NYG-BUF Grades: Manning struggles, Kennard posts career game

The top takeaways from Sunday’s New York Giants-Buffalo Bills game, including the highest-graded players from each team.

| 1 year ago
(AP Photo/Tom Gannam)

(AP Photo/Tom Gannam)

NYG-BUF Grades: Manning struggles, Kennard posts career game


Here are the top takeaways from Sunday’s New York-Buffalo game, including the highest-graded players from each team:

New York Giants

– Despite the struggles of QB Eli Manning (-5.4), the Giants controlled this game from start to finish. Ben McAdoo opted for a short passing game to negate Buffalo’s dangerous pass rush. Manning was clearly instructed to get the ball out of his hands quickly, as illustrated by an average time to throw of just 1.82 seconds (no QB averages lower than 2.10 through the first four weeks of the season).

Despite the simplified game plan, Manning played poorly. Of his 212 passing yards, just 88 came through the air. Rashard Jennings’ long touchdown where he broke three tackles is one example where Manning’s receivers generated numbers for him. He also threw an ugly interception in the redzone late in the game, giving the Bills a glimmer of hope for a comeback. Overall, it’s the Giants’ coaching staff that deserves the credit for their offensive success against Buffalo.

– There were a lot of concerns going into the season about the Giants’ offensive line but the interior looks like it might turn out to be pretty good. LG Justin Pugh (+3.3) has adjusted well to being shifted inside. He followed three positively graded games with a dominant performance, recording a +1.9 grade on the ground and finishing with a blank stat sheet. On the other side, RG Geoff Schwartz (+2.2) also performed well. He allowed just the solitary hurry and finished with a better run-blocking grade than Pugh (+2.3). Only an ineligible player downfield penalty prevented him from grading even higher.

– Another potential area of concern coming into 2015 was the linebacker position. However, 2014 fifth-round pick Devon Kennard (+3.7) has alleviated some of those concerns. After finishing with a +6.0 grade in six starts at the end of 2014, Kennard has a +3.5 overall grade through four weeks this season. Even if his numbers didn’t reflect it, he had the best game of his young career against the Bills. Despite making just one stop against the run, he was disruptive throughout, standing up a number of blockers at the point of attack. The highlight of the game came when Kennard ripped a pass from Charles Clay’s arms, making a good throw an interception. Only the touchdown he allowed on a wheel route prevented Kennard from strolling to the game ball. Despite that mistake, he still finished with a +1.4 grade in coverage, allowing three of four targets for 27 yards, a touchdown and an interception.

Top Performers:

SLB Devon Kennard (+3.7)
LG Justin Pugh (+3.3)
FS Landon Collins (+2.5)
RG Geoff Schwartz (+2.2)
MLB Jon Beason (+2.1)

Buffalo Bills

– The major positive for the Bills offense against the Giants was the performance of LT Cordy Glenn (+4.1). He was perfect in pass protection in 45 drop backs, finishing with a team-high +2.2 grade in that department. Only once was he beaten throughout the game (by Damontre Moore), and the ball came out quickly on that play anyway. Overall he’s just outside the top ten in pass blocking efficiency this season having given up five combined pressures. Glenn also led the Bills with a +1.7 grade against the run. As the only Buffalo offensive lineman to grade positively in pass protection in 2014, Glenn’s continued excellence stands in contrast to the rest of the group.

– It’s hard to underestimate the impact losing Sammy Watkins had on the Bills’ offense. Percy Harvin and Robert Woods combined for -6.7 grades and that drops to -6.9 when considering receiving alone. The stat lines for both are pretty ugly. Harvin caught just three of seven targets for 26 yards with a drop and seemed to lose sight of a deep ball Tyrod Taylor threw with good location. Woods meanwhile caught just three of five targets for 33 yards and a drop. The sooner Watkins returns the better, because Buffalo can’t just rely on Charles Clay’s production.

– One of the most surprising performers of the season is undoubtedly rookie second-rounder Ronald Darby. The former Florida State product is now second in coverage grade amongst corners, allowing a QB rating of just 31.2. Against the Giants Darby (+3.3) allowed just two of seven targets to be complete for six yards with a pair of pass deflections. Against Odell Beckham specifically he allowed just one catch on four targets for eight yards and a pass deflection.

While Darby was outstanding, Stephon Gilmore (+2.3) also played an excellent game. He allowed four of ten targets to be complete for 49 yards, one touchdown, an interception and a pass defense. He also won his matchup against OBJ, allowing just two of six targets to be complete for eight yards. Gilmore has all the talent but he’s never been able to put it together consistently — could this be the year?

Top Performers:

LT Cordy Glenn (+4.1)
CB Ronald Darby (+3.3)
QB Tyrod Taylor (+2.8)
CB Stephon Gilmore (+2.3)
SS Corey Graham (+1.0)

| Analyst

John joined the PFF team in 2008, providing focused analysis on the NFL draft, team-building strategies, and positional value.

  • Brian

    Interior OL looking good. Praying Beatty comes back to form, if so knock Flowers to the right side, may be big stuff. Good news about Kennard, I like Unga, Landon will hopefully develop but we have good corners. The Giants time isnt now, and maybe not even this year, but lots of good things in the works.

    • boss103

      Flowers didn’t allow anything all game, and that’s with dealing with the ankle injury…Beatty is going to the Right if anything.

      • Jeff Smith

        Beatty is not capable of playing the rt position,I dont know what will happen there…

  • Brian

    Interior OL looking good. Praying Beatty comes back to form, if so knock Flowers to the right side, may be big stuff. Good news about Kennard, I like Unga, Landon will hopefully develop but we have good corners. The Giants time isnt now, and maybe not even this year, but lots of good things in the works.

  • Mighty Whig

    Silly. Manning had a very solid game. Receivers in tight coverage most of the game. Protected the ball well, made some great throws. INT was a timing play with defender jumping the route. The pass was there.

    • Jared

      I don’t know how you can defend that int. The DB had inside leverage the whole time and Manning still threw it and threw it out front. As opposed to the back shoulder. He read it wrong and threw the wrong pass.

      • Jeff Smith

        Right on,Jared…

    • Thomas W

      My question is does the QB get credit for RAC? The Jennings play was mostly missed tackles, but a QB who hits guys in stride is doign well.
      That INT was really awful, though, considering the game situation.

  • Ridgeback

    So according to this model it is basically impossible for a QB to receive a good rating if the majority of the game plan revolves around short passes. Only the coaching staff gets credit for the gameplan lol. Obviously Eli isn’t going to have many yards through the air when the gameplan is short quick passes. There should always be an asterisk beside the QB rating for these type of games since the model can’t measure decision making and short throw accuracy for a QB.

    • nonono

      I think the grading does measure decision making and short throw accuracy… but yea im still a little confused of Eli’s poor grade…. I missed the 2nd and 3rd quarter but I imagine the interception hurt his grade tremendously

    • https://twitter.com/MALACHiOFCOURSE Malachi

      short throws are easier throws, harder to earn higher grades on them. they don’t care about how many yards he has in stat sheet either anyway, they are grading every play…

      • snoth cambin

        Then doesn’t that show the flaw in the system? Penalize a QB for accuracy and decision making on short throws? Regardless of the difficulty if my QB can give me 7-15 yards a throw I’ll take that over risk reward bombs all day

        • https://twitter.com/MALACHiOFCOURSE Malachi

          they only penalize negative plays, easy throws get neutral grades or even positive but there aren’t many +2.0 plays coming from them either. also 15 yard throws, while not bombs, are not considered short by any means. 10-20 yard throws are intermediate, fyi

          • snoth cambin

            That’s another flaw in the system do they account for pre snap adjustments? Audibling to a better play might be easy on the stat sheet and to PFF but doesn’t tell the whole story. I mentioned 10-15 yards because I know PFF loves deep passes(20+). Which then falls back to my original comment decision making,accuracy and timing are very important regardless of the depth of the pass. But then again I hate when people use the depth of pass argument against or for QBs.

          • https://twitter.com/MALACHiOFCOURSE Malachi

            i feel ya. they don’t “love” any depth of pass, but longer throws are naturally harder and therefore are capable of generating a higher grade on any single play, and in a cumulative system its just harder to generate a higher grade on shorter throws. on the flip side of that, shorter throws help create more opportunities for skill position players to shine via catches and YAC/missed tackles etc.

          • snoth cambin

            It’s hard to distribute praise to the QB position when all of their situations are different(offensive line receiving core defense and running game)

          • https://twitter.com/MALACHiOFCOURSE Malachi

            it is hard, and that’s what this site aims to do, break down individual’s play independently. they know it’s not perfect, esp when it comes to QBs’ intangibles, which theoretically can’t even be measured scientifically.

  • Jim Winslow

    Giants should have the nfc east in the bag.

  • Mighty Whig

    Eli played well in this game. I don’t know what the PFF analyst was seeing. He threw 3 TDs. His lead target Beckham struggled all game to get open. If OBJ runs a bad route, is that “Eli struggling?” PFF ranked Eli (2x SB MVP, no. 12 all time in TDs) behind NFL great Ryan Tannehill, if that gives you any idea of the credibility of its ranking system.) Also, Schwartz committed a dumb penalty that cost a 35 yard gain. I was cursing Schwartz up and down after that, but he had a great game, according to PFF.

    • Doug Cuomo

      This is PFF. Eli can do no right and JJ Watt can do no wrong.

      • John Murray

        They have credited Eli many times. Read the articles. Watch every throw v Bills and don’t make excuses that you wouldn’t give Geno Smith.

  • avrumytannenbaum

    this is when pff disappoints. Tyrod Taylor +2.8 and Eli -5.4

    • Michael Mackend

      If you actually watch the film you’ll see what they’re talking about. Taylor looked like the team was holding him back with their lack of discipline. Eli looked like his team was dragging him along.

      • avrumytannenbaum

        funny because I actually watch the film

        • Michael Mackend

          Sorry, my mistake. I should have specified that you also have to be able to understand the film as well.

          • avrumytannenbaum

            Well Kurt Warner agrees with me and says eli was the 5th best qb in week 4

    • John Murray

      Eli throwing grade was -3.9. He also had delay of games and did not run well. Believe he fumbled?. Watch game again. Taylor made nice throws. One picked a spectacular play by LB. He missed Watkins and McCoy big time. Harvin not a great route runner. I concur. Watch the throws.

  • http://www.imdb.com/name/nm2844586/ JJSamurai

    And people thought I was crazy for wanting Vikings to draft 1-Landon Collins, 2-Ronald Darby and 3-La’el Collins. Smh.