dropped back to pass and got steamrolled by cornerback Sterling Moore and fumbled, a turnover that was secured by Buffalo’s Adolphus Washington at the Giants’ 19. McAdoo said rookie running back Paul Perkins missed a “protection adjustment.” On the next snap, Little ran the same pattern as the previous possession, got a step on Deayon, and caught Manuel’s pass for a touchdown. The Giants’ forgettable half ended when Dezmin Lewis caught another Manuel throw for a 2-point conversion.

In 13 possessions in the second half – not including a Bills kneeldown to end the game – the teams combined for nine punts, three interceptions, and a missed field goal attempt.

The Giants return to action Saturday as the visiting team against the Jets.

“I don’t think I need to say much to the players,” McAdoo said. “I think they have a lot of pride, and I believe they’ll bounce back.”

Game Notes:

•  The Giants were shut out in a preseason game for the first time since a 14-0 loss at New England on Aug. 11, 2001.

•  The Giants’ backup quarterbacks struggled badly. Nassib misfired on his first seven passes and finished with two completions in 12 attempts for 25 yards. Logan Thomas played the final two series – and threw two interceptions.

•  Tight end Will Tye led the Giants with two catches. Six other receivers had one apiece.
•  Safety Landon Collins (six solos) and linebacker Ishaq Williams (three) led the Giants with seven total tackles apiece.

•  Safety Cooper Taylor intercepted a pass by rookie quarterback Cardale Jones in the fourth quarter, just prior to Rainey’s long run.

•  Obarksi was supposed to get a “golden opportunity” to handle the kicking duties, but his only appearance was when he missed the 27-yard field goal try.

•  The following Giants did not make the trip here due to injuries: wide receiver Geremy Davis (hamstring), tight end Will Johnson (stinger), cornerback Leon McFadden (bruised lower leg), defensive end Kerry Wynn (groin), and linebacker J.T. Thomas III (PUP, hamstring).

In addition, three players were here but did not play: wide receiver Victor Cruz (groin), guard Justin Pugh (shoulder), and cornerback Eli Apple (strained leg muscle). Cruz warmed up in full uniform and hopes to practice Monday (the players are off Sunday).

Second-year pro Bobby Hart started for Pugh at left guard. He moved to right tackle when the second O-line came on.

•  Kelvin Sheppard started at middle linebacker and alternated series for most of the first half with Jasper Brinkley.

•  Safety Mykkele Thompson suffered a concussion when his helmet collided with Sheppard’s in the first half. Wide receiver/return specialist Dwayne Harris left the game with a knee issue. X-rays were negative.

•  The game, like all others in this second week of the preseason, was played with an experimental eighth official (though only seven were listed on the game’s official flip card). Scott Edwards – the middle judge - lined up 18-20 yards downfield, opposite the back judge, and focused on action around the center and guards. He also looked for offensive or defensive holding beyond the line of scrimmage.

•   McAdoo threw his red challenge flag for the first time as a head coach on the opening play of the second quarter – and won his challenge. On second-and-eight from the 50, Taylor threw down the right sideline for Reggie Bush, who had his hands on the ball and then lost it when linebacker Jonathan Casillas knocked it to the ground. The play gained 32 yards, but McAdoo challenged the call, claiming Bush did not have possession of the ball long enough for it to be a catch. After review, referee Jeff Triplette overturned the call on the field and ruled it an incomplete pass. But the Bills converted the third-and-eight play when Taylor threw a 23-yard pass to McCoy, a precursor to their touchdown hookup four plays later.
•  The Giants’ game captains were Manning, Weston Richburg, Johnathan Hankins, Casillas, Mark Herzlich and Mykkele Thompson.