ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP)Tyrod Taylor and the undermanned New York Giants were twice 1 yard away from reaching the end zone. Both times they fell short in what proved the difference in a 14-9 loss against the Buffalo Bills on Sunday night.

Rather than celebrating what would’ve been their second victory of the season in a game they entered as two-touchdown underdogs, the Giants instead were left to lament dropping their fourth straight.

“You don’t get trophies for trying,” coach Brian Daboll said.

New York is 1-5 through six games for the fifth time since 2017, which is in contrast to last year when the Giants started 5-1 in their first season under Daboll, the former Bills offensive coordinator.

The outcome was decided on an untimed down to end the game. Driving 57 yards in the final 1:25, the Giants got to the 1-yard line when Bills linebacker Terrel Bernard was called for pass interference in the end zone. Taylor’s pass over the middle on the final play was too high for tight end Darren Waller, who had the ball glance off his right hand.

“There was contact,” said Waller, who was tightly covered by Bills cornerback Taron Johnson on the play. “But I’m not somebody that’s going to get into what a call should have been or telling officials how to do their job because there’s a way for me to make that play there and it wasn’t made. So that’s what I focus on.”

The Giants ended the first half in similar fashion. With no timeouts left and facing first-and goal from the 1 with 14 seconds remaining, running back Saquon Barkley was stopped for no gain. The Giants were unable to get another snap off before time expired in a game they squandered a 6-0 first-half lead.

New York has yet to score an offensive touchdown in the first half this season, and been limited to five overall. Against Buffalo, the Giants’ offense came off three Graham Gano field goals.

“It’s devastating,” said receiver Darius Slayton. “I feel like I played as hard as I could. I feel like my teammates played as hard as they could. All things considered, we put together a solid performance. And it’s tough to walk away without a win.”

Taylor acknowledged he was to blame for switching the call to a run to end the first half.

“It was a decision, looking back on it, I definitely shouldn’t have made,” Taylor said. “That falls on me as a quarterback, as a leader, as the one who is communicating to everyone. Got to be better in that situation.”

Barkley, playing his first game after missing three with an ankle injury, blamed himself.

“We’ve got to find a way to come up with points there,” said Barkley, who had 93 yards on 24 carries. “I put that on me. The ball’s in my hands on that play.”

Taylor was 24 of 36 passing for 200 yards against his former team, in his first start since Dec. 5, 2021, as quarterback of the Texans. He rushed for 24 yards while losing 15 yards on three sacks, and guided a Giants offense that did not turn the ball over.

“Any loss hurts,” Taylor said. “Whether or not it hurts more because it’s in Buffalo, I wouldn’t say that. For me, it hurts because I am the one touching the ball and there is so much you can do to affect the game.”

New York’s offensive line came into the game hurting, and left with more injuries. Starting left tackle Andrew Thomas (hamstring) and center John Michael Schmitz Jr. (shoulder) did not play. Right tackle Evan Neal (ankle) was seen limping after several plays. Thomas’ backup Joshua Ezeudu was carted off the field in the first half with a toe injury. That forced Justin Pugh, playing for the first time since tearing his ACL last October and signed to the Giants practice squad less than two weeks, to move from right guard to left tackle.

“Those guys did a great job of battling play in and play out, against a great front,” Taylor said.

But in the end, the Giants failed to score an offensive touchdown for the third game in a row, and managed just two field goals on four trips inside Buffalo’s 20.

“That’s really the difference in the game,” Daboll said. “Not being able to punch it in the end zone.”

AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl