The Bucs dominated the Giants early on, but kicking woes prevented them from really putting the game away. Instead, Eli Manning led his team back as he kept finding Odell Beckham Jr. down the field. But Winston had the last laugh, as he led his team down the field and Nick Folk hit the chip shot to give the Bucs a 25-23 win.
Jameis Winston had a strong game, completing 22 of 38 passes for 332 yards and three touchdowns with no turnovers. The Bucs had little trouble creating explosive plays against a weak Giants defense. Jacquizz Rodgers consistently found room to run, racking up 83 yards on 16 carries, while Cameron Brate went off for 80 yards and a touchdown on four catches.
Mike Evans' touchdown grab pic.twitter.com/nWWqPdYAp3— Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@TBBuccaneers) October 1, 2017
That should have given the Bucs a commanding lead, but the team kept leaving points on the field. Nick Folk missed two field goals and an extra point, while the Bucs offense stalled from the half-yard line at the end of the first quarter. Who knew that tossing the ball to the outside is not a good short-yardage play?
In other words: the Bucs left ten easy points on the field through their own silly mistakes. Add in a late missed two-point conversion, and that’s twelve points. It’s hard to win games like that, and a 13-0 first-quarter lead turned into a 17-16 third-quarter deficit, despite strong play by the Bucs offense.
The defense wasn’t as strong as it had been in week two, but it certainly wasn’t as bad as it looked last game. Early on they just shut down Eli Manning and company, though they started to break later on. Vernon Hargreaves in particular struggled to stop Odell Beckham Jr. (but then who doesn’t?), and the pass rush started to falter, too. Brent Grimes and Gerald McCoy were the only defenders holding up their end throughout the game.
The fourth quarter went back and forth. The Bucs found Cameron Brate for the touchdown to take a 22-17 lead (after a missed two-point conversion), but Eli Manning marched straight down the field and turned it into a 23-22 game with his own missed two-pointer.
Jameis Winston then did what he does: lead the team down the field, and give the ball to Nick Folk to win the game.
Now the Bucs prepare to host the New England Patriots on Thursday night. Upside: Doug Martin returns!