EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) - The New York Giants and Buffalo Bills are both heading into their bye week in good shape, though Tom Coughlin's team is probably going to enjoy it a little more after walking off with a win.
Ahmad Bradshaw ran for season-high 104 yards and a career-best three touchdowns - all on 1-yard runs - and Lawrence Tynes kicked a go-ahead 23-yard field goal with 1:32 remaining to give the Giants a 27-24 victory Sunday.
The win, coupled with Washington's loss to Philadelphia, sends New York into its off week in first place in the NFC East. The reality check is that the Giants know they have games against New England, San Francisco, Philadelphia, New Orleans, Green Bay and the Jets in their final 10-game stretch.
``I love winning before a bye,' Giants quarterback Eli Manning said. ``It's a long two weeks. Just having that locker room excited, having that fourth quarter coming from behind as the offense stepped up and everybody did their part, we came together and the guys made the plays. We feel we're in a good spot.'
The good news for the Giants was they finally found a running game (122 yards) to go along with Manning's arm. The quarterback was 21 of 32 for 292 yards and no interceptions against the ballhawking Bills, who came in with 12 interceptions and a league-best plus-11 on turnovers.
After giving up two big plays for touchdowns in the first half, the defense stepped up and limited the high-scoring Bills to seven points in the second half.
Cornerback Corey Webster made the two biggest plays, intercepting two passes by Ryan Fitzpatrick, the only turnovers of the game. The second one started New York's game-winning drive, one that featured runs of 10 and 30 yards by Bradshaw, who became the first Giants back to gain 100 yards rushing this season.
``We still have a long ways to go, but it is easily corrected off of a 'W' instead of a 'L,'' Webster said. ``We made some mistakes, but we get to correct them. We have two weeks to do that so hopefully we get started moving in the right direction now.'
The Bills (4-2) will enter the bye a game behind New England (5-1) in the AFC East after the Patriots beat Dallas. Not bad for a team that won only four games last season and hasn't been to the playoffs since 1999.
``We feel like we're on track to where we want to be,' said running back Fred Jackson, who ran for 121 yards, with most of it coming on a career-best 80-yard TD run in the first quarter. ``We look at the two losses as games we should have won. We just didn't finish them. We've still got a lot of work to do, but we're excited about where we're going.'
Fitzpatrick finished 21 of 30 for 244 yards and threw touchdown passes of 60 yards to Naaman Roosevelt and 9 yards to Stevie Johnson. However, he was annoyed with himself for the interceptions, both on sideline go routes to Johnson.
``This is one of the hardest parts of playing quarterback, when you don't get the job done,' Fitzpatrick said. ``The two interceptions I threw, you couldn't ask for better coverage, you couldn't ask for a better play, couldn't ask for a better route. They were both basically the same thing, Stevie on a go route. I'd like to give credit to Corey Webster, he made plays on both of them. That said, I feel like Stevie beat him and I underthrew both of them.'
After tying the game on the 9-yard pass to Johnson, Buffalo appeared ready to take the lead when Fitzpatrick completed a 32-yard pass to David Nelson for a first down at the New York 27.
However, he went for the lead on a go-pattern to Johnson down the left sideline and Webster was all over it, intercepting at the 5. Johnson was called for a very flagrant facemask, giving New York the ball at its own 20.
Bradshaw and the Giants took over and set up Tynes for his second field goal of the game.
``Anytime I have a chance, trying to put the team on my back, keep making plays and that is what I plan to do,' Bradshaw said. ``Anytime they give me a shot I try to take advantage of it.'
New York had taken a 24-17 lead in the third quarter with a 10-play, 75-yard drive that Bradshaw capped after a review ruled that Mario Manningham did not score on a pass reception from the 7 that had originally been ruled a touchdown.
The first half, which ended tied at 17, was a mixture of the Bills' big-play offense and the Giants' more methodical approach.
Bradshaw scored on a pair of 1-yard runs and the Bills got touchdowns on Jackson's long run - just one play from scrimmage after Bradshaw's first TD - and a 60-yard catch and run by Roosevelt, his first career TD.
Tynes kicked a 26-yard field goal for the Giants, while Rian Lindell had a 49-yarder for the Bills with 24 seconds left in the half.
Notes: Jackson has rushed for 100 yards in four of six games and now has 11 in his career. His 80-yard TD run tied for the fourth-longest in Bills' history and was the longest run since Thurman Thomas scored from 80 in 1990. ... Buffalo has scored at least 20 points in six straight games this season, its longest run since 2006. ... G Chris Snee had a streak of 101 straight starts snapped when he missed the game with a concussion. ... Giants DE Justin Tuck said after the game he intended to play after the bye week. He has missed three straight games with neck and groin injuries.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved