There were a few sparks. Eli Manning completed 30 of 49 passes for 288 yards with two touchdowns and no turnovers and he also ran for a 14-yard touchdown, his first scoring run since 2014. Rookie Wayne Gallman ran for 42 yards on 11 carries and caught a 4-yard touchdown pass. They were 8-for-17 on third downs and most significantly they had a lead when they last touched the ball. Despite shuffling the offensive line to start the game and then twice on the fly during the game, they were able to put some grip in the running attack and keep Manning from getting sacked for the second straight game. They did struggle to move the ball early in the game, something that has plagued them all season, and had way too many dropped passes. They also failed to convert the crucial two-point conversion that might have saved them in regulation.
They gave up the lead twice in the fourth quarter. The secondary came into the game licking its lips for the first interception of the season, and they came away stiffed again. The Bucs had six plays of 26 yards or more, two of them coming on third downs. They looked completely lost on O.J. Howard’s 58-yard wide open touchdown catch. Missed tackles and blown assignments were plentiful. The Giants can’t seem to figure out how to cover tight ends: Howard and Cameron Brate combined for six catches, 143 yards and two touchdowns.
SPECIAL TEAMS: F
Fifteen yards. That’s how far Brad Wing’s fourth-quarter punt traveled before the shanked ball went out of bounds. It was after the Giants finally had taken the lead. That field position left the Bucs in a perfect spot to score a go-ahead touchdown midway through the fourth. It was the second week in a row that an awful punt by Wing led to the Giants losing a lead. Aldrick Rosas, who had been perfect in his young career, missed his first kick, a 43-yard attempt, wide right, in the fourth quarter that obviously would have made a huge difference. It was early, but the Giants failed to down a punt inside the 5 when Roger Lewis Jr. ran into the end zone on coverage instead of stopping at the goal line. The Giants got literally nothing from their return game; Dwayne Harris and Odell Beckham Jr. each had a fair catch and the Giants didn’t take any kickoffs from the end zone.
There was some creativity, at least, when the Giants used DE Kerry Wynn at fullback with three TEs on the field and then ran play-action on third-and-goal from the 2 to score a go-ahead touchdown with 3:16 remaining. They also converted a short-yardage situation earlier in the game with Rhett Ellison at fullback. For the first time Ben McAdoo seemed open to personnel changes, using Andrew Adams more, starting Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie in place of Eli Apple, and shuffling his offensive line (some by choice, some by necessity). But there were some curious decisions, such as trying to convert a fourth down from the Bucs’ 30 in the first half instead of putting points on the board (the play failed). The Giants also had some costly penalties, including one on Beckham going out of bounds on the crucial two-point play and a pass interference against Janoris Jenkins that negated an offensive pass interference call on Mike Evans.