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September 16, 2012 @ 5:26 pm
Current rating: 4.00 Stars/1 Votes

A Giant Fourth Quarter Comeback Dooms Bucs In 41-34 Loss

Written by Scott
Scott Reynolds


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Trailing by two touchdowns after three quarters, the Giants score 25 points in the fourth quarter to stun the upset-minded Buccaneers, who surrendered 604 yards to New York, including 510 yards passing and three touchdowns on 31 completions by Eli Manning.
It’s rare that NFL defenses surrender 500 yards passing and come away with a win. The Bucs certainly didn’t as Giants quarterback Eli Manning stunned Tampa Bay by leading his team to 25 fourth quarter points to come back for a thrilling, 41-34 victory. Manning, who wasn’t sacked by the Bucs, shook off three second quarter interceptions to complete 31-of-51 passes for 510 yards and three touchdowns to rally the Giants from a 27-13 third quarter deficit to win their first game of the season.

“He’s hands down the best two-minute, fourth quarter quarterback we have in this league, and he showed it,” said Bucs defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, who had two tackles and no sacks against the Giants.

Wide receiver Hakeem Nicks couldn’t be stopped as he abused Bucs cornerback Aqib Talib for 10 catches for 199 yards, a 23-yard touchdown and a 50-yard catch to set up the Giants’ go-ahead score. Wide receiver Victor Cruz caught 11 passes for 179 yards, including an 80-yard touchdown over free safety Ronde Barber that tied the score at 27-27 in the fourth quarter.

“What do you want me to say?” Barber said. “They call the defense, we play the defense. [The Giants] get paid, too. They made more plays than we did. One more, in fact.”

Giants tight end Martellus Bennett dropped two touchdown passes earlier in the game, but came up with a 33-yard score to give New York a 34-27 lead with 3:59 left in the game.

“They came out and made more plays than we did,” said Bucs safety Mark Barron, who finished with a career-high 10 tackles and two pass break-ups. “They made the plays and we didn’t. It was as simple as that.”

The Bucs defense picked off Manning three times, including one that was returned for a 60-yard touchdown by cornerback Eric Wright just before halftime, but couldn’t sack him despite numerous failed blitz attempts. Middle linebacker Mason Foster’s interception set up a 29-yard touchdown pass from Josh Freeman to Vincent Jackson to put the Bucs up 10-6 in the second quarter.

Bucs cornerback Brandon McDonald picked off Manning and raced 41 yards on the return to set up a spinning, 8-yard touchdown run by rookie running back Doug Martin. That put the Bucs up 17-6 in the second quarter.

But despite a double-digit lead in the second and third quarter, the Bucs offense became too conservative and Tampa Bay’s defense gambled too much in the second half. The Bucs amassed only 183 yards in the second half compared to 327 yards gained by the Giants over the game’s final 30 minutes. New York out-gained Tampa Bay 604-307 yards in the game.

Freeman completed 15-of-28 passes for 243 yards with two touchdowns and two second half interceptions, including one to linebacker Michael Boley to end the game in Giants territory.

“We had a pretty good lead,” Bucs head coach Greg Schiano said. “If you look at the game and what changed, in the first half we had takeaways. It wasn’t like we did a real good job of shutting them down in the first half. We had takeaways that led to points. In the second half they had takeaways. We got three and they had two. They had five or six minutes time of possession advantage. That’s how the game flipped. Even one takeaway could have put it over the top.”

Wide receiver Vincent Jackson had five catches for 128 yards, including a 29-yard touchdown, which was his first as a Buccaneer. Mike Williams had three catches for 59 yards, including a 41-yard touchdown to tie the game at 34-34 late in the fourth quarter.

Rookie running back Doug Martin had 66 yards on 20 carries and his first NFL touchdown, a spinning, 8-yard run, while LeGarrette Blount did not get any carries despite practicing on Thursday and Friday and being cleared to play after suffering a stinger in last week’s 16-10 win over Carolina.

Tampa Bay’s offense really struggled on third down as the Bucs only completed just two-of-10 (20 percent) opportunities as the team falls to 1-1 on the season, while the Giants improved to 1-1.

First Quarter – Giants 3, Bucs 0

The Giants went right after cornerback Aqib Talib, as Eli Manning hit Hakeem Nicks for gains of eight and 40 yards to get into the Bucs’ red zone, but the drive stalled. Manning was 2-of-4 for 48 yards and New York had to settle for a 37-yard field goal by Lawrence Tynes.

First Quarter – Giants 3, Bucs 3
The Bucs answered right back with a 45-yard field goal from Connor Barth to tie the game at 3-3. Josh Freeman started the game 3-of-4 for 53 yards with an 11-yard strike to Mike Williams for a first down and a big, 41-yard pass to Vincent Jackson to get Tampa Bay in field goal range.

First Quarter – Giants 6, Bucs 3
Victor Cruz had two catches for 36 yards, including a 20-yard catch-and-run to help drive the Giants into Buccaneers territory. But tight end Martellus Bennett and offensive tackle William Beatty dropped touchdown passes and the Giants had to settle for a 24-yard field goal to take a 6-3 lead.

Second Quarter – Bucs 10, Giants 6
Tampa Bay middle linebacker Mason Foster picked off Manning in zone coverage on a pass intended for Bennett at the New York 28. On third-and-11 from the 29-yard line, Freeman hit Jackson with a 29-yard touchdown pass over cornerback Michael Coe.

Second Quarter – Bucs 17, Giants 6
Cornerback Brandon McDonald intercepted Manning and returned the pick 41 yards down the sidelines into Giants territory. McDonald was horse collar tackled and that gave the Bucs great field position at the Giants’ 13. Two plays later, Doug Martin spun at the line of scrimmage and rushed eight yards for his first NFL touchdown. With just over six minutes left before halftime, the Bucs led 17-6.

Second Quarter – Bucs 17, Giants 13
With Ahmad Bradshaw out of the game, Andre Brown took over at running back and ripped off runs of 23 and 12 yards to get the Giants into Buccaneers territory. On first-and-10 from the 23-yard line, Manning hit Nicks with a 23-yard touchdown strike over Talib. That score cut the Bucs’ lead to just four points.

Second Quarter – Bucs 24, Giants 13
Cornerback Eric Wright picked off Manning and returned the interception 60 yards down the sidelines for a touchdown with eight seconds left in the second quarter to give Tampa Bay a 24-13 lead at halftime.

Third Quarter – Bucs 27, Giants 13
Arrelious Benn ripped off a 55-yard kickoff return to start the second half. Martin had a 12-yard run to get the Bucs into field goal range, but Tampa Bay’s drive stalled and Barth was called on to kick a 52-yard field goal. That attempt was good and the Bucs’ lead increased to 27-13.

Third Quarter – Bucs 27, Giants 16
The Giants drove down to the Tampa Bay 18, but had to settle for a 36-yard field goal from Tynes. Two penalties on Talib – a defensive holding call and a pass interference flag – gave the Giants 21 yards. Those infractions, paired with 11-yard strikes to Cruz and Nicks, drove the Giants into the red zone before the drive stalled.

Fourth Quarter – Bucs 27, Giants 19
Freeman was intercepted by cornerback Corey Webster at the Tampa Bay 36, but Tampa Bay’s defense held New York out of the end zone for the fourth time in the red zone. Tynes was called on to kick a 24-yard field goal to bring the Giants within eight points.

Fourth Quarter – Giants 27, Bucs 27
On third-and-2 from the New York 20, Manning hit Victor Cruz for an 80-yard touchdown as the Bucs tried to blitz. Cruz was left in a one-on-one with safety Ronde Barber and cruised for the go-head touchdown. A two-point conversion run by Andre Brown gave the Giants a 34-27 lead.

Fourth Quarter – Giants 34, Bucs 27
Manning stayed hot on the next drive, hitting Bennett for a gain of 14 yards, followed by a 20-yard strike to Nicks. He then capped off the four-play, 67-yard drive with a 33-yard touchdown to Bennett over McDonald. That gave the Giants their first lead since the first quarter.

Fourth Quarter – Bucs 34, Giants 34
Freeman would answer with three straight completions to tight end Dallas Clark, who amassed 36 yards, before a leaping Williams hauled in a 41-yard touchdown over cornerback Justin Tryon to tie the score at 34-34.

Fourth Quarter – Giants 41, Bucs 34
The Giants took over with 1:58 left in the game and a 24-yard pass to Ramses Barden followed by a 50-yard strike to Nicks, who beat Talib once again, set up New York at the Tampa Bay 11. A 9-yard run by Brown preceded a 2-yard touchdown dash with 31 seconds left in regulation that proved to be the game-winner.

Buccaneers wide receiver Vincent Jackson turned in his best effort in red and pewter with five catches for 128 yards and a 29-yard touchdown. Jackson averaged 25.6 yards per reception to lead Tampa Bay and it was this type of performance that he was acquired to turn in for the Bucs.

Jackson had a season-high 41-yard catch on the Bucs’ first drive, which led to a field goal. In addition to his 29-yard score, Jackson also had gains of 22 and 19 yards in the game and was targeted 10 times by Freeman in the Giants game.

Bucs' inactives against the Giants were: OT Jeremy Trueblood, RB Michael Smith, CB E.J. Biggers, CB Anthony Gaitor, LB Najee Goode, G Derek Hardman, and DE George Johnson

Giants’ inactives against the Bucs were: WR Jerrel Jernigan, RB Da’Rel Scott, DE Adewale Ojomo, OT James Brewer, TE Adrien Robinson, CB Prince Amukamura and LB Keith Rivers.

Linebacker Lavonte David hurt his right wrist in the second quarter, and was replaced by Adam Hayward initially. He did return to the game a few plays later.

Cornerback Eric Wright suffered a back injury in the third quarter and returned briefly. He was replaced in the starting lineup by Brandon McDonald with Leonard Johnson manning the nickel cornerback spot.

Middle linebacker Mason Foster suffered cramps in the fourth quarter and was replaced by Hayward. He did return after receiving fluids.

Schiano’s defensive roots had to be agitated by the fact that his defense surrendered over 500 yards passing to Eli Manning and 94 yards rushing to the Giants. New York racked up 604 yards against Tampa Bay and scored 25 fourth quarter points in the Giants’ come-from-behind win. Schiano and defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan kept gambling with blitzes in the second half, but Manning made them pay, especially on an 80-yard touchdown catch by Victor Cruz, who was matched up one-on-one with free safety Ronde Barber.

The fact that the Bucs failed to record a sack in Manning’s 51 pass attempts has to upset Schiano. Not only did Tampa Bay’s front four not get to Manning despite having a lead through most of the second half, the Bucs couldn’t even take down the Giants passer when they blitzed.

Schiano won’t be happy that running back Andre Brown was able to successfully probe the middle of the Bucs defense on the ground, rushing for 71 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries, including a 23-yarder. The Bucs held Ahmad Bradshaw to just 16 yards on five carries before knocking him out of the game, but Brown gave Tampa Bay some trouble on the ground and could have done more damage if the Giants weren’t trailing from the second quarter on.

Schiano has to be disappointed in the play of cornerback Aqib Talib, who surrendered 10 catches for 199 yards and a touchdown to Giants wide receiver Hakeem Nicks. Talib was also flagged for pass interference and defensive holding, but his biggest sin was giving up a 50-yard catch-and-run down to the Tampa Bay 11 that allowed New York to score the game’s winning points.

On third-and-8 from the New York 45 with 8:36 left in the game, Josh Freeman completed a 7-yard pass to Mike Williams, but he didn’t show enough urgency to turn up field and get the first down. That drew Schiano’s ire.

After scoring 17 points on offense in the first half, Tampa Bay’s offense only scored 10 points in the second half and played a large role in allowing New York to come back and win as the Giants were able to score 28 points in the second half.

Tampa Bay (1-1) travels to Dallas to face the Cowboys (1-1) next Sunday at 1:00 p.m. The game will be televised on Fox.
Last modified on Sunday, 23 September 2012 18:04

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  • avatar

    ok you guys are confusing...last week the pass rush was amazing and our guys were finally coming into their own and getting to the QB and now because this week they dont get a sack all of a sudden the bucs have the worst pass rush again...its just one game and remember the giants had 4 extra days to prepare for this game not to mention the fact that they knew what to expect from their ex-coordinators...great game, the bucs handed the game over in the second half but at least it was competitive...cowboys should be scared
  • avatar

    As Gulfstrings said, we all should take some satisfaction in the fact that our 4-12 team from a year ago went toe to toe (on the line of course) with the defending champions. As disappointing as was the result, we all watched the game thinking throughout that the chance to win was there. The problem was, we got the good Eli Manning whose passes were crisp and dead on to the point our DB's had little chance especially with virtually no pressure. We simply got out game-planned by a coaching staff that had 11 days to prepare for our youthful group. Games like this can become a good thing if it exposes a correctable flaw in our scheme. That 80 yarder toward the end of the game really hurt. Lets not roll the dice like that again.
  • avatar

    Weird game to say the least ... We have been competitive for 3 quarters, playing bucs ball and then, we failed big time in the fourth quarter. I'm not upset with our secondaries. They have made a lot of play but you could not hold with receivers all game if there isn't any push with the defensive line. 51 attemps ... NO SACK ??? You gotta be kinding me !!! The defense played a good game, and we can say they played all the game ... they were on the field far too much to be competitive late in the game. The problem was : - too many blitz, leaving the corners on an islands with no pass rush. - and by far the most important thing : the offense didn't do its job !!!! We have may be three 3 and out in a row in the third quarter ... Our defense was burnt by that ... I like a lot of things in this game (Freeman to Jackson / Freeman throwing deep / The Martin's touchdown / the interceptions / the Offensive line / the linebackers / mark Barron) but 2 big failures let me (us) down. By the way, when could we be able to understand what make a reception in the NFL ??? 2 feet in bounds, control of the ball, then fumble / lose the ball out of bounds = No reception ?!? Arrrrrrrrrrrrgggggghhhhhhh !!!!!
  • avatar

    Not happy wth the loss but had you told me yesterday the Bucs would play an angry SB champion Giants team down to the wire - with a 3 interception effort and scoring 34 points - ending in a close loss, I would have been fairly impressed. Agree that efforts fell short and exposed areas where the young Bucs still need help, but this was not an unappreciated outing. Give Manning time and he will carve you up. Other than that, I liked what I saw ... up to that kneel down play. Expect a letter from "uptown" on that one, Coach. Go Bucs!
  • avatar

    scary stuff, when are we gonna find a staff we can trust here. we cant change systems over and over again. come on mike get your head on straight
  • avatar

    Simple! We won the 1st half, they won the 2nd half - by more points than we won in the 1st half. The culprit - depth. We couldn't play the starters for four qtrs at a high level. The rare exception was Barron - never left the field and never let up. We won't be consistent winners until we get more players like him and David. Oh yes! The coaches are learning too! Not the stellar playcalling when you're trying to beat the SB champs down the stretch. I would imagine that since Hardman didn't play Wallace "hinges" Gilberry will be re-signed again!
  • avatar

    East end boy is right, I'll put most of this loss on lack of pass rush. We used 2 high picks on McCoy, and Claibourne, and neither of these two could sniff Manning. 51 pass attempts, and not one sack!, come on man! Give Manning credit, he spotted every blitz, and made us pay. Knowing we were blitzing our corners bit on every fake, and let them complete the deep ball, not very smart. Sapp, and Rice would've been licking their chops with a 14 pt lead and a Q.B. throwing 51 times. I guess we still need to find some real pass rushers in the draft or F.A.. McCoy, and Claibourne don't seem to have that Q.B. killer in them.
  • avatar

    Aqib played worse than anyone today, but but Clayborne, McCoy, Miller and Bennett played almost as poorly. The LB's and M. Barron were outstanding. Everyone else in the secondary sucked besides McDonald's INT. There's a lot more to say but I'll discuss it more as more articles are released.
  • avatar

    Anybody remember the questions about our secondary in the preseason? Over 500 yards today seems to have answered it. Why was Sheridan fired as the Giants' defensive coordinator? Over 600 yards in total offense may be the answer. Josh was back to some bad decisions at bad times. His arm and accuracy were good to very good. Why did we have the Ray Perkins like determination to run even if the plays weren't there?
  • avatar

    Between the incompetent officiating that cost us three critical first downs (no face mask on Martin, no penalty for hitting Jackson high in the head and Williams catch that was ruled not a catch by these idiots they call refs, the Bucs as King just said self destructed by playing not to lose. Very conservative calling by Sullivan until we had to open it up. Why in the hell did it take for us to be behind before we start throwing the freaking ball downfield??????? Also, is there something with Freemans mind set that the only guy he can throw to is his primary receiver. Why was the game almost over before Clark caught a pass and he started throwing the ball to Williams? If I was Blount, I would be in the coaches office tomorrow and asked to be traded. We could have used him on more than one play and he never set foot on the field. Our defense came back to Earth today with no one able to cover their receivers or deciding most of the game to give Manning all day to throw the ball. Our offense was suppose to be our strength, and it sputtered all day long except for 2 long passes. Same as last week, get a lead and then try and hold on for the win. Ughhhhhhhhhhhhhh!
  • avatar

    I agree with most of your points Scott - in particular I thought VJax abused the Giants secondary at will- and for that matter so did Mike Williams. I think you're a bit harsh on Talib...the reality of the game was Manning had ALL DAY on every single drop back to survey the field, move through his entire progressions, and drop passes deep to whomever he wished - the vast majority of his 500+ yards passing I would put on our DL. The CBs, including Talib, had pretty decent coverage on most plays - with a few exceptions - but Manning with ALL DAY to pin point his passes perfectly was too much for any secondary. I don't know what happened to our DL of last week, but this week's DL was non-existent. I suspect we will be picking up Gillberry again this week, but I fear that something happened to our guys during this past week - Clayborn was totally ineffective, McCoy was double and triple teamed but unlike against the Panthers he couldn't overcome this, Bennett was Okay as was Miller, but none of them made a single push or end around to get an ounce of pressure on Manning. I hope the coaches focus on the DL big time this week, it was the glaring hole in our armour this week and a really sad effort especially when pretty much the rest of the entire team was p;laying A-ball...particular kudos to our OL...fantastic effort right across the board, including Dotson and Larsen...DL needs to be way way better. ....and ya I'll go along with the others here and say what is up with the Olsen-esque offensive play calling??????
  • avatar

    How the hell are we supposed to win,if all we do is hand the ball to Martin for 2 or 3 yds a run? Very poorly called game there Sullivan. We had the lead and could've won, but our defense was spent form being on the field practicly the whole game..And why was Blount not used on 3 & 1 situations? If its going to be like this all season,we're screwed. Very disapointed with the weak offensive game plan. Mike Sullivan & offense grade/ D-. And who the hell cares what will upset Schiano after he watches the film? It's not about him, It's about us loyal fans who pay his and this teams salary so they can WIN..
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