Bucs fans had much to cheer about Monday night after defeating the Giants 30-10 in front of a packed home crowd.
- Mike Evans scored his 72nd career touchdown to surpass Mike Alstott for most in franchise history.
- The Buccaneers honored John Lynch for the Hall of Fame and gave him his Ring of Excellence.
- Snapped their 2-game losing streak.
After a couple of slow starts on offense in back-to-back losses to New Orleans and Washington, it was key that the Bucs script a good first drive and get off to a quick start, and that they did.
The first drive of the game was executed to near perfection with a balanced attack. The drive saw quick tosses to OJ Howard and Chris Godwin. An unsuspecting reverse hand-off to Mike Evans set the team up in New York territory, leading to a deep ball to Cameron Brate out of the shotgun. The drive was capped off with a 13-yard touchdown to Godwin off a screen pass. Several Brady-style play designs kept the offense moving on the first drive, and the deep ball eventually presented itself.
The Giants came into the game averaging just about one receiving touchdown a game, and they were able to maintain that average. A quick pass to Evans resulted in an uncharacteristic ball popping through his hands for a Giants interception, setting New York up with great starting field position. An unexpected touchdown pass to Giants LT, Andrew Thomas leveled the game at 10 in the second quarter. That touchdown would end up being the last points of the game for the Giants.
The return of TE Rob Gronkowski was a major boost for the offense. Excited to make his return, Gronkowski had a big 45-yard play on a third-down conversion. Before his injury, Gronkowski had 4 touchdowns in 2 games, so Bucs fans in attendance were wondering if Gronkowski’s presence would prevent them from seeing Mike Evans’s record-breaking touchdown. It didn’t, and it turns out he didn’t give the ball away, either. Tom Brady looked more comfortable, knowing that his favorite security blanket was on the field with him. Brady looked so poised that Bucs fans thought they had a duel-threat quarterback when he scrambled for the 11-yard first down in the second quarter.
The Bucs secondary was able to have a much-improved game with the return of Sean Murphy-Bunting’s to action.
The Giants immediately tested Murphy-Bunting by attacking him early and drawing a pass interference penalty on him. The Giants thought they might be able to catch him out of football form; after missing 8 games with a dislocated elbow, but he settled into the game after the penalty call, and the Bucs defense as a whole was able to limit the deep ball. Bruce Arians was asked about Murphy-Bunting’s play after the game, and he replied, “Way better than I expected.”
Giants quarterback Daniel Jones only finished with 167 yards passing on the night and averaged about 5 yards a throw, and the Bucs improved their ranking to 8th in total defense.
The Bucs, who have been struggling with self-inflicted mistakes all season, weren’t able to completely solve those issues Monday night.
On the final drive of the half, a big play to Godwin would have set up the Bucs near the goal line, but it was called back due to a drive-killing holding call on Tristan Wirfs.
Tom Brady did an excellent job of distributing the football, with most of his weapons seeing targets. Cameron Brate jokingly said on the Bucs Bonus show that his goal would be to record 5 more touchdowns the rest of the season, but I’m sure he’s pleased with an increase in targets and a victory. Mike Evans recorded 6 receptions for 73 yards, Chris Godwin recorded 6 receptions for 65 yards, and even newly activated WR, Breshad Perriman, saw 4 targets on the night.
Overall, the Bucs played complementary football. Although a few things didn’t go exactly the way as planned, the team’s talent was too much for the Giants to overcome.
The Buccaneers improve their home record to 5-0 on the year. Next up is a trip to Indianapolis to face the Colts on Sunday.