The Bills had a chance for a last-minute scoring drive to overcome a field goal deficit with 1:35 remaining and a timeout. But Buffalo's offense could not string enough plays together and a 4th-and-5 at their own 25 was batted down allowing the Giants to pull out a 27-24 victory at MetLife Stadium.
"We gave up too many bigger plays I felt like whether it was clutch situations or whether it was just down the field big plays, and you can't do that," said head coach Chan Gailey. "They had some penalties that hurt us on some of those drives and you can't do that either. We had chances to win the ball game and we didn't and we had been doing that, but we didn't do it (Sunday)."
For the first time Buffalo was beaten in the turnover category and it proved costly. Ryan Fitzpatrick threw a pair of second half interceptions and the Bills defense did not record a takeaway of their own for the first time this season, and it was directly tied to the difference on the scoreboard as the Giants got a field goal off of Buffalo's two turnovers.
"I didn't get the job done," said Ryan Fitzpatrick, who completed 70 percent of his passes for 244 yards with a pair of touchdowns and two INTs. "The two interceptions I threw, I couldn't have asked for a better coverage, couldn't have asked for a better play, couldn't have asked for a better route. They were both the exact same thing where it was basically Stevie on a go route and I'd like to give credit to Corey Webster, he made plays on both of them. I feel like Stevie beat them and I feel like I underthrew both of them."
Both of Fitzpatrick's turnovers came on go routes by Stevie Johnson in one-on-one coverage. The first came on a third quarter possession and the pass was underthrown allowing Giants cornerback Corey Webster to run underneath it for the interception. The second came with four minutes remaining in a tie game (24-24). It was the same play and again Fitzpatrick's pass was too far inside allowing Webster to make a play on the ball.
"We had a chance to Stevie on a couple and missed them," said Gailey. "He won, but we've just got to get the ball on him, down the field to him. That's the bottom line. They made their long passes and we didn't make our long passes."
The Giants got on the board first in the game. Eli Manning completed passes of 17 and 24 yards to Ahmad Bradshaw and Jake Ballard on a nine-play 69-yard drive to set up first-and-goal at the Bills one-yard line. Bradshaw then took it in from a yard out for an early 7-0 advantage.
Buffalo needed only one play from scrimmage to answer as Fred Jackson took a fullback trap play up the middle 80 yards as he outraced the Giants secondary to the end zone to tie the score (7-7) with 5:20 left in the first quarter.
"Our offensive line did a great job I got on a safety untouched," said Jackson, who finished with 168 yards from scrimmage including 121 on the ground. "They did a great job sorting things out. We renamed the linebackers. They did a great job getting a hat on a hat and I was one-on-one with the safety and make him miss and it was pay dirt from there."
After forcing the Giants three-and-out on the ensuing possession, Buffalo again used a big play to put another touchdown on the board. Facing a 3rd-and-6 at their own 40-yard line, Naaman Roosevelt ran a short stop route and was wide open. After Fitzpatrick delivered the ball Roosevelt cut across the field and outran New York's defense to the end zone for a 60-yard pass play and a 14-7 lead late in the first quarter.
"Naaman just being a smart player ran a route where they weren't," said Fitzpatrick. "They showed pressure and ran out (into coverage), but Naaman found a hole and I've got a lot of trust in him, threw it to him and he did the rest on the run."
The Giants had a chance to even the score after New York was handed a 1st-and-goal opportunity at the Bills eight-yard line after a pass interference call. But good coverage by Buffalo's secondary on first and third down forced a pair of incomplete passes and the run defense held Bradshaw to a one-yard carry on 2nd-and-goal. So New York had to take a 26-yard field goal from Lawrence Tynes to make it 14-10.
New York would then re-take the lead when back-to-back plays of 22 and 60 yards to Ballard and Hakeem Nicks set up a 1st-and-goal situation for the Giants at the Bills five-yard line. Bradshaw would again cap the scoring drive with a two-yard touchdown run for a 17-14 New York edge.
"We just didn't do our jobs," said Jairus Byrd. "Looking at the quarterback, not doing our responsibilities… when you try to do too much that's when you get beat and they were able to find their guys."
With just under three minutes remaining in the half Ryan Fitzpatrick and company got the benefit of a roughing the passer penalty after a 10-yard gain by Fred Jackson on a screen pass to put the Bills at the Giants' 40-yard line at the two-minute warning. Jackson however, could not convert on a 3rd-and-inches at the New York 30 as he was stopped for no gain.
Lindell picked the offense up with a 49-yard field goal to tie the game at 17 with under a minute remaining and the Giants couldn't move the ball into scoring territory on the next series before the half expired.
Buffalo's offense couldn't put a drive together to start the second half, but the Giants offense was in a rhythm from the start. Again the Bills defense surrendered big plays in the passing game giving up a pair of 20-yard pass plays to Ballard and Mario Manningham allowing New York into the red zone. Four plays later Bradshaw had his third one-yard touchdown run of the game to put the Giants up 24-17 midway through the third quarter.
"We gave him a little bit too much time to get back there and throw the ball and came up with some bad penalties that cost us," said Nick Barnett. "We've got to try to fix that."
The Bills offense was moving the ball on their next possession, but Fitzpatrick first interception killed the drive.
Buffalo's special teams however, would come up big. After the defense stopped D.J. Ware on a 3rd-and-10, Alex Carrington blocked a 51-yard field goal attempt by Tynes to keep it a one score game (24-17).
With their best drive start of the game, Buffalo looked to be in trouble after Ryan Fitzpatrick was sacked for the third time in the game on a 1st-and-10 at their own 40 for a 10-yard loss. But Jackson picked up 19 yards on a screen play on second down to set up a 3rd-and-1. Brad Smith came on to try to convert it, but was short on his run off a direct snap. Head coach Chan Gailey chose to go for it on 4th-and-1 and Fitzpatrick got the first down on a sneak.
From there Fitzpatrick hit C.J. Spiller for a pair of receptions to move the chains. Then Fitzpatrick scrambled for four yards on a 1st-and-10 at the Giants 13-yard line to set up a 2nd-and-6 at the New York nine. On the next play Stevie Johnson faked Webster out of his shoes and Fitzpatrick hit him for a nine-yard touchdown pass to tie the score with 8:57 left.
The Bills defense followed with a three-and-out to get the ball back. Buffalo was moving the ball effectively with David Nelson converting a big 3rd-and-2 and then followed it up with a 32-yard catch and run to the Giants 27. But on the next play Fitzpatrick's pass intended for Johnson down the left sideline again was too far inside and intercepted by Webster at the Giants five-yard line with four minutes remaining.
"Fitz did some really good things during the day, but we just needed to hit those two passes down the field," said Gailey. "And we had been doing that some and we didn't do it today."
New York moved into Buffalo territory after a 30-yard run to the Bills 37. On a 3rd-and-6 at the Bills 22 Drayton Florence was flagged for pass interference giving the Giants a new set of downs. After a six-yard carry by Bradshaw to the Bills one-yard line, the Buffalo defense held with Marcell Dareus tackling Bradshaw for a four-yard loss.
"I kind of felt they would come my way," said Dareus. "I went back under after (the tackle) set hard and I threw him back and went and chased the ball. It was a play that needed to be made and I just went for it."
Leodis McKelvin followed with a pass break up on a 3rd-and-goal pass intended for Mario Manningham. The Giants took a field goal with 1:35 remaining as Tynes put a 23-yard attempt up and through to break the third tie of the game 27-24. And Buffalo's last ditch effort on offense came up short dropping the Bills to 4-2 on the season.
Buffalo has a bye in Week 7 and return to action in Week 8 when they host Washington at the Rogers Centre in Toronto.