Here’s what I saw on the coach’s tape from the Giants’ loss to the Bills:
*The Giants allowed 21 points and 260 yards of offense to Buffalo in the first half. The Bills scored touchdowns on all three of their red zone appearances and converted four of their six third down opportunities. The pass defense was the main culprit, allowing Josh Allen to complete 15 of 20 passes for 210 yards.
*After forcing a three and out on the Bills’ first drive thanks to a second down sack from Markus Golden and Lorenzo Carter, the defense allowed touchdowns on the next three drives of 75, 70 and 98 yards. The big play on the first touchdown drive was a deep throw to wide receiver Isaiah McKenzie, who got behind the defense on a play action pass. There was only one third down conversion on the drive, a manageable third-and-four.
*The Bills had three third down conversions on their second touchdown drive, including two of 10 yards. On the first, DeAndre Baker stumbled out of his break while covering John Brown, and on the second to Cole Beasley, Baker played too soft beyond the first down marker on an out route. The Bills did a good job sealing the edge on Oshane Ximines and getting two offensive linemen up to the second level on Giants defensive backs to free up running back Devin Singletary on his 14-yard touchdown run to seal the drive.
*The Bills’ third touchdown drive was the most decisive of the three. After getting pinned at the two-yard line, it took them only seven plays to travel 98 yards for the touchdown. The big play was a 51-yard throw to Cole Beasley, who got open down the right sideline. Baker was in coverage in what looked like Cover 3 on that side of the field, but left Beasley open to move towards a player running down the seam. The touchdown on that drive was the product of an excellent block by Dawson Knox on Jabrill Peppers that gave McKenzie a run for the end zone.
*The Giants’ defense played better in the second half, forcing three punts on consecutive possessions, thanks to a pair of sacks from Olsen Pierre and another split between Golden and Ximines. With 11:56 remaining, the Giants scored to cut the deficit to 21-14, but the defense couldn’t get the offense the ball back with a chance to tie the game. The Bills went 75 yards on 13 plays for a touchdown.
*After a Dawson Knox’s illegal blindside block made it second-and-nine, Janoris Jenkins committed an defensive holding penalty away from the play to give the Bills a first down instead of facing third-and-nine. With 8:23 remaining in the game, the Bills were in a third-and-six and the Giants created pressure on a Golden twist with B.J. Hill, but Allen juked Hill, got outside and hit John Brown for a 17-yard gain. The Giants got a stop on a third-and goal-from the three with pressure up the middle and pursuit from Markus Golden. But on the chip shot field goal attempt, Dexter Lawrence contacted the snapper, which gave the Bills an automatic first down. They scored two plays later, which all but sealed the win.
*The Giants generated three sacks in the game, along with two quarterback hits and 10 hurries. Their pass rush was more effective than in Week 1, but Josh Allen’s mobility made it difficult for them to get home.
*Offensively, the Giants continued to move the ball, but they did not put enough points on the board. They gained 370 yards against the Bills, a very good defense. The reason they are not scoring enough points is because of their failures situationally. The Giant were only 3 of 12 on third downs, and make just one trip into the red zone.
*The most consequential plays for the Giants offense came at the end of the first half. They went on a five minute, 57-yard drive and came away with no points when Bennie Fowler couldn’t hold onto a missile from Eli Manning in the cover two hole between the cornerbacks and safeties. Mycah Hyde came over from his safety position and put a big hit on Fowler and jarred the ball loose. Aldrick Rosas then missed on a 48-yard field goal try.
*On the Giants’ next possession, the offense was set up at the Bills 33-yard line by a TJ Jones 60-yard punt return. After a Manning 12-yard completion to Fowler, Ed Oliver deflected a pass at the line of scrimmage that went right to Trent Murphy, who made a tough catch for the interception. Not coming away with any points on those two possessions was probably the difference between winning and losing the game. When you play a good defense, you have to take advantage of all the opportunities given to you throughout the game, and Manning and the offense failed to do that.
*The Giants’ issues on third down are directly related to the distance required for a first down. Their three converted third downs came on plays from 4, 1 and 6 yards. Their failures came on third downs of 10, 9, 9, 9, 12, 3, 2, 10 and 7 yards. It reflected the improved job the Bills did on Saquon Barkley on early downs after the Giants’ initial drive. The Bills had eight men in the box for much of the game, including Barkley’s first drive when he ran for 6, 14, 8 and 27 yards. Three of his next four carries went for only one yard each, and he only gained 14 yards on five carries for the remainder of the half. In the second half, he ran nine times for 38 yards.
*The Bills were going to make the Giants beat them through the air with their depleted wide receiver corps. Without Sterling Shepard and Golden Tate, the Giants receivers had trouble separating down the field. Buffalo gave a lot of attention to Evan Engram, preventing him from controlling the game as a receiver. There were a couple of opportunities to hit deep plays in the second half, but the Bills pass rush started to apply pressure. Manning had to fire one early and off his back foot to Cody Latimer on a double move, and he couldn’t get one off to Barkley who was split out wide and running a fly pattern. Manning’s only true miss to an open receiver on a throw from a clean pocket came on the Giants’ second drive on a throw to Engram over the middle that sailed high. The Bills defensive line did a fine job all game knocking down passes at the line of scrimmage.
*According to Pro Football Focus, the Giants ran 39 of their 66 plays out of 11 personnel, with 46 coming out of shotgun. Nine of their 46 pass plays came off play action.