A game-winning defensive stand
A slow-moving and at times sloppy Sunday Night Football matchup finally reached a crescendo on the last play of the game as the Bills defense stopped the Giants from the 1-yard line to seal a 14-9 victory.
Nickel cornerback Taron Johnson broke up Tyrod Taylor's pass that was too high for even the Giants' tallest receiver in 6-foot-6 Darren Waller as the tight end couldn't corral a one-handed catch in the back of the end zone with Johnson contesting.
The play prior gave the Giants one last gasp from the Buffalo 1-yard line as a defensive pass interference on the Bills gifted the Giants an additional scoring opportunity. After the Bills had previously stuffed RB Saquon Barkely from the 1-yard line to end the first half, they weren't surprised Giants coach Brian Daboll put the ball in Taylor's hands to potentially win it.
"That's probably a 50-50 call for Dabe's," Poyer said. "He decided to throw it. I wasn't really surprised, but Taron made a hell of a play to help us win the game."
A collective exhale echoed across Western New York as the Bills fought back from deficits of 6-0 and 9-7, fueled by two time-chewing offense drives and two back-to-back defensive stops.
Johnson had a career-high 15 tackles, and let out an emphatic yell in the back of the end zone after breaking up the pass for Waller to end the game.
"Taron, he's on fire, man," Bills LB Von Miller said.
Miller, who played in his second game of the season, said he went over to Johnson on the sideline before the final series and asked the defensive back what was going through his mind. Based on the response he got, Miller could tell Johnson was locked in.
"He was just staring down at the turf for a minute, I was like 'Hey man, what are you thinking about?'," Miller recalled. "He's like 'I'm thinking of a play to close the game."
The Bills defense came through time and time again on Sunday night as the offense didn't find their footing until late in the second half. For the second time this season, Buffalo didn't allow a touchdown.
Better late than never
No team had held the Bills offense scoreless for three full quarters since 2018. That was until the Giants had a 6-0 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
Buffalo's high-octane attack was stuck in the mud for much of the night. The first six drives of the night went as follows: punt, fumble, punt, punt, missed field goal, interception.
"Just really wasn't getting into a rhythm, pass and run game included," QB Josh Allen said. "We got to find ways to get off to a fast start and I don't think we've done that in the last few games. At the end of the day, it's a win, it's an ugly one, we'll take it."
But when they needed to step up, Allen and the offense elevated their play in a few crucial spots to put two touchdowns on the board in the fourth quarter.
Unable to find explosive plays, the Bills instead matriculated the ball down the field in their only third quarter possession that lasted 9:58 — their longest drive of the season. A 17-play drive bled into the first play of the fourth quarter as Allen found WR Deonte Harty on a swing pass out the backfield for a 3-yard touchdown.
"He's been working his tail off. He's a guy that doesn't complain, he works extremely hard in practice. He's made some really big plays for us in the last couple games," Allen said of Harty. "He made a heck of a play tonight and got in the end zone and that was a big score for us."
The go-ahead score marked Allen's 150th touchdown pass in his NFL career; he reached the milestone in 82 regular season games, the fifth quickest in league history.
After the Giants kicked a field goal to regain the lead, Allen once again marched down the field, this time on a 12-play, 70-yard mission that culminated in a familiar roll out to the right, throw back across his body into the end zone where the open hands of TE Quintin Morris hauled in a 15-yard TD to make it 14-9 with 3:48 to play.
"I'm throwing it because I think it's gonna get there and it's more surprising if it doesn't, you know?," Allen said. "I'm just trusting what I see, trusting the guys around me and (Morris) made a heck of a play."
When it mattered most, the Bills found a way to put points on the board.
"Sometimes you've got to find a way. You don't have your 'A' game, and you gotta figure it out," McDermott said. "I thought our offense did a little bit of that in the second half, and it was good to see."
A perfect 100
When the Bills needed a play, the ball found the hands of WR Stefon Diggs more often than not.
Diggs recorded a franchise record fourth-straight 100+ yard receiving game, catching 10 passes for exactly 100 yards.
Of his 36 career 100+ yard games in the regular season, it's the first time the star wideout has finished with exactly 100 yards.
Allen looked at Diggs' way repeatedly Sunday night, targeting him 16 times total. According to Next Gen Stats, Diggs was targeted on 53.3% of his routes, the highest target rate in a game this season (min. 20 routes).
"He does a good job of getting open and making plays with the ball in his hands," Allen said. "When you have a receiver as talented as him and he's your first read in a lot of concepts — and he's open — you can't really pass him up."
Through six games, Diggs has gone over the century mark in five of them. He had seven 100+ yard receiving games all of last season.
While Diggs was the biggest beneficiary on offense, Allen believes the offense is at its best when he can spread the ball around. The flow of the game and the matchups prevented Allen from doing that on Sunday.
"I do think that we're a better team when we are able to spread the ball around and get everybody involved," he said. "It's kind of dictated throughout each week with the flow of the game based on how they're playing us and sometimes it's gonna be like that."
Check out the best on-field and locker room photos following the win over the Giants.