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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Monday, April 15, 2024

The Hard Count: Ugly New York showdown raises questions as Bills top Giants 14–9

The Giants continued their abysmal offensive struggles while Josh Allen struggled to maintain consistency in Buffalo.


The Buffalo Bills are pictured in Sept. 2021.

The Buffalo Bills faced some unwelcome déjà vu while facing off against the New York Giants in week six. Towards the end of the second quarter, Bills running back Damien Harris suffered a dangerous hit that left him lying on the field for several minutes and required an ambulance to take him to a local hospital.

Harris’ injury came around nine months after Bills safety Damar Hamlin suffered a severe cardiac incident in a game against the Cincinnati Bengals that left him in critical condition. The incident was so recent in memory that Hamlin’s number three jerseys still hang in the back windows of the team ambulance that carted Harris off the field. Fortunately, Harris was reported to have movement in his limbs shortly after being carted off and has since been discharged from the hospital.

Beyond Harris’s injury, an on-field fight and a physical, low-scoring game all contributed to an ugly contest that raises questions for the direction of both the New York Giants and Buffalo Bills. The Giants continued their abysmal offensive struggles, putting up only 9 points in a game that lowered their season average points per game down to 11.8, dead last in the NFL.

The Giants managed to stay in the game for a remarkable amount of time, as the Bills did not take the lead until the fourth quarter. However, Giants’ backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor, who started for the injured Daniel Jones, failed to score from the one-yard line as time expired.

While there’s some argument that the Giants could have won this game with a healthy Jones, the relative lack of impact of his absence is perhaps the greater concern for New York. Jones agreed to a four-year, $160 million contract this offseason, making him a top-10 paid quarterback in the league. It’s not a great look for the franchise that, by quarterback rating, his backup played better against an elite Bills defense than Jones has in all but one full game this season — the Giants’ sole victory against the Arizona Wildcats in week two.

On the other side, a win is a win, but for the Bills, the fact that this game was even close has to ring some alarm bells. Josh Allen threw several ill-advised deep passes, on top of a dangerous interception that should have set up a Giants touchdown if not for poor clock management at the end of the first half. The Bills were shut out for the entirety of the first three quarters, and for the second week in a row, allowed their opponent to convert over 50% of their third downs.

In general, the Bills have struggled mightily with consistency, especially offensively. Josh Allen has at times looked like a top-three quarterback in the league, and at other times has shown off some of the risky decision-making that raised doubts about him coming into the league. The Bills will remain at the top of the American Football Conference, but their status as true contenders has yet to be determined.

Though they still exist in dramatically different tiers of teams, these two New York squads are undoubtedly leaving their showdown feeling shaky about their goals going forward.