In a tug and pull Monday Night Football matchup between the Bucs and the Giants, we saw a nail biter until the very end. The game ended in a 25-23 victory for the road team in Tampa Bay. There was a debatable non-call at the end of the game that could have potentially given the Giants the second chance they needed. With a two point conversion at the end, Brady would have gotten the ball with time on the clock, which proves to be no guarantee that the Giants would have won, but this game was a lot closer than it should have been.
For starters, the Giants could have easily scored close to 40 points if they connected on their shot plays. For whatever reason, the secondary seemed to be picked on all throughout the game and was giving the Giants receivers anything they wanted. On top of that, their defense was playing lights out all game, only conceding two touchdowns to the Bucs, which is great because they are a top five scoring team in the league. They are also 23/23 in goal-to-go conversions with all 23 being touchdowns. The Giants kept them out of the red zone for most of the game and that was a key factor to this game being as close as it was. Daniel Jones and his receivers couldn’t get on the same page down the field though, and missed out on a few big plays that would have resulted in touchdowns.
Now I have been praising this defense all year as the strongest factor of this team thus far, and they proved it again. If we are looking at the end result, giving up 23 points on the road is not a bad day, but the Giants who are only averaging 18 points a game (after this game), this was a good day for them. Jamel Dean seemed to be the target corner in the game plan, and they were attacking him with whoever was matched up against him. More teams may see this as the weak link in this defense, as the linebacking core is arguably the best in football, and the defensive line is littered with studs.
They did produce a couple of interceptions, but this has to be taken with a grain of salt. Daniel Jones had the second most passing yards of the year in this game, and although he threw two interceptions, again I reiterate, there were at least three plays in which busted coverages should have led to touchdowns.
Tampa’s depleted offense struggled to move the ball and could not convert those long drawn out drives into touchdowns as they usually have. Being held to field goals was an issue, but it is something that could’ve been fixed. On the final drive, they had a 4th & short on the Giants side of the field and they should have gone for it. If they were to get that, they could have bled the clock out and New York would have not touched the ball again. They chose to kick the field goal to go up eight points, and that ended up being the deciding factor, given the Giants needed the two point conversion to win.
The only thing is, the way that their defense was playing, it made it risky to take the points and give New York so much time to tie the game. Playing for overtime on the road is something that I don’t think championship level teams should be doing, especially against an opponent like the Giants. Good news is, next week Antonio Brown can help them move the chains and continue those long drives for Brady to lead this team to the promised land.