Game 12: Bills Beat Giants 24-7
Bills put together solid all around winning effort.
by Steve Saslow
Just when you thought the Bills wouldn't win another game, or score a road touchdown for that matter, they surprised people. A totally dominating, complete team road performance led the Bills to a 24-7 victory over the New York Giants ending their four game losing streak. How dominating was the win? The Bills held the ball for nearly 40 minutes, ran 20 more plays than the Giants and out gained them 403 yards to 222.
The first quarter looked like many other Bills games as both teams struggled to move the football and it ended scoreless. The second quarter was a different story as the two teams traded scores on the first two plays from scrimmage in the quarter. Dave Moore ended a pretty 6 play, 73 yard drive by catching a nicely thrown 24 yard touchdown pass from Drew Bledsoe for a touchdown. Moore would suffer a mild concussion on the play and wouldn't return. It was the Bills first road touchdown in more than four games as Bledsoe completed three big passes on the drive before hitting Moore. He had time to throw all day and beat the blitz rather nicely on many occasions as the offense seemed to be humming.
The defense was humming as well, and they were nearly perfect. Their lone dark spot was on the first play after Moore's score. Amani Toomer got open deep and caught a 77 yard touchdown pass from Collins to tie the score at 7. It was a momentary blip for the Bills as the defense wouldn't even let the Giants get close to the end zone the rest of the game. In fact, they would hold the ball less than 12 minutes in the final three quarters. The defense was so dominating that they held the Giants to just one rushing yard after halftime and 24 in the game.
The Bills responded to the Giants score by driving 65 yards in 10 plays to a Rian Lindell 26 yard field goal. Again the drive worked through the air as Bledsoe completed a big play pass of 31 yards to Bobby Shaw, who showed great run after the catch ability throughout the game.
After forcing another three and out, the offense drove to their third straight score of the second quarter and opened up a 17-7 halftime lead. This time Shaw ended the drive with a nice 22 yard touchdown reception as Bledsoe beat the blitz and Shaw found an opening to the end zone. Bledsoe was magnificent in this game, reading the defenses, making the right throws, and getting some luck. Two passes bounced off of players before being caught by Bills. One of them extended this scoring drive before the half. A third and 19 pass went off of Shaw and was caught by Josh Reed.
Bledsoe was solid throughout and he was showing no ill effects from the concussion that bothered him throughout the week, but that would change. On an incomplete pass on 2nd and 21, Bledsoe took a helmet to helmet hit from Keith Hamilton. Bledsoe got up very woozy, he said later, everything looked yellow. He somehow stayed in the game and the penalty set the Bills up to score their final touchdown. A 13 yard run by Travis Henry who rumbled for 113 yards in the win.
With a 24-7 lead and the defense absolutely dominating the game, Gregg Williams decided to take Bledsoe out because of the hit he took. Alex Van Pelt played the rest of the way but he would only throw five passes, two of them on the Bills next three and out possession. They seemed to learn their lesson, and ran every play but one in the fourth quarter. Henry ran for 92 yards after halftime including a 32 yard run where he broke a tackle on 3rd and 1 for the big gain. The defense wasn't giving up anything and the offense was doing a great job of running out the clock. The handwriting was on the wall and the big stadium was almost empty by the final gun.
It was nice to see the Bills get a win, and a very convincing one on the road at that. The bad news, is the team suffered a number of injuries in the win and they probably hurt their draft position. Putting that aside, it was nice to see the team "execute" so nicely for a change and for Bills fans all over to be able to smile on Monday morning.
Here are our exclusive gameballs and goats from the game, as expected it is lopsided towards the gameballs:Gameballs