Buffalo bulldozes Giants

EAST RUTHERFORD, N. J. – And so it goes. The Giants have mailed in the season. Playing with no emotion, life or energy, New York fell to the Bills, 24-7. Big Blue dropped its fourth straight game and all-but officially eliminated itself from playoff contention. Even Jim Fassel's December magic isn't going to be able to get the Giants out of this mess. Speaking of Fassel, it's obvious that he has exactly four games left to coach in his Giants career.

"I have been coaching a long time and I've never been around a team that will work so hard during the week, pay attention and then go out and play that way," Fassel said. "We do not play the game of football very well. We cannot block people. We don't tackle people. We don't cover people. We don't catch the ball in critical situations. I have never seen it and never in my seven years here have we ever played football the way we are playing right now."

They are playing about as bad as imaginable. The offensive line, in its usual state of flux due to a lack of personnel, was terrible. QB Kerry Collins barely had time to throw, getting hit on countless occasions. All told, New York only managed 222 yards and 10 first downs.

RB Tiki Barber was limited to a mere 20 yards on 12 carries.

Defensively, the missed tackles occurred at an alarming clip. The Bills dominated inside and out, rolling up 403 total yards and controlling the ball for 39:07. "We missed a lot of tackles today, a lot of tackles," Fassel said.

"You need to show up for four quarters and 80 plays a game," Michael Strahan said. "I don't know what the heck it is and why the heck it's happening."

After an uneventful and scoreless opening period, the teams exchanged TDs within the first minute of the second period.

Bills QB Drew Bledsoe hit TE Dave Moore, who got free from LB Brandon Short for a 24-yard TD. New York answered right back, with a 77-yard Collins-to-Amani Toomer scoring strike. Toomer ran a deep post pattern and split the defensive efforts of London Fletcher and Lawyer Milloy for the tying points.

"I pretty much just ran a two-on-one fast break on the safety," Toomer explained. "Tim (Carter) did a great job of holding the other safety off me and making him indecisive. Kerry threw a great ball and I had a great opportunity to catch the ball and run. We did try to come back to that play later on, but obviously they had made some adjustments."

The Bills weren't nearly finished. Buffalo's offense came into the game having not scored a touchdown in 17 consecutive quarters on the road. Boy were they ever glad to see the Giants defense.

After Rian Lindell's 26-yard FG gave the Bills the lead, Collins tripped and fumbled. The free ball was recovered by Bills DE Aaron Schobel at the New York 41-yard line.

Bledsoe connected on two big plays to get the Bills into the end zone. On third-and-19 following a Michael Strahan sack, the Bills QB hooked up with Josh Reed for a 20-yard gain on a pass that was tipped by Bobby Shaw. Then Ryan Clark had terrible coverage on Shaw, who caught a short pass, shook off Johnnie Harris' weak tackle attempt and waltzed across the goal line for a 22-yard TD that gave Buffalo a 17-7 lead they would never relinquish.

"We had a good practice all week, but we just didn't come out and perform," Harris said. "It starts with myself. I missed a couple of tackles that cost us and I really feel bad right now. I am just trying to help this squad and not making the plays really hurts. I know I am supposed to make those plays."

Buffalo started rubbing salt in the wound with 5:30 to play in the third quarter when Travis Henry effortlessly sliced through the Giants defense for a 13-yard TD run that sent many of the fans heading to the parking lot.

"It was embarrassing," Cornelius Griffin said. "We have to just try to get better. Each individual has really got to look at himself. We have been practicing well, but when it comes to game time we just aren't making plays.

"We have the ability to cover and play with anybody, we just aren't doing it. We have to play smart, be better with our discipline and wrap up on tackles and sacks."

The proverbial final nail in the coffin came when Collins' fourth-and-1 pass to fourth-string TE Darnell Dinkins, who earlier dropped an easy catch, was knocked away by Milloy early in the fourth quarter.

That was all she wrote for Big Blue, which continues to play out the string.

"I feel like this team is trying, we're just not getting it done," Fassel said. "It is just hard to watch them play that way."

"It's disappointing," Owner Wellington Mara added.

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