The New York Giants entered Week 11 as the only NFL team who hadn’t won a home game. They had more than a puncher’s chance against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Sunday at MetLife Stadium. Tampa came in giving up a league-worst 32.3 points per game.
The Giants defeated the Bucs 38-35 for their second consecutive victory.
Eli Manning wasn’t perfect for the Giants…but came pretty close to it. He went 17-of-18 for 231 yards and two touchdowns with a quarterback rating of 155.8. Manning completed 94 percent of his passes, the best single-game completion percentage of his career. He didn’t throw an interception for the second game in a row.
Head coach Pat Shurmur challenged his team to come out strong early and they didn’t disappoint.
The Giants scored on their first two offensive series for the first time this season. They got things going with a 6-play, 63-yard drive culminating with a 6-yard touchdown reception by Saquon Barkley. The Giants’ next offensive series resulted in a 12-play, 95-yard drive capped off a 5-yard touchdown run by Barkley.
Barkley scored another touchdown in the fourth quarter. He finished the day with a career-high 142 yards on 27 carries, two rushing touchdowns, and a receiving touchdown.
The Giants never trailed in the game, at one point holding a 24-7 lead.
The Giants defense made Ryan Fitzpatrick’s afternoon a miserable one. On the Bucs’ first offensive possession, Fitzpatrick was stuffed at the Giants 5 on fourth down to prevent a potential touchdown. He also threw three interceptions including one returned for a touchdown by Alec Ogletree.
Fitzpatrick was pulled after his third pick, finishing 13-of-21 for 167 yards with a rushing touchdown. He was replaced by the embattled Jameis Winston.
Winston breathed life into the Bucs’ offense. He led them to four touchdowns on four consecutive drives. Winston’s touchdown to Mike Evans cut the lead to 38-35 with 2:22 left in the fourth quarter. The Bucs, who burned all their timeouts, got the ball back with 23 seconds remaining after a Giants three-and-out. B.W. Webb picked off Winston on the first play of the final drive to seal a Giants victory.
Winston finished 12-of-16 for 199 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception. Peyton Barber rushed for 106 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries. Evans had six receptions for 120 yards and a touchdown.
Odell Beckham Jr. had four receptions for 74 yards and a touchdown, giving him five touchdowns in the Giants’ last six games. He is now tied with Hall of Famer Frank Gifford for fourth place on the franchise’s all-time receiving touchdowns list. Only Amani Toomer, Kyle Rote, and Joe Morrison caught more touchdowns for the Giants.
Barkley had both a rushing and receiving touchdown in the first half. He is the first Giants rookie running back to accomplish the feat since Butch Woolfork in 1982.
The 38 points are the most since putting up 49 against the New Orleans Saints in a loss during Week 8 of the 2015 season. This is the second time in six games the Giants scored 30 or more points. They hadn’t scored at least 30 in each of the past two seasons.
The Giants have some life in them after losing seven of their first eight games. They travel to the City of Brotherly Love for an all-important divisional matchup against the Philadelphia Eagles next Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field. Kickoff is scheduled for 1:00 PM EST.
– Curtis Rawls is a Managing Editor for Full Press Coverage and covers the NFL, the New York Giants, and the NBA. Please like and follow on Facebook, Twitter, and Twitter. Curtis can be followed on Twitter @CuRawls203.