By Paul Dottino
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The Giants are locked in a three-way tie for first place in the NFC East after evening their record at 2-2 with a 24-10 road victory over the Buffalo Bills.
No, it was not a pretty win, particularly on offense. The Giants committed 11 penalties and the Bills fought back to make it a six-point game with more than nine minutes to play.
But the Giants are back to square one. The division is up for grabs and it’s a 12-game season.
“We’re 2-2 instead of 0-2, so we’ve got some confidence going,” said defensive lineman Cullen Jenkins. “We’re finally starting to see some benefits from the hard work.
“The first two weeks we were working hard and we were doing good things, but we weren’t able to reap any rewards from it because we were giving the games away at the end. Now we’re getting wins, so it’s just helping confidence-wise, mentally. It’s showing us the right way to do it, and (we need to) keep improving that way.”
Offense — RB Rashad Jennings:
This is a classic case of WHEN you make the big play, rather than how many you put up at the end of the game. Jennings’ 51-yard catch-and-run touchdown off a short pass to the left sideline sealed the game at 24-10 with 7:42 remaining. The offense had been sluggish, having been held scoreless since 10:42 left in the first half, and the Bills’ crowd was feeding their team’s momentum.
But the defense got caught on a blitz and Jennings bolted down the sideline. He juked LB Nigel Bradham, ran away from LB Preston Brown and then delivered a nasty stiff-arm to S Bacarri Rambo to clear his path to the end zone.
Defense — DE Kerry Wynn:
He has quietly become one of the team’s best defensive players, having developed into a solid all-around lineman. He led the team with eight tackles, including two for losses. But it was his critical stop during a goal-line stand early in the fourth quarter that really opened some eyes.READ MORE: Former NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio Says He Will Not Run For Governor
Trailing 16-3 with 12:45 left, Bills QB Tyrod Taylor sprinted right out of the shotgun on third-and-goal from the Giants’ 2. He appeared to have a free lane to the right corner. But Wynn — as if he was shot out of a cannon — fired to the outside and smacked Taylor out of bounds at the 1. On fourth down, LB J.T. Thomas drilled RB Karlos Williams for a 1-yard loss on a short pass, and the Giants took over.
Special Teams — P Brad Wing:
Although it’s true that he didn’t boom anything — his longest punt was 55 yards — he had a 44.4 gross on eight punts, and dropped four inside the 20. And kudos to the coverage teams. Mark Herzlich, Jayron Hosley, Jonathan Casillas Craig Dahl, and Orleans Darkwa each were in on multiple special-teams tackles.
Offense — RG Geoff Schwartz:
He was flagged as an ineligible receiver downfield, which nullified a 28-yard pass play to Shane Vereen that would have put the Giants on the Buffalo 25 as they tried to build on a 16-3 lead with 11 minutes left in the third quarter.
The pass play could have provided the necessary spark for a unit that was in a bad slump and needed to put away the game.
Defense — The Back Seven:
This one is complicated, but somehow TE Charles Clay (nine catches for 111 yards) got wide open several times while working against the defense. Sometimes, he found gaping holes against a zone; other times, the Giants had a defender who got caught up and lost him in the route. So rather than single out any of them, we’ll just force the back seven to run gassers so they pay more attention to the tight end next week.
Special Teams — Josh Brown:
Brown hit the right upright on a 38-yard extra point that left the Giants on top, 9-3, with a minute left in the first quarter. He was forced to move back due to a false-start penalty against Schwartz.MORE NEWS: Candlelight Vigil Tonight For Michelle Go, Woman Pushed In Front Of Train At Times Square Subway Station
Brown also was inconsistent on his kickoffs. He had a 45-yard KO after an early Giants field goal and a 59-yard KO after their second-quarter touchdown, but put his other three kickoffs into the end zone.