Well, we learned that our suspicion that this is far from a perfect team is certainly true. The Giants, with a stalled offense, tried and tried to let the Bills back in the game in the second half on Sunday. Buffalo, though, with 17 penalties, a missed 30-yard field goal and an inability to score with two chances from the Giants' 2-yard line, didn't want back in, though.
What we also learned about this football team is that this is a tough, hard-nosed, lunch-bucket brigade football team that gives tons of effort. They may be under-manned in some cases, short on pass-rushers and defensive superstars. The Giants, however, are not short of heart.
"We have grit," said head coach Tom Coughlin. "Guys played hard. We do play hard. I thought Kerry Wynn flew around and had a great game I thought.
"Lots of different people contributing. We talk all the time about team. That's what we got today was team."
Most pundits thought the Giants would not be able to handle the Bills on either side of the line of scrimmage, but they did just that. Defensively, the Giants held Karlos Williams to 40 yards on 18 carries. Offensively, while they stalled in the second half, they pounded the ball at the Bills in the first half, rushing 15 times for 64 yards, 4.3 per carry. Quarterback Eli Manning was only sacked once.
"You come in here and at the end of the day you have to put your foot down and say 'this is what we want to do today,' " said Odell Beckham Jr. I think offense, defense and special teams did that today.
"We had some great punts, great punt coverages. Everybody's running down on kickoffs. Everybody is giving effort in every direction we needed."
Here is Wynn, who had a terrific play on Tyron Taylor during the goal line stand, chasing him down at the 1-yard line and keeping him out of the end zone, setting up the fourth-down stop.
"We don't have any quit in us. We never back down every play, no matter what," Wynn said. "We don't pay attention to what everybody says about us. We know what we have in that room and we have each other's back and we fly around for each other and play for each other, and when we do stuff like this happens."
In the end, the Giants left Buffalo with something they haven't had since 2012. They left with a victory over a good team in a game they were not expected to win. So, we learned that maybe, just maybe, this will be a fun team to watch over the next 12 games.
Ereck Flowers isn't healthy, but he's tough
Rookie left tackle Ereck Flowers missed the Week 3 game against the Washington Redskins with his injured left ankle, then barely practiced this week. He came out Sunday vs. the Bills after just one play, but re-entered last in the first quarter and stayed in for the remainder of the game. Flowers is obviously not close to 100 percent physically, but you have to love the grit and determination to try and help him team.
"I respect the heck out of that," Coughlin said.
It's a lot different here
This has nothing to do with the game, but it needs to be mentioned. This is the second time I have been to a Bills game, first time in the press box. This is a different place -- much different -- than MetLife Stadium. First and foremost, Buffalo isn't New Jersey. Also, the Ralph is basically in a neighborhood. People park in business lots, at Erie Community College, all over the place. They have RVs and campers that park and tailgate beginning the day BEFORE the game. There are bands outside and way more merchandising in terms of vendors, etc., than at MetLife. The best way I can describe is it's much more like an event, a massive community-wide event.
Kerry Wynn was a monster vs. the run
Wynn, who has already been praised here, was phenomenal against the run on Sunday. He had eight takcles, two for loss and was an absolute wrecking ball at the line of scrimmage. He is not by any means a dynamic pass rusher, but he gives effort and has been a huge part of why the Giants are so much better defending the run this season.
The Giants finally won a fourth quarter
Well, technically the fourth quarter ended up 7-7, but the Giants did what they needed to do.
They got a goal line stand. They got a 51-yard catch-and-run for a touchdown by Rashad Jennings. They got a brilliant forced fumble and recovery from Prince Amukamara. They -- finally -- made winning plays when they mattered.
"That's what we need to do to win," said Justin Pugh. "We always harp on that and that was our biggest thing -- finish, finish, finish and today both sides of the ball finished the game in the fourth quarter."
The fourth-quarter play calling is still interesting
The Giants couldn't get through a fourth quarter without at least one highly questionable offensive decision. Leading 24-10 and facing third-and-8 goal from the Buffalo 8-yard line with 3:51 to play the Giants had done what they needed to do, establishing a two-score lead, running three minutes off the clock and putting themselves in position for a chip shot field goal that would given them a three-score lead.
Rather than run the ball, however, Eli Manning tried to squeeze a slant pass in to Rueben Randle and Buffalo's Stephon Gilmore intercepted, running the ball back to the 30-yard line. It ended up not costing the Giants anything, but it made the final moments of the game more interesting than they needed to be.
Coughlin took responsibility for the Giants' decision to be aggressive.
"The interception took the wind out of my sails," Coughlin said. "I told Ben [McAdoo let's drive down and score. I l wanted to score. We don't like it throw it away, whatever. He let it go, it's unfortunate that happened."
The Giants feel really good about where they are
They are still a work in progress, and they still have work to do make that 0-2 start just a footnote, but the Giants feel like a good football team that should be better than 2-2, and has a chance to have a good season.
"We should be 4-0. I feel like every game we were in we should have won, and that's exciting. We know how good we are, we know what we've got to do to win now. I think that adversity has made us stronger and made us more aware of the situation and how easily you can lose a game in the fourth quarter," said Pugh.
"When we needed a big drive we came down and scored, we needed a big stop we got a stop on fourth-and-goal. Everyone played their hearts out today. I'm very happy to be a part of this and I'm excited to see where we go from here."
Here's Odell Beckham on being 2-2:
"We're still 4-0 in my mind," Beckham said. "We lost two games, we didn't get beat. In my mind we're still 4-0. Our goal is to keep moving forward, 5-0, 6-0. I mean, we're really 2-2, but you know what I mean. That's the mentality, keep on going."
The Bills aren't a juggernaut
So many people, analysts and fans alike, though the Giants had no chance to win on Sunday. Yours truly picked the Giants to win and, while I look prophetic, that isn't the point. They aren't some sort of "super" team.
What they do best is dominate the line of scrimmage -- and the Giants dominated them at the point of attack on both sides of the ball. Tyrod Taylor has been a nice story, but the Giants kept him in check much of the game. He completed 28-of-42 passes for 274 yards, but couldn't get Buffalo over the top. Rookie running back Karlos Williams, averaging 7.8 yards per carry entering the game, has held to 40 yards on 18 rushing attempts.
No way I could have predicted that the Giants would win the way they did, in a game could have been more lopsided, but I was right about one thing. The Bills are not some sort of unbeatable machine.