Giants vs. Bills score, takeaways: Buffalo escapes with controversial goal-line stop on final play
The Bills move to 4-2 on the season while the Giants drop to 1-5
The Bills moved to 4-2 on the season after outlasting the Giants 14-9 on Sunday night. During a Week 6 slate that featured several upsets, it looked like that the biggest of the day would occur at Highmark Stadium for a moment. New York came into this game as a double-digit underdog, but found itself leading 6-0 at halftime. Buffalo was shut out for the first three quarters before the offense started to show a pulse with back-to-back touchdown drives to pull away with the win.
However, this game did come down to the final second after the Giants marched 56 yards down the field to get the ball at the Buffalo 1-yard line with an opportunity to win the game. Taylor's pass to Darren Waller, who was seemingly being held, as time expired fell incomplete and allowed the Bills to survive the potential upset.
As we noted, it was an extremely sluggish start for the Bills. Sean McDermott's club punted on three of its first four possessions of the night and turned the ball over twice in the first half. Buffalo didn't even reach the red zone until roughly the 3:36 mark of the third quarter. Over that initial stretch, the Giants defense applied solid pressure onto Josh Allen while also throwing multiple defenders at Stefon Diggs to help stall out the Buffalo passing game. Meanwhile, Tyrod Taylor -- who was getting the start in place of the injured Daniel Jones -- was able to move the football at times but was unable to fully cash in for a touchdown in the losing effort. That includes a boggled possession at the end of the first half where they failed to record any points despite having the ball at the Bills 1-yard line.
Buffalo's defense forced a punt on the Giants opening possession of the second half and that's when the offense picked up the pace, largely thanks to a sturdy run game. The Bills ran the ball on 12 of their 17 plays on the ensuing drive up until Allen connected with Deonte Harty for the first touchdown of the night. New York regained the lead with another field goal drive, but the Bills offense seemed to have found its groove and later immediately answered with another double-digit play touchdown drive that helped them pull away.
Josh Allen finished his day 19 of 30 passing for 169 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. His go-to target was Diggs, who caught 10 of his 16 targets for 100 yards. Tyrod Taylor was 24 of 36 for 200 yards. In his first game back from injury, Saquon Barkley rushed for 93 yards on 24 carries.
For more on this prime-time head-to-head, check out our takeaways below.
Why the Bills won
Buffalo's defense bent, but it didn't break against the Giants. Sean McDermott's defense stood tall in the red zone multiple times throughout the evening, including on the final play of the game where they were able to prevent Tyrod Taylor from connecting with Darren Waller for what would've been the game-winning touchdown. On the night, the Bills held the Giants without a touchdown on all five of their red zone trips. Yes, some of that was due to poor play/time management on the part of the Giants, but it was a solid effort by Buffalo's defense in the red area as well.
Offensively, the Bills doubled down and truly leaned on their running game in the second half, especially during their 17-play touchdown drive where they ran the ball 12 times. That allowed the offense to stabilize and catch its footing for not only that possession but the ensuing double-digit play drive on their next possession that helped them gain control. James Cook rushed for 71 yards on a 5.1 yards per carry average while veteran Latavius Murray also churned 45 yards on the ground.
Why the Giants lost
As we noted above, the Giants offense couldn't cash in with touchdowns. As the defense was forcing punts and turnovers in the first half, New York couldn't take full advantage, despite a handful of trips to the red zone. Specifically, the Giants seemed to wither once they were knocking on the door of the goal line. The most egregious was at the end of the first half where they failed to get any points despite being at the 1-yard line due to poor clock management and decision-making on the part of Tyrod Taylor (more on that below).
With the opportunity to win the game at the end of regulation and again situated at the 1-yard line, Daboll's offense opted for a pass over the middle of the end zone for Darren Waller instead of handing it off to Saquon Barkley. While Barkley was stuffed in a similar situation earlier in the game, there's certainly a case for putting the game in the hands of your best player in that situation.
If you're going to pull off the biggest upset of the season, you have to take advantage of every opportunity that is given to you. And that's no what the Giants were able to do. The most glaring was at the end of the first half when the offense brought the ball to goal line with 14 seconds left and no timeouts. Judging by Taylor's pre-snap maneuvers, it appears the quarterback checked out of what was likely a pass play and instead handed the ball off to Saquon Barkley. He was stuff for no gain and the offense was unable to line up and stop the clock in time before the half ending, so they departed to the locker room with zero points on that drive. If you're Taylor, you can't check to a run in that situation. Also, if you're the offensive staff, it's curious that an option play was even put forward to Taylor in that spot.
Instead of going up by nine or potentially 13, the Bills missed a key scoring opportunity in a game where they only lost by five points.
Play of the game
This was not a game that will rank as one of the best of Josh Allen's career by any stretch, but the Bills franchise signal-caller did throw a perfect pass to Quintin Morris at one of the biggest points of the game. With the ball at the New York 15-yard line and trailing by two, Allen dropped ball and rolled out to his right. With a Giants defender barreling down on top of him, Allen was able to get a throw off and zip it into an extremely tight window for Morris in the end zone. That touchdown put the Bills up by the eventual 14-9 final.
From here, the Giants will head back to MetLife Stadium for a two-game homestand, starting with a Week 7 head-to-head with the Commanders. As for the Bills, they'll head to Foxborough to take on the Patriots.
Buffalo improves to 4-2. The Bills will travel to Foxborough to take on the Patriots next week. The Giants are 1-5 and host the Commanders in Week 7.
Taron Johnson sticks with Waller in the back of the end zone and forces an incomplete pass to end the game. This one was a whole lot closer than anybody thought it would be, and the Bills prevail 14-9.
Pass interference! DRAMA!
Well, the Giants will probably get two shots at the end zone here. Nice throw by Taylor and really nice catch by Hyatt over the middle.
The Giants are now out of timeouts, so any throw over the middle or anywhere other than the sideline needs to be followed by an immediate hurry up to the line.
Actually, that throw wasn't a miss. Dawson Knox needs to catch that ball. It's not perfect, but it should be caught.
And then Tyler Bass pushes a field goal wide right for the second time tonight. The Giants have new life.
Oh boy. Josh Allen had Dawson Knox open to end the game and he just missed the throw. It was a perfect call and he just missed it.
Tyrod Taylor threw a really nice ball down the field to Darius Slayton, but Christian Benford made an even nicer play to knock the ball away. Shot his hand right through the ball as Slayton went up to grab it.
Taylor fit that throw to Darren Waller into a TINY window between Taron Johnson and Terrel Bernard. Nice job to move the chains.
The Bills should have gone for two there. There is no difference at all between a 4-point lead and a 5-point lead. But if you go for two and convert, then it's a 6-point lead and you force the Giants to have to make their extra point if they score a touchdown. Mistake from Sean McDermott there.
WHAT AN ABSOLUTE LASER FROM JOSH ALLEN!
Josh Allen has thrown 28 passes tonight and 16 of them have been directed at Stefon Diggs, who has 10 catches for 100 yards. Allen is 8 of 12 for 54 yards otherwise.
Allen in his bag now and making the magic happen. He should have been sacked twice on that play but instead found Diggs for a chunk gain and the Bills are verging on scoring territory again.
Allen did a really nice job of escaping the pressure and picking up a first down on that third-and-long, although the Bills would have gotten a free first down anyway thanks to the hold on Adoree' Jackson. He just grabbed Gabe Davis' arm on his way up the field.
That said, terrific job by Greg Rousseau to blow up that read-option run and force the Giants to make a choice.
The Giants should be going for this. It's fourth-and-inches. The running game is getting whatever it wants. All Buffalo will need is a field goal to re-take the lead here. Bad call from Daboll and Co.