WHAT HAPPENED IN TAMPA BAY’S 41-34 LOSS TO THE NY GIANTS?
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.HOW DID THE TEAM’S SCORE? – BUCS vs. GIANTS SCORING SERIES
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.WHO WAS THE PEWTERREPORT.COM BUCS’ MVP?
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.WHICH BUCCANEERS WERE INACTIVE?
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.WHICH BUCS GOT HURT?
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.WHAT WILL UPSET GREG SCHIANO WHEN HE WATCHES THE FILM?
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.WHAT’S UP NEXT FOR THE BUCS?
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.
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