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Sean Murphy-Bunting’s interception set up Mike Evans' go-ahead touchdown reception, and the Bucs held off the Giants 25-23 Monday at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.
Leading 17-15 early in the fourth quarter, New York was threatening to add to its advantage when it drove to the Tampa Bay 39-yard line.
But Bucs linebacker Shaquil Barrett pressured Giants quarterback Daniel Jones into the second of two awful throws in the game, both resulting in interceptions.
Murphy-Bunting picked off Jones' pass for Golden Tate, giving the Tampa Bay possession at its 34 with 12:12 remaining.
A 20-yard pass from Tom Brady to Tyler Johnson moved the ball to the Giants 42. Brady then connected with tight end Cameron Brate for 25 yards, and the Bucs picked up another nine when Isaac Yiadom was penalized for lowering the head to initiate contact.
Brady found Evans for an eight-yard touchdown on the next play, putting Tampa Bay ahead 22-17.
After a defensive stop, Tampa Bay tacked on three more points on a 38-yard Ryan Succop field goal, his fourth of the game.
Trailing 25-17 with less than four minutes remaining, the Giants needed a touchdown and a two-point conversion to tie the game.
And they nearly did.
Starting at its 35, New York drove 65 yards — converting two fourth downs along the way — and scored on a 19-yard pass from Jones to Tate, who made a leaping grab over Murphy-Bunting in the back of the end zone, with 33 seconds remaining.
Jones' two-point conversion pass for Dion Lewis was incomplete, but there was a flag on the play. However, officials conferred and ruled that there was no foul on the play from Antoine Winfield Jr., who ran into Lewis as the ball arrived.
The Bucs improved to 6-2. The Giants fell to 1-7.
Deep throw leads to Giants field goal
After missing on a couple of deep throws earlier in the game, the Giants finally connected late in the third quarter, as Evan Engram made an over-the-shoulder catch on a Daniel Jones throw for a 30-yard gain to the Bucs' 15.
But a holding penalty on the next play pushed New York back to the 25, and it eventually had to settle for a 33-yard field goal from Graham Gano and a 17-15 lead with 15 seconds remaining in the quarter.
Bucs' offense finding its rhythm
The Bucs' offense began to find its rhythm midway through the third quarter, driving 67 yards for a go-ahead touchdown and their first lead since the first quarter.
Tom Brady was 3-of-3 for 39 yards on the drive, including a three-yard scoring pass to tight end Rob Gronkowski.
A two-point conversion pass for Mike Evans was incomplete, and the Bucs led 15-14 with just over six minutes left in the third quarter.
He completed passes of 16 yards to Gronkowski and 20 to Evans earlier on the drive.
Ronald Jones ran twice for 14 yards, and the Bucs picked up 14 yards on a pass interference penalty against James Bradberry.
Bucs turn pick into points
The second half started inauspiciously for the Bucs, as the Giants' Dion Lewis returned the kickoff 45 yards to the New York 44.
But the Tampa Bay defense quickly made up for it, as Shaq Barrett forced Daniel Jones to under-throw Sterling Shepard, and Carlton Davis intercepted the pass and returned it to the Bucs' 42.
Had Jones looked the other way, he would have seen that Darius Slayton had beaten Jamel Dean and was streaking wide open down the left sideline.
The Bucs turned the turnover into three points, as Ryan Succop’s 43-yard field goal pulled them back to within 14-9 five minutes into the third quarter.
Giants lead Bucs 14-6 at halftime
Ryan Succop’s second field goal narrowed the Bucs' deficit to the Giants to 14-6 at halftime Monday at Metlife Stadium.
Succop converted from 40 yards with seven seconds remaining in the half.
He was good from 37 yards in the first quarter.
Trailing 14-3, the Bucs drove 53 yards in eight plays to the Giants 23. But a Tom Brady pass to Mike Evans on third and two was a yard short of a first down, and Tampa Bay had to settle for a field goal.
Gallman run extends Giants' lead to 11
Wayne Gallman’s two-yard run with just under two minutes remaining in the first half extended the Giants' lead over the Bucs to 14-3.
Gallman’s run off left tackle capped a 10-play, 77-yard drive.
Daniel Jones completed passes of 14 and 11 yards to Darius Slayton, 11 to Sterling Shepard and 12 to Evan Engram on the drive.
The big play was a 17-yard Gallman run to the Bucs' 46.
First sign of frustration
ESPN cameras caught Bucs quarterback Tom Brady twice banging his helmet on the bottom of the bench after a second-quarter sack that ended a drive near midfield.
Trailing 7-3, Tampa Bay drove 39 yards from its 8 to its 47. Brady connected with Mike Evans for 14 yards and Scotty Miller for nine on the drive.
But facing third and 10 from the Bucs 47, Brady was sacked by Leonard Williams, losing eight yards and forcing a punt.
Bucs pin Giants deep
Bucs special-teams player Ross Cockrell showed great balance and field awareness to keep a Bradley Pinion punt out of the end zone, and Kevin Minter downed the ball at the Giants 4 late in the first quarter.
The result was a 44-yard punt.
New York escaped the shadow of its end zone, driving 63 yards on 11 plays to the Tampa Bay 33.
But Devin White sacked Daniel Jones for an 11-yard loss on third and seven, pushing the Giants out of field-goal range and forcing a punt.
Fumble leads to Giants touchdown
A turnover deep in Bucs territory led to a Giants touchdown that gave New York its first lead of the game with just over four minutes left in the first quarter.
Ronald Jones was getting up from his knees after catching a three-yard pass from Tom Brady when Blake Martinez stripped the ball out of his hands and Darnay Holmes recovered at the Tampa Bay 12.
After a pass for no gain and an incompletion, a neutral zone infraction against Bucs linebacker Shaquil Barrett moved the ball to the 7.
Dion Lewis made a sliding catch behind linebacker Devin White to put the Giants ahead 7-3.
Succop field goal gives Bucs early lead
The Bucs turned their opening drive into three points as Ryan Succop converted a 37-yard field goal.
Tampa Bay drove 57 yards in 11 plays to the New York 18 before Tom Brady overthrew Jaydon Mickens in the end zone on third and five.
The big play was a 19-yard completion from Brady to Scotty Miller near the left sideline to the Giants 41. Brady also had completions of 10 yards to Cameron Brate and nine yards to Mickens on the drive.
Ronald Jones ran four times for 16 yards and caught a pass for three yards.
The Bucs' inactives include wide receivers Chris Godwin and Cyril Grayson, quarterback Ryan Griffin, guard Aaron Stinnie and defensive lineman Kahlil Davis.
The Bucs are wearing red jerseys (with pewter pants) for the first time this season.
The Giants are dressed in white tops and bottoms.
There are no fans in the stands at cold MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.
Bucs get shot at redemption
Jason Pierre-Paul knew Daniel Jones was going to run with the ball.
But, stuck at home nursing a broken neck suffered in an offseason car accident, the Bucs outside linebacker could only watch as the Giants quarterback scrambled 7 yards up the middle for the winning touchdown in last year’s 32-31 Tampa Bay loss.
Tonight, Pierre-Paul will be able to do something about it.
Head coach Bruce Arians seemed to take the ball out of quarterback Jameis Winston’s hands following a fourth-quarter interception, hindering the Bucs' best chance to put away a game they once led by 18 points.
Tonight, Tom Brady will be directing Tampa Bay’s offense, and trust will no longer be an issue.
The Bucs know they’re a better team than the one that lost to the Bears on a nationally televised Thursday night game last month in Chicago. They lost one opportunity to change the nation’s perception when last week’s game was moved out of the Sunday night prime-time slot.
Tonight, on Monday Night Football, the Bucs will have another chance to prove themselves to a national audience.
Follow along, starting at 8:15, as the Bucs (5-2) get a shot at redemption against the Giants (1-6) at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. Win, and they’ll not only shake the memory of last season’s embarrassing loss, they’ll further their case as the top team in the NFC, with their sixth win in their past seven games.
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A little light reading
Here’s some of our content leading up to today’s game: