Jennings’ 51-yard TD helps Giants seal 24-10 win over Bills
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) As running back Rashad Jennings broke one tackle after another, the New York Giants began shedding their early season reputation for blowing fourth-quarter leads.
Jennings eluded three would-be tacklers to score on a 51-yard catch-and-run midway through the fourth quarter to secure a 24-10 win over the unraveling and undisciplined Buffalo Bills on Sunday. And if the outcome was ever in doubt, cornerback Prince Amukamara settled it on Buffalo’s next possession by stripping the ball out of the hands of receiver Robert Woods.
”We were challenged after the first two games where we had leads going into the fourth quarter and lost them both,” quarterback Eli Manning said. ”So that was a huge play by Rashad. A great effort and we need it. The team needed it.”
Manning and the Giants responded once the momentum began shifting after Buffalo cut the lead to 16-10 on Tyrod Taylor’s 23-yard pass to Karlos Williams with 9:41 remaining. Facing third-and-3 at his own 49, Manning busted the Bills blitz by dumping a short pass to his left to Jennings.
He sidestepped a tackle attempt by linebacker Nigel Bradham in the backfield. Racing up the sideline, Jennings avoided linebacker Preston Brown’s attempt to make a diving tackle from behind. And then he shoved aside safety Bacarri Rambo before scoring.
”Somebody had to step up and make a pay,” receiver Odell Beckham Jr. said. ”And he came up big.”
The Bills (2-2), by comparison, collapsed a week after a dominating 41-14 win at Miami.
”As far as me as a player, I’ve got to make that play,” Bradham said, referring to the missed tackle on Jennings.
Trouble was, it wasn’t just Bradham in a game the Bills lacked finish on offense and undone by a lack of discipline.
Buffalo’s offense combined for just 77 yards and two first downs on its first nine possessions. Once it finally began moving, it came away with no points on two consecutive drives into the red zone.
Another concern was penalties. The Bills were flagged 17 times for 135 yards, two weeks after they were penalized 14 times for 140 yards in a 40-32 loss to New England.
Taylor had a 31-yard touchdown run in the third quarter negated by a holding penalty against guard Kraig Urbik. In the final minute of the game, Charles Clay’s 32-yard touchdown catch was nullified when Richie Incognito and Cordy Glenn were flagged for a chop block.
”Can we play a lot smarter? Absolutely,” coach Rex Ryan said. ”Say what you want, but I’ll take a team that will fight.”
Safety Corey Graham called it ”embarrassing.”
”One after another, dumb penalties,” Graham said. ”It’s terrible. We can’t win games like that.”
Giants defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins got a kick out of seeing the Bills implode.
”You could really see the frustration starting to come over them,” Jenkins said.
Manning went 20 of 35 for 212 yards and three touchdowns – including a 21-yarder to Dwight Harris and an 11-yarder to Rueben Randle – and an interception.
The Giants went ahead for good late in the first quarter, when hit Dwayne Harris over the middle for a 21-yard touchdown. It came two plays after New York linebacker Devon Kennard intercepted Taylor’s pass up the left side intended for Clay.
Kennard was in stride with Clay and reached up at the last moment to snag the pass as the tight end was prepared to haul it in.
On the Giants’ next possession, Manning engineered a 10-play, 76-yard drive which he capped with an 11 yard pass over the middle to Randle. A Bills penalty – what else? – helped extend the Giants’ drive.
Rather than settle for a field goal on fourth-and-2 at Buffalo’s 25, the Giants picked up a first down when the Bills were penalized for an illegal formation.
The Bills were playing minus two stars with running back LeSean McCoy (hamstring) and receiver Sammy Watkins (calf) both sidelined by injuries.
NOTES: Manning’s final pass was intercepted by Stephon Gilmore, ending the quarterback’s interception streak at 142 attempts from the start of the season. … Beckham finished with five catches for 38 yards, and upped his total to 1,612 yards, the most by an NFL player through 16 games. … Giants K Josh Brown missed a 38-yard point-after attempt, which was backed up by a false-start penalty. Bills K Dan Carpenter missed a 30-yard field-goal attempt wide left.
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