Eli Manning may have seen an impressive streak end on Sunday, but that didn’t stop the quarterback from leading the New York Giants to a 24-10 win over the Buffalo Bills. New York took advantage of 17 Buffalo penalties to bring its record on the season to an even 2-2. It didn’t even matter that Manning was intercepted for the first time this year when his fourth quarter pass intended for Rueben Randle went awry.
Before that throw, Manning had made 142 pass attempts in 2015 without being picked off. The season-opening streak is second in Giants history behind Fran Tarkenton, who started the 1969 campaign with 163 passes before throwing an interception.
There’s plenty of time this season to start a new streak. In the meantime, Manning now has three games in a row with multiple touchdown passes. On Sunday, he found Dwayne Harris, Rueben Randle, and Rashad Jennings for scoring strikes that put distance between the Giants and the Bills. On the Jennings touchdown, Manning did a minimal amount of work. All the quarterback had to do was flip a short pass to his tailback in the flat and watch Jennings break a Nigel Bradham tackle, spring past another defender, and deliver a stiff arm to Bacarri Rambo on the way to a 51-yard score.
Manning’s effort backed a Giants defense that forced two Bills turnovers and limited them to just 2.3 yards per carry in the run game. Rex Ryan’s Buffalo team had the more fearsome defense heading into the matchup, but it was the New York unit that came up big on Sunday, stopping Karlos Williams short of the goal line on 4th-and-goal early in the final period.
Williams and the Bills rebounded when quarterback Tyrod Taylor found his tailback for a 23-yard touchdown later in the fourth quarter, but the Giants answered right back with Jennings’ epic score.
It’s time to give more respect to this New York defense that last week held Washington to just six points in the first three quarters. The week before, Atlanta scored 24 points on the Giants, but that doesn’t seem like so much after the Falcons dropped 39 on the Cowboys in Week 3 and a whopping 48 on Houston in Week 4.
When Manning refuses to turn the ball over and the defense doesn’t give up late scores, the Giants don’t have many ways to beat themselves. With the struggling 49ers on top for Week 5 and the Cowboys suffering their second straight defeat on Sunday night, expectations are rising in New York and New Jersey. Big Blue might just be the class of the NFC East.