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The Giants Just Keep Doing Bad Things

ORCHARD PARK, NEW YORK - OCTOBER 15: Tyrod Taylor #2 of the New York Giants looks on in the second quarter of a game against the Buffalo Bills at Highmark Stadium on October 15, 2023 in Orchard Park, New York. (Photo by Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images)
Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images

The Giants looked surprisingly feisty on Sunday night against the Bills. Unfortunately, feist alone doesn't win games. Feist doesn't prevent you from falling to 1-5 in a season that started with high expectations. Feist doesn't put the ball in the end zone.

Tyrod Taylor played fairly capably in starting for the injured Daniel Jones, and the defense held the Bills in check (maybe it was the good uniforms; maybe they should wear the good uniforms all the time), but the Giants offense developed an allergy to the goal line. In five trips into the red zone, New York scored nine total points; they are the only team in the last 30 years to run plays from scrimmage inside the 10 at the end of each half and come away with zero points. On the first at least, they have no one to blame but themselves. Or maybe just Taylor.

On a first-and-goal at the 1 with 14 seconds left in the half, the play called in from the sideline was a pass, so that if it failed, the clock would stop and the Giants could settle for a field goal. But Taylor changed the play at the line to what ended up being a handoff to Saquon Barkley for no gain. The Giants couldn't get another play off in time.

Taylor took responsibility, saying he saw something in the defense that encouraged the run. "It was a decision looking back on it I never should have made. Shouldn't have made," he said. "Alerted to a run. Thought I saw a look that was beneficial for us and it wasn't the right call."

Head coach Brian Daboll, who was red and mad in the moment, didn't seem to have gotten over it by his postgame presser where he was asked if he had made clear to Taylor not to run the ball with no timeouts left. "Yeah. There was communication," said a terse Daboll. "Yep."

I'm not saying this wouldn't have happened if the Giants had made Taylor one of their 34 team captains, but I'm not not saying it.

The Bills finally broke onto the scoreboard in the second half with a pair of touchdowns, while the Giants could only add their third field goal of the night. That made the score 14-9, which is how it would finish after the Giants took the final drive all the way down to their nemesis: the 1-yard line. Darren Waller couldn't haul in a pass on the last play on which he was maybe held—the officials perhaps didn't want to call two pass interferences in a row—and that was that. The end zone is lava.

Unorthodox play-calls and last minute heroics that always seemed to go their way last season when Brian Daboll was heralded as a genius and New York a team on the rise have regressed well below the mean this year. Them's the breaks, but also this team is not actually any good. (Incredibly, the Giants have yet to score an offensive touchdown in the first half through six games.) And not-good teams can afford less than anyone else to shoot themselves in the nuts like that.

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