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Quarterly Report

Frank Gore's tough runs help seal Bills' victory

FIRST QUARTER

Theme: Two long touchdown drives. The New York Giants marched 75 yards for a score. The Buffalo Bills marched 74 yards.

Mr. 20-plus: It didn’t take long for Saquon Barkley to gash the Bills for an explosive run. Barkley took his fourth carry for a 27-yard TD. That was his 18th run of 20-plus yards in 18 NFL games.

Hot start: Josh Allen connected on 8 of 12 passes in the first quarter last week. He completed 7 of 9 first-quarter passes Sunday.

QB weapon: Allen’s 6-yard TD run to tie the game, 7-7, was his 10th rushing touchdown in 13 career starts.

Best throw: Allen was flushed toward the right sideline by a Giants blitz late in the quarter and gunned a throw to tight end Dawson Knox for 18 yards.

Lineup notes: With their top two wideouts out, the Giants started Cody Latimer and Benny Fowler at receiver. It was just the sixth career start in six years for Latimer and the 10th start in five years for Fowler. The Giants also made a change at linebacker, starting rookie fifth-round pick Ryan Connelly over Tae Davis.

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SECOND QUARTER

Theme: The Bills were on the march.

Epic drive: After taking a 14-7 lead with a 70-yard touchdown drive, the Bills marched 98 yards in seven plays to go ahead, 21-7. It was the longest drive for the Bills in 10 years, since a 98-yarder in Jacksonville in 2009. That came on a 98-yard TD pass from Ryan Fitzpatrick to Terrell Owens.

Surest tackle: Matt Milano stopped Barkley for 3 yards on a pass to the right flat with 2:00 left in the half.

Hit of the day: Micah Hyde saved at least three points – and probably seven – when he covered a lot of ground to get to the left sideline and knock the ball out of the hands of receiver Bennie Fowler at the Bills’ 7 on a third-down pass. The Giants were forced to try a field goal.

Second guess: Sean McDermott opted to run out the clock when the Bills took over at their own 28 with 47 seconds left in the half. Yes, the Bills were getting the ball to start the third quarter. But 30 yards would have given them a long field-goal try. The coach, obviously, didn’t want to risk a turnover.

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THIRD QUARTER

Theme: Bills offense sputtered. The Bills punted three times and went three-and-out twice.

Misfire: The worst throw of the game for Allen arguably was when he threw behind Zay Jones on a slant against a Giants blitz. It was a run-pass option, and Allen didn’t quite get his feet set. Jones would have been gone for a big gainer.

Unsung hero: Bills punter Corey Bojorquez helped out the Bills’ defense with three booming punts in the quarter. The hang times were: 4.93 for a net of 40 yards, 4.97 for a net of 49 and 5.09 for a net of 49. Bojorquez was a field-position difference-maker.

Zebra report: Two of the Bills’ three drives were impaired by self-inflicted penalties. Cody Ford had a false start on the second possession of the quarter, and Dion Dawkins had a false start on the third.

Second guess: Barkley had three catches for 28 yards in the game. The Giants should have found a way to feed it to him even more and should have lined him up as a receiver more. Barkley had 91 catches last season.

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FOURTH QUARTER

Theme: The Bills are 2-0 for the first time since 2014, when they went 9-7. The Bills’ last back-to-back road wins came in Weeks 4 and 5 of 2016, over a Patriots team without Tom Brady and the Rams.

Welcome to the NFL: Frank Gore ran over 23-year-old rookie linebacker Ryan Connelly in the hole at the 1-yard line and knocked him into the end zone for the Bills’ fourth touchdown. Gore, 36, gained 29 yards on 11 carries in the fourth quarter. That’s only a 2.6 average but most were tough yards in short-yardage situations that helped the Bills seal the win.

Zebra report: A rookie mistake cost the Giants four points. Defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence, the 17th pick in the 2019 draft, hit Bills snapper Reid Ferguson on a 21-yard field goal. Two plays after the unnecessary roughness penalty, Gore scored the insurance TD.

Omen? The last visiting team to win back to back games in MetLife Stadium was Chicago in 2006. The Bears went to the Super Bowl that season. Yes, that’s probably a silly thing to mention.

Bills' defense rights itself after shaky start against Giants

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