Arrow Up/Arrow Down: Bills-Giants

September 15, 2019
Categories: 

For the sixth straight time, including a 4-0 preseason, I get to start with the arrows pointing up for the Buffalo Bills after a 28-14 win over the New York Giants and a clean sweep at the Meadowlands, beating both the New York Jets and the Giants in their home stadium.

Let's get to it:

 

ARROW UP:

  • QB - Josh Allen

Allen was dealing in the first half. He was on time and on-target, going 15-for-20, throwing for 203 yards in the first two quarters. He threw a touchdown and ran for one, as well. His second half didn’t go as well, but with his team up two scores for most of it, he only threw the ball 10 times. Allen finished the game 19-for-30 for 253 yards and a touchdown through the air, and added another 21 yards and a touchdown on the ground. He became the first Bills quarterback since Jim Kelly in 1992 to throw for over 200 yards in seven straight games, and the first NFL quarterback since Cam Newton in 2013 to have a rushing and passing touchdown in three straight games.
 

  • RB - Devin Singletary

Once again, “Motor” had big production on limited touches. Singletary finished with 57 yards on just six carries, for an average of 9.5 yards per-run. He also scored his first NFL touchdown on a 14-yard run in the second quarter. Through two weeks, Singletary has 10 carries for 127 yards, averaging 12.7 yards per-carry. He came out of the game in the fourth quarter with a hamstring injury, so that will be something to monitor this coming week.
 

  • Frank Gore when it mattered

Gore’s numbers weren’t great, rushing for a team-high 68 yards on 19 carries, but he got tough yards when they mattered most for the Bills, late in the game, and had to take on a bigger workload after Singletary went out. He also scored his first rushing touchdown since 2017.  
 

  • WR - John Brown

Another strong performance turned in by Brown, who caught seven passes for 72 yards, pushing his two-week total of 195 yards to start his Bills career.
 

  • WR - Cole Beasley

After last week’s inconsistent performance, Beasley turned it right around with four catches for a game-high 83 yards.
 

  • Siran Neal and Dean Marlowe

I put these two together because that’s basically what they were all game -  a tag team. Bills defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier had a great plan for countering how the Giants wanted to use tight end Evan Engram. Marlowe and Neal rotated based on down and distance and whether or not Engram was on the field. The result was holding Engram to six catches for 48 yards. Marlowe finished the game with two tackles, while Neal had five on defense, including one for a loss, but he also played outstanding on special teams, collecting a game-high three tackles there, as well. 
 

  • DT - Harrison Phillips

Phillips was disruptive to the Giants' offense, finishing the game with three tackles, a half-sack, a QB hurry, and two batted passes.  
 

  • LB - Lorenzo Alexander

The 15-year veteran is still covering kicks and punts, and doing it well. Alexander had two special teams tackles to go along with two more on defense, a half-sack, a tackle for loss, a batted pass, and a forced fumble.
 

  • Third down defense

The Giants were only 3-for-12 (25%) for the game on third down.
 

  • Batted passes

The Bills had another five batted passes. That’s 10 in two weeks! 
 

  • P - Corey Bojorquez

For the second week in a row, Bojorquez had an outstanding game punting the ball, booming several kicks that hung in the air for quite a while, including one that went 63 yards!
 

  • No turnovers

After turning the ball over four times last week, the Bills offense didn’t give the ball away at all Sunday.

 

ARROW DOWN:

  • First drive for the defense

The first drive of the game looked nothing like the Bills defense we saw last week, allowing the Giants to go right down the field on them. New York’s first drive covered 75 yards in just five plays, capped off by a 27-yard Saquon Barkley touchdown run. On that drive alone, Barkley ran for 55 of his game-high 107 yards.
 

  • End of first half offense

The Bills had a great opportunity to take a huge lead late in the first half after the Giants missed a field goal. Buffalo started with the ball at their own 38-yard line with 1:49 on the clock and already up 21-7, but they gained only seven yards and went three-and-out.
 

  • RT - Cody Ford

Ford struggled too often in this game. He was beaten cleanly on a speed rush a few times with one resulting in Allen being sacked early in the game. He then had a big 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty when he hit a Giants player after a play was over. He took exception to him pushing Allen late, and that’s not a bad thing to see, but he needed to keep a calmer head in that big situation. It happened on the drive mentioned above and forced the Bills to punt from their own 30 instead of their own 45.  
 

  • Too much pass pressure allowed

The Giants started bringing a bunch of pressure on Allen, especially in the second half, and the Bills' offensive line struggled with it. Overall, New York’s defense was credited with six QB hurries to go along with three sacks. That’s nine times Allen was either taken down or had to hurry a throw because of pressure. Far too many.
 

  • Punt coverage

On the big 63-yard punt referenced in Bojorquez's Arrow Up point, the Bills gave up a huge 60-yard return the other way. Bojorquez basically out-punted the coverage, but a tackle needed to be made and wasn’t, allowing the Giants to start their next drive at the Bills' 33-yard line.
 

  • Third quarter offense

The Bills had a great opportunity to put this game away at the start of the second half. They led 21-7 and were receiving, but they not only couldn’t score, but could hardly move the ball through the whole third quarter. The offense had three drives. Two were three-and-outs and the other was a four-play drive. They netted a total of 17 yards

 

THE BIG PICTURE:

Well, well, well. When the schedule came out and many people believed the Bills had at least an opportunity to win the first two games, conventional wisdom said if they at least go 1-1 that would be nice to come home for their home opener.

But look at this. A 2-0 start, both wins on the road, and now returning home to face an 0-2 Cincinnati Bengals team that got soundly beaten in their own home opener this week.

With the amount of Bills fans who showed up and basically took over MetLife Stadium at the end of the game the first two weeks, I can only imagine what Sunday will be like at New Era Field. It’s going to be wild to say the least. 

Now the expectations have risen. The Bills are close to a touchdown favorite against Cincinnati. People are taking notice around the league. They are starting to get attention and will be getting even more. That brings a different feel to a team that many saw as a nice story, looking to scrap their way to .500 as they rebuild.  

Two games is still a very small sample size and there’s always a danger in making too sweeping of judgments while we’re still in September, so I’ll try not to. But I know this - I like what I see so far.

I like the way Brian Daboll has called the offense. I like the way Josh Allen has thrown the football. I really like the defense in almost every way you can. I like that this team just keeps playing and doesn’t seem to let the highs get too high or the lows get too low.  

We’ve now seen them not only win two games in a row, but do it in much different fashions. First, it was a terrific come-from-behind victory against the Jets, then it was a hold-on-to-the-lead win against the Giants. They handled both well, with just a few hiccups along the way.

Now, can they handle prosperity? Can they handle being the hunted? Can they show that they’re not just some feisty underdog looking to prove they can play, but now put their foot down and beat a team they’re expected to beat at home?

Isn’t that what good teams are supposed to do?

pic.twitter.com/cqvmfgS639

— Sal Capaccio -- (@SalSports) September 15, 2019



Follow me on Twitter @SalSports