NEW YORK GIANTS 32 – TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS 18
The New York Giants defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 32-18 on Sunday at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. With the win, the Giants improved their overall record to 5-4, remaining in sole possession of the NFC East. The victory was a costly one, however, as it is believed that defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins suffered a torn pectoral muscle that would likely end his season. The game did mark the return of defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, who played more than expected (46 snaps).
The game was tighter than the final score. While the Giants out-gained the Buccaneers in first downs (24 to 19), total number of offensive plays (73 to 59), and time of possession (34:55 to 25:05), the Buccaneers out-gained the Giants in net yards rushing (136 to 114) and net yards passing (249 to 213). The Giants turned the football over twice (two interceptions) and the Buccaneers three times (three lost fumbles).
The contest did not start off well for New York. The Giants received the ball to start the game and quarterback Eli Manning was picked off on the first offensive play. His pass thrown behind wide receiver Odell Beckham bounced off of Beckham’s hands and was intercepted by defensive back Sterling Moore, who returned the ball 18 yards to the Giants’ 13-yard line. However, New York’s defense held and Tampa Bay settled for a 25-yard field goal.
The Giants responded with a 10-play, 63-yard drive, moving the ball from their own 20 to Tampa’s 17-yard line. But the drive stalled at the 17 and the Giants tied the game with 35-yard field goal by place kicker Josh Brown. The Buccaneers quickly regained the lead on the next possession as quarterback Jameis Winston hit wide receiver Mike Evans for a 68-yard pass-and-run down to the Giants’ 12-yard line. There the defense stiffened again and the Buccaneers settled for a 28-yard field goal. Buccaneers 6 – Giants 3.
Back came the Giants on their third possession with a 12-play, 80-yard effort that ended with an 8-yard touchdown pass from Manning to wide receiver Rueben Randle on 3rd-and-5. The drive was aided by three Tampa Bay penalties as the Giants went up for the first time, 10-6.
The Giants got the ball right back at the start of the second quarter when Hankins forced running back Doug Martin to fumble. The loose ball was recovered by linebacker Jasper Brinkley at Tampa’s 28-yard line. However, this was the play where Hankins got hurt. Nine plays later, Manning found running back Shane Vereen for a 4-yard touchdown reception and the Giants were now ahead 17-6.
The Buccaneers threatened on their fourth possession, driving 65 yards in 11 plays. Fortunately for the Giants, Tampa Bay’s kicker missed a 43-yard field goal. The Giants moved the ball 32 yards in six plays but were stopped at on 4th-and-2 at the Buccaneers’ 35-yard line on an incomplete pass to Beckham. Tampa Bay then quickly drove to inside the New York 10-yard line where the defense stiffened again, forcing another short field goal with only seconds before halftime. At the break, the Giants led 17-9.
The Buccaneers received the ball to start the third quarter. On 2nd-and-3 from the Tampa 45-yard line, Brinkley knocked the ball out of running back Charles Sims’ hands. The fumbled ball was knocked backwards and finally recovered by cornerback Trevin Wade at the 24-yard line. The Giants’ offense could not pick up a first down as New York settled for another 35-yard field goal by Brown to go up 20-9.
Tampa chipped into that 11-point lead on their second possession of the half by driving 49 yards in 10 plays to set up a successful 53-yard field goal. The Giants now led 20-12. New York then moved the ball 47 yards down to the Tampa 33-yard line. But on 3rd-and-9, Manning’s pass intended for Beckham was intercepted by cornerback Alterraun Verner at the 27 and returned 16 yards to Tampa’s 43-yard line. The Giants’ defense came through by forcing a punt after the turnover.
The Giants picked up one first down on the ensuing possession but were forced to punt. Here the game got too close for comfort as Sims broke off a 59-yard run and four plays later Winston scrambled for a 10-yard touchdown. The 2-point conversion attempt failed and the Giants only led 20-18 with 9:25 to play.
With the pressure on, the Giants drove the ball 42 yards in six plays and Brown nailed a 53-yard field goal as the Giants extended their advantage to 23-18 with 7:18 to play. The Buccaneers’ offense managed to cross midfield on the ensuing possession, but after three straight incomplete passes Tampa punted the ball away with just under five minutes to play.
New York’s offense then put the game away by driving the ball 54 yards in 10 plays, taking 4:34 off of the clock, and putting the Giants up 26-18 with 23 seconds left to play. With Tampa desperately attempting to tie the game, the exclamation point was put on the contest when Trevin Wade recovered a fumble on an attempted lateral and waltzed into the end zone for a defensive score with no time on the clock.
Manning finished the game 26-of-40 for 213 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 2 interceptions. His leading receivers were Beckham (9 catches for 105 yards), Randle (5 catches for 40 yards and a touchdown), and Vereen (4 catches for 29 yards and a touchdown). The running backs chipped in with 115 rushing yards: Rashad Jennings (48 yards on 13 carries), Andre Williams (30 yards on 7 carries), Orleans Darkwa (23 yards on 6 carries), and Vereen (14 yards on 6 carries).
Defensively, Brinkley led the team with 7 tackles, 1 forced fumble, and 1 fumble recovery. Pierre-Paul was credited with 2 tackles and 2 quarterback hits. Wade recovered two fumbles, one for a touchdown.
Video highlights/lowlights are available at Giants.com.
DT Johnathan Hankins suffered what is believed to be a torn pectoral muscle early in the second quarter and did not return. If his pectoral muscle is torn, Hankins is likely done for the season. He will have an MRI on Monday.
Video clips of post-game media sessions with Head Coach Tom Coughlin and the following players are available at Giants.com:
- Head Coach Tom Coughlin (Video)
- QB Eli Manning (Video)
- WR Rueben Randle (Video)
- DE Jason Pierre-Paul (Video)
- LB Jasper Brinkley (Video)
- CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (Video)
— New York Giants (@Giants) November 9, 2015
— New York Giants (@Giants) November 9, 2015
Inactive for the Giants were WR Victor Cruz (calf), TE Larry Donnell (neck), LB J.T. Thomas (ankle), LB Uani ‘Unga (neck), CB Prince Amukamara (pectoral), CB Leon McFadden (groin), and OT Bobby Hart.
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- Odell Beckham Jr. only concerned with winning by Bob Glauber of Newsday
- Giants’ Punter Reclaims Spotlight After Winding Road From L.S.U. by Zach Schonbrun of The New York Times