Week 8 Game Recap: Tampa Bay Buccaneers 3, New York Giants 17
What you need to know
Tampa Bay started off extremely slow in this game. They didnít pick up any first downs in the first quarter. Their first one came with just 8:36 left in the second. In their first six possessions, Tampa had just nine yards of total offense. That makes it pretty tough to win. The Bucs defense kept them in the game. Gusting wind was also a big factor. It made it very difficult for the passing game. Both quarterbacks had quite a few errant throws.
Gradkowski connected on less than 50 percent of his passes. To his defense, the Tampa receivers had a number of drops deep in Giantsí territory. He was credited with a fumble but it was on a pitch that was thrown perfectly to Carnell Williams, who dropped it.
Including Gradkowskiís 18 yards on the ground, the Tampa rushing game only gained 40 yards. Williams led the way with 20 yards on eight carries. The leading receivers for Tampa Bay were their two running backs. Pittman and Williams each had five catches.
The Tampa Bay defense kept them in this game. While the Tampa offense sputtered, the defense was able to hold the Giants to just 14points in the first half. One of those touchdowns was after the Tampa Bay fumble deep in their own end. They held the Giants to just 108 rushing yards and 154 passing.
The Giants played mistake free football and it paid off on a day where the wind made it difficult to move the ball efficiently. They took advantage of the Tampa Bay turnover to score on a Brandon Jacobsí short run. The Giantsí defense kept the Buccaneers in check, only giving up a lone field goal on the day.
Eli Manning did enough to win the game on a day where throwing the ball was difficult. He threw for 154 yards and one touchdown. He avoided the jump ball throws that he always seems to toss two or three times a game.
Tiki Barber was held to just 68 yards, well below his average. Jacobs added 41 yards to the Giants rushing total. As usual he took over for Barber near the goal line and punched one in.
Plaxico Burress had seven catches to lead the team. He also scored the only receiving touchdown. He made a great one handed grab in the back of the end zone.
The Giantsí defense held Tampa Bay under 200 yards of offense. They held Tampa without a first down until almost halfway through the second quarter.
What you ought to know
Gradkowski was 20 of 48 for 139 yards. He didnít try to force the issue in this game. Between the Giants defense and the windy conditions, it was a tough day to throw the ball. He had a number of drops by his receivers including two by the usually sure handed Joey Galloway. He made a nice throw into the corner of the end zone but it was dropped by Michael Clayton. Gradkowski was credited with a fumble but it should have been on Carnell Williams when he couldnít handle a nicely pitched ball in the back field.
Williams carried the ball eight times for 20 yards. His longest run was 16 yards but his other seven carries picked up just four yards. In a game where weather conditions meant the team should have relied heavily on the ground game, he was unable to produce anything at all. He was thrown to eight times, pulling in five of them for 34 yards.
Pittman ran just two times for two yards. He was used mostly in the passing game. He was targeted 11 times, catching five of them for 38 yards.
Galloway ended up with four catches for 32 yards. He was thrown to the most but he may not have been Gradkowskiís favorite target after he dropped two deep passes on the same drive. Tampa had finally gotten a first down and it would have given them a chance to get back into the game.
This was probably a game Clayton will want to forget. He touched the ball twice. The first time he dropped a deep pass in the end zone. The second touch was a catch and fumble after eight yards. The ball was knocked backwards and resulted in a turnover on downs since it was a fourth down play. The net result was a catch for four yards.
Hilliard caught one pass for three yards. He was used mostly on punt returns probably because he was used to the swirling winds of Giants Stadium, having played there for the home team.
Becht caught two passes for 16 yards. He fumbled after picking up ten yards and it was recovered by Galloway.
Smith was thrown to seven times but he only managed to pull in two passes for 12 yards.
Bryant hit his only kick attempt, a 43 yard field goal.
Tampa Bay did a decent job of keeping the Giantsí running game in check. They kept Tiki Barber well under his 5.0 yards per rush average. They did give up a rushing touchdown to Brandon Jacobs after the turnover set the Giants up with a short field. Where the Tampa defense did not succeed was in tackling. They are getting caught trying to arm tackle too much.
The Tampa Bay pass defense gave up just 154 yards but did allow a short passing touchdown to Burress. They sacked Manning twice. On one of those sacks, Simeon Rice forced a fumble but it was recovered by Manning.
|QB Eli Manning, Pass: 16 - 31 - 154 - 1 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 1 - -1 - 0|
Manning completed 16 of 31 passes for 154 and one touchdown. Manning managed the game well, avoiding the passes he sometimes seems to just throw up or grabs. His favorite target was Plaxico Burress, throwing to him 11 times and finding him in the back of the end zone for the first touchdown of the game. He also connected with Burress on a wind blown 25 yard pass that led to the second touchdown for the Giants.
|RB Tiki Barber, Rush: 26 - 68 - 0, Rec: 3 - 20 - 0 (3 targets)|
Barber ran for just 68 yards on 26 carries. His longest run was 22 yards. He also caught three passes for 20 yards. While Barber didnít gain many yards per carry, he helped the Giants control the clock. Barber did get a rare carry inside the five yard line. He picked up two yards to the one yard line. As they have done all year, Barber then came out and Jacobs got the glory with a one yard touchdown run.
Jacobs carried seven times for 41 yards and a touchdown. As has become the normal style, he was inserted into the game replacing Barber at the goal line. Jacobs ran hard and is proving to be very difficult to take down.
Finn caught the only pass thrown to him. It was good for eight yards and a first down. That drive ended with the touchdown to Burress.
Burress caught seven balls for 86 yards. The Giantsí first touchdown was caught by Burress on a high pass in the back of the end zone. In tight coverage, he went up and caught the pass with one hand. On their second scoring drive, Manning hit Burress on a 25 yard pass play. Burress had to wait for the ball to float to him in the wind and it allowed Tampa to make the tackle. He had the defense beat and in normal weather conditions, it would have been an easy score.
|WR Amani Toomer, Rush: 1 - 0 - 0, Rec: 1 - 12 - 0 (3 targets)|
Toomer caught just one pass for 12 yards. Manning only looked his way three times, two of which were on third down plays. Toomer also ran an end around but was stopped for no gain.
Shockey had three catches for 15 yards. Manning looked his way five times on third/fourth down pass plays. He dropped a couple of passes that hit him in the hands.
Shiancoe had a rare catch but it turned out to be a big one. His 13 yard catch on second and nine put the Giants at the Tampa ten yard line. Two plays later Manning threw the touchdown to Burress.
Feely made all three of his kicks. He had a 31 yard field goal and two extra points.
The New York rush defense was dominant in this game. They held Tampa Bay to just 40 yards on the ground. What made the effort even more impressive was the fact that three of the Giantsí starters were out with injuries. Umenyiora, Arrington and Madison all were out of the starting lineup. Brandon Short also left the game early on with a quad injury. Overall the Giantsí defense forced six fumbles although they only recovered one of them.
The pass defense played very well, giving up just 139 passing yards. They had two sacks of Gradkowski. The Giantsí defense held Tampa Bay to just nine yards of offense on their first six possessions.