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Bills punchless without McCoy, Watkins

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ORCHARD PARK, N. Y. – The Buffalo Bills thought they were equipped to overcome the absences of running back LeSean McCoy and wide receiver Sammy Watkins against the New York Giants, but it turned out they weren’t.

McCoy was inactive due to his sore hamstring and reports indicate he may miss three or four more weeks due to a new tear in the muscle, although head coach Rex Ryan denied knowledge of that.

Watkins sat out with a calf injury, and he may also miss another week.

Without needing to worry about those two dynamic players, the Giants effectively clamped down on wide receivers Percy Harvin and Robert Woods, and New York often had eight men in the box to handle rookie running back Karlos Williams. And that was the name of a tune that ended with New York winning 24-10.

Quarterback Tyrod Taylor had a tough day. He completed 28 of 42 passes for 274 yards, but had only 36 yards passing in the first half when the Bills fell behind 16-3. He also had a touchdown and an interception, and had a 31-yard scoring run and a 32-yard touchdown pass wiped out by penalties.

Harvin, Woods, and Chris Hogan combined for 11 catches for only 102 yards. And Williams never got going, finishing with a mere 40 yards rushing, though he did catch a 23-yard TD pass.

“They definitely would have helped us, especially with how explosive they are with the ball in their hands and how much a defense has to respect them,” said Woods, who started in Watkins’ place. “But we had opportunities, we got down there, we just didn’t finish our drives.”

The bad news for the Bills is that McCoy may miss several more weeks. A Fox Sports report Sunday indicated that he suffered a new tear in his hamstring prior to the Miami game. Coach Rex Ryan was asked about it, and he denied knowing anything. As for Watkins, his calf remains sore and he may not be ready to go for Tennessee.

The Bills have been victimized by quick-hitting passing attacks in their losses to the Patriots and Giants. With quarterbacks Tom Brady and Eli Manning getting rid of the ball so quickly, the Bills’ pass rush was almost completely neutralized. However, Ryan said he’s willing to take the trade-off of teams cutting down their available options when they go fast.

“If you’re eliminating the pass rush, you’re also limiting the types of routes that you’re throwing so that plays into our favor defensively,” said Ryan. “Did they still make some plays? Sure, they’re gonna make plays, but it does limit what you can do offensively.”

Ryan made the point that Odell Beckham Jr. had just five catches for 38 yards with a long of nine yards, and some of that was due to the Giants trying to go fast and not allowing Beckham to get open down the field. “We just have to be sharper in what we do,” said Ryan. “If somebody doesn’t want to get sacked they’re not going to get sacked. If you want to go quick and get it out of your hand, that’s fine, but where’s it going? I don’t mind that at all.”

Notes: Tight end Charles Clay tied his career high with nine receptions for 111 yards. … Kicker Dan Carpenter missed a 30-yard field goal, and his tenure in Buffalo may be tenuous as Ryan was clearly irritated by the miss, Carpenter’s third of the year (counting one extra point). … Strong safety Corey Graham had a career-high 13 sacks and also registered the Bills’ lone sack of Eli Manning. … Linebcker Preston Brown was in on 11 tackles, but he also committed two personal foul penalties. … Cornerback Ronald Darby helped keep Giants’ receiver Odell Beckham Jr. in check as Darby had three pass breakups, four tackles, one of which was for a loss.


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