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Hands Up Key to Success

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Not all scouting reports have to be complicated.

Ryan Fitzpatrick is 6-foot-2, and the average height on the Giants defensive line is three inches above that.

That's why defensive coordinator Perry Fewell drilled into his players the importance of getting their hands up against the quick-passing Bills quarterback. The linemen even had a full period of practice dedicated to batting balls down late in the week leading up to the 27-24 victory.

Score one for Fewell.

On Buffalo's last ditch effort – a 4th and 5 play at its own 25 with a minute to play and down by three points – Fitzpatrick dropped back and something in Jason Pierre-Paul's head told him to stick his mitts up. The fully outstretched Pierre-Paul batted the ball down, leaving no chance for a completion, and the Giants offense took over for the victory formation.

"He's a short quarterback, and we're tall guys," Pierre-Paul said. "Coach Perry stressed the issue – you've got to put your hands up. Guys were putting their hands up, and that's what we did. Last one I knocked it down. Finally got one."

Another key to the defensive line on Sunday was not getting frustrated by how quickly Fitzpatrick gets rid of the ball. His quick release can give a pass rusher fits when he gets to the backfield in time but comes away empty-handed.

"It was a challenge because normally we get to the quarterback pretty fast and he holds the ball," said Pierre-Paul, who had one of the Giants' three sacks. "But he was getting rid of the ball pretty quick, and we had to get him off that game plan. And we did. If you hold the ball a couple seconds, we're going to get there and we pressured him and he scrambled a lot today."

The final defensive play somewhat atoned for Pierre-Paul's over-eagerness early in the fourth quarter that cost him an encroachment penalty, giving the Bills a first down in Giants territory. Buffalo finished the drive with a nine-yard touchdown reception by Stevie Johnson, knotting the game at 24-24.

However, with the crowd at its loudest on the Bills' last possession, Pierre-Paul fed off the energy the right way, without penalty, and put the game on ice.

"We needed the crowd," said Pierre-Paul. "It rattled the offense up and made them think. That's what we need, and that's what we got from the crowd. There was energy on the field on defense, and we came out victorious."

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