AT A GLANCE: Similar to last week, the New York Giants slowed after a fast start and lost 28-14 to the Buffalo Bills in their home opener at MetLife Stadium. With the loss, the Giants started 0-2 for the second consecutive year.
UP NEXT: The Giants travel in Week 2 to face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who improved to 1-1 with a 20-14 victory over the Carolina Panthers on Thursday night. Sunday will be the third year in a row and the fourth time in five seasons that the Giants and Bucs meet. The last two games between the teams were decided by a total of five points. Last Nov. 18 in MetLife Stadium, the Giants held a 17-point third-quarter lead before holding on for a 38-35 victory. On Oct. 1, 2017 in Raymond James Stadium, Nick Folk kicked a 34-yard field goal as time expired to give the Bucs a 25-23 victory. That broke the Giants’ five-game winning streak in the series, including a 2007 wild card victory.
WHAT WE LEARNED ABOUT THE OFFENSE:
*The Giants ran right at last year’s second-rank defense to start the game. Pat Shurmur called five consecutive run plays that went for 75 yards, including a 27-yard touchdown by Saquon Barkley. Wide receiver Bennie Fowler, who started in place of Sterling Shepard (concussion), also had a 20-yard carry as the Giants scored on their first offensive series for the second week in a row. Unfortunately for the Giants, the similarities between Weeks 1 and 2 didn’t end there. The offense stalled and didn’t find the end zone again until TJ Jones’ four-yard touchdown catch with 11:56 left in the fourth quarter. The score, which was set up by a nine-yard catch from Cody Latimer on fourth-and-two at the Bills 15, brought the Giants to within seven points of Buffalo.
*Manning started with four incompletions, including a dropped pass by Fowler on third down. He finished 26 of 45 for 250 yards and a touchdown. He was intercepted shortly before halftime by defensive end Trent Murphy on tipped ball by defensive tackle Ed Oliver at the line of scrimmage, and again by Jordan Poyer on a last-ditch throw to the Bills two-yard line with three minutes left in the game.
*Offensive and defensively, third down continued to be a problem for the Giants, who lost the first-half time of possession battle 18:02-11:58. They converted just three of 12 third downs on Sunday and had only one red-zone drive.
*Latimer suffered a concussion on the fourth-down conversion and did not return to the game.
*Barkley rushed 18 times for 107 yards and a touchdown, and caught three passes for 28 yards. It was his ninth 100-yard rushing performance and his 15th game with 100 yards from scrimmage.
WHAT WE LEARNED ABOUT THE DEFENSE:
*The Giants, who did not record a sack (or force a turnover) in Week 1, took down second-year quarterback Josh Allen sacked on the Bills' second play. Markus Golden and Lorenzo Carter combined for the sack as the defense forced a three-and-out on the Bills’ first possession. Their next three drives, however, led to touchdowns.
Allen, who leads all NFL quarterbacks in rushing touchdowns and 10-yard runs since he came into the league in 2018, ran in his 10th career touchdown. Entering Sunday, the Bills were 6-1 when the former seventh overall draft pick had a rushing touchdown, and 0-6 when he did not. Running back Devin Singletary then scored on a 14-yard run, and Isaiah McKenzie found the end zone on a jet sweep from Allen, also 14 yards. The latter was set up by a 51-yard reception from former Cowboys wide receiver Cole Beasley.
*The Bills converted all but one of their five third downs to start the game as they controlled the clock for much of the first half. They were also successful in all four trips to the red zone in the game. The tipping point was a third-and-six play midway through the fourth quarter. Allen scrambled and bought enough time to find an open John Brown for a 17-yard gain. It extended a drive that ended with a one-yard rushing touchdown by Frank Gore to give Buffalo a 28-14 lead with 5:53 to play.
*Fifth-round draft choice Ryan Connelly moved ahead of Tae Davis on the depth chart this week and started opposite Alec Ogletree at inside linebacker. The rookie was a bright spot and flashed at times with five tackles.
WHAT WE LEARNED ABOUT SPECIAL TEAMS:
*Antonio Hamilton made the special teams play of the day in the second quarter. He caught Riley Dixon’s punt before it bounced in the end zone and flung it with two hands over his helmet to Cody Core, who downed it at the two-yard line.
*Jones, who signed back with the team this week after he was released on cut day, had a 60-yard punt return to give the Giants some life before halftime. Two plays later, the Bills intercepted Manning to take a 21-7 lead in the locker room.
*Aldrick Rosas had succeeded on 20 consecutive field goal attempts coming into the game, the longest active streak in the NFL, but the streak ended just before halftime when he missed a 48-yard attempt wide left.
INJURY REPORT: NYG – WR Cody Latimer (concussion).
INACTIVES: NYG – WR Sterling Shepard (concussion), WR Darius Slayton (hamstring), TE Garrett Dickerson (quad), RB Paul Perkins, G Chad Slade, OT Eric Smith, QB Alex Tanney. BUF – CB Taron Johnson (hamstring), WR Andre Roberts (quad), TE Tyler Kroft (foot), S Jaquan Johnson, G Ike Boettger, OT Conor McDermott, OL Ryan Bates.
LINEUP CHANGES: NYG – Bennie Fowler for Shepard at WR. BUF – Lee Smith for Kraft at TE; Siran Neal for Johnson at NCB.