ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- The New York Giants are 2-2 after a 24-10 victory over the Buffalo Bills on Sunday. The Giants took advantage of the penalty-prone Bills, and finally made some fourth-quarter plays to salt away the win.
"It shows we have grit," said head coach Tom Coughlin. "They're battlers."
The have now battled their way back from a disastrous 0-2 start that threatened to destroy their season, blowing a pair of fourth-quarter leads. Now, they finish the first quarter of the season at .500 and feeling good about themselves.
The Giants ended the third quarter in a familiar place, with a 16-3 lead. They have now led after three quarters in all four of their games this season.
The Giants finally made the kind of fourth-quarter plays that win games rather than lose them.
On Buffalo's first drive of the fourth the Giants made the kind of defensive stop that can turn games -- and maybe seasons -- around. The Bills drove 52 yards in seven plays and appeared to be headed for a touchdown to pull within one score. On third-and-two, defensive end Kerry Wynn chased down Tyrod Taylor at the 1-yard line. On fourth down, J.T. Thomas and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie halted Karlos Williams short of the goal line on a swing pass, giving the Giants the ball with 12:08 remaining, and protecting their 13-point lead.
After a Giants three-and-out, Buffalo pulled with 16-10 on a 23-yard pass from Taylor to Williams with 9:41 to play. The Bills still had life at that point, but the Giants then extinguished their hopes.
The Giants responded with a huge touchdown. Eli Manning hit Rash Jennings with a short swing pass on third-and-three from the Giants, 49-yard line. Jennings broke a couple of tackles, raced down the left sideline and ended up with a 51-yard touchdown to put the Giants ahead, 22-10, with a 7:42 to play.
"That was the play that gave us the opportunity to take a deep breath," said head coach Tom Coughlin.
On Buffalo's next possession, cornerback Prince Amukamara ripped a ball out of the hands of Bills wide receiver Robert Woods, giving the ball to the Giants at the Bills' 40-yard line with 6:22 to play.
Of course, it wouldn't be the Giants without making the game interesting. An interception of a Manning pass at the goal line and return by by Stephon Gilmore gave Buffalo the ball at the 30-yard line.
Coughlin admitted the play "took the wind out of my sails." Buffalo, however, was unable to mount a comeback.
"We're back to .500 now, and for us that's where we wanted to get," said defensive lineman Cullen Jenkins. "After an 0-2 start we just have to try to dig ourselves out of that hole week-by-week and after two weeks now we got back to .500, so now it's about trying to push above that and trying to put ourselves in the position where we want to be later in the season."
Manning finished the game 20-of-35 for 211 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. Dwayne Harris (51 yards, 1 TD), Larry Donnell (38 yards) and Odell Beckham Jr. (37 yards) each caught five passes.
The Giants held the Bills to 55 yards rushing on 24 carries (2.3 yards per carry). Williams, who entered the game with an average of 7.8 yards per carry, ran 18 times for only 40 yards.
Wynn led the Giants' defense with eight tackles, two of which were for loss.
The Giants were helped by 17 Buffalo penalties for 135 yards.
10:20: 47-yard field goal, Josh Brown
Drive Summary: Eight plays, 35 yards, 3:11
Score: 3-0 Giants
4:33: 41 yard field goal, Dan Carpenter (Bills)
Drive Summary: Five plays, 15 yards, 1:21
Key play: A poor 36-yard punt by Brad Wing that gave Buffalo the ball at the Giants' 48-yard line to start their drive.
0:25: Dwayne Harris, 21-yard pass from Eli Manning
Drive Summary: Two plays, 32 yards
Key play: Interception by Devon Kennard to give Giants the ball at the Buffalo 32-yard line
Score: 9-3 Giants (Josh Brown misses PAT)
10:42: Ruben Randle, 11-yard pass from Eli Manning (PAT good)
Drive summary: 10 plays, 76 yards, 4:02
Key plays: Buffalo committed three defensive penalties, totaling 25yards. Two of the penalties gave the Giants first downs, includong one that negated a Josh Brown 44-yard field goal and gave the Giants first down at the Buffalo 20.
Score: Giants 16, Bills 3
9:41: Karlos Williams 23-yard pass from Tyrod Taylor (PAT good)
Drive Summary: Three plays, 43 yards, 0:54
Score: 16-10, Giants
7:42: Rashad Jennings, 51-yard pass from Eli Manning (two-point conversion run, Andre Williams
Drive Summary: Five plays, 72 yards, 1:59
Key play: Jennings broke at least one tackle, high-stepped away from another defender and broke free for a touchdown that took the air out of Ralph Wilson Stadium and gave the Giants a two-score lead.
Score: 24-10, Giants