EAST RUTHERFORD: The Giants are off to a 0-2 start for the sixth time over the last seven years after dropping a 28-14 verdict to the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium. Pat Shurmur is the third head coach Big Blue has employed over that period.
Shurmur was asked about starting the season with two consecutive loses giving him a little bit of a challenge going forward. What's his message to his players as he gets ready here for Week 3?
“Well, we have to go win a game in Tampa, that’s the message,” Shurmur said. “That’s just how you have to roll this thing out. Just go play.”
The Giants got off to a good start on the opening drive going 75 yards on five plays culminating with a 27-yard touchdown run by Saquon Barkley.
It was downhill from there.
The Bills scored 21 straight points to take a 21-7 lead into intermission. Barkley was asked why the Giants were unable to maintain the intensity.
“Yeah, the opening drive was a great start,” Barkley said. “I don’t think you could ask for any better start for the first two games that we had, but it’s the NFL. They’re going to make plays, and the Bills made great adjustments. We adjusted off of that and I think we were able to create some drives later in the game. We’ve just got to find a way to finish on third down and finish in the red zone. We continue to start great, and as the season goes on, we’ve got to continue to have that in our back pocket, but we’ve just got to find a way to execute better and win games.”
Big Blue did come back at the beginning of the fourth quarter when TJ Jones caught a four-yard touchdown pass from Eli Manning to make the score 21-14 with 11:56 left in the game. But mistakes, turnovers and a porous defense made it impossible for the Giants to make a serious run.
Buffalo scored on a one-yard run by the ageless Frank Gore with 5:53 left in the fourth quarter that sent most of the patrons headed for the parking lot.
Manning finished with 250 yards passing going 26 of 45 with one touchdown pass and two interceptions. He was sacked once. Even the final score in the 28-14 loss to the Buffalo Bills in MetLife Stadium was similar in margin and manner to the 35-17 defeat last week in Dallas.
“Obviously, it’s not how you want to start,” said Manning, as the Giants attempt to get their first victory of the season next week at Tampa Bay. “We just have to keep fighting and find ways to play better football. That’s as simple as it comes down to. I know we can play better. I know we can do better than what we are. We have to find a way to come together as a team and win as a team.”
Barkley finished with 107 yards rushing on 18 carries and a touchdown.
Gore rushed 19 times for 68 yards and a touchdown.
Josh Allen was an efficient 19 of 30 for 253 yards, one touchdown pass and no turnovers. Allen was sacked three times.
“It felt good,” Allen said, referring to his overall performance. “Our offense established a line very early by being able to get the running game going. Frank (Gore) and Motor (Devin Singletary) had some good runs there. We got open in the passing game and made some plays. There were a few plays that I left out there and those are the ones that I have to make. So, I'll go back—a lot to learn from in this one. But overall, I'm proud of the guys and how they competed today, how they executed and how we finished the game there.” *
Follow Al Thompson on Twitter @thompsoniii