East Rutherford, New Jersey- The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have already had a ‘trap game’ when they faced the Chicago Bears in week 5. That game ended up becoming a 20-19 loss in a lackluster effort by the Buccaneers on offense and defense.
Facing a 1-6 New York Giants team, the Buccaneers had reason to see another trap game coming with a huge division matchup with the New Orleans Saints looming. But this time around, Tampa Bay made sure to not allow the game to slip away. The Buccaneers’ defense came up big, picking off Giants’ quarterback Daniel Jones twice in a narrow 25-23 win on Monday Night Football at MetLife Stadium.
Tampa Bay improved to 6-2 for the first time since 2002, the season in which the Buccaneers won the Super Bowl. The win was a milestone in that regard and the Buccaneers kept pace with the surging Saints, who defeated the Bears 26-23 in overtime. The Buccaneers hold just a half-game lead on New Orleans in the NFC South and will host the Saints on Sunday Night Football at Raymond James Stadium.
It looked like Tampa Bay’s offense would have themselves a big day, as the Buccaneers (6-2) on their first possession steadily drove down the field on a drive that looked like it would end with a touchdown. Instead, the Giants’ defense stiffened and held Tampa Bay to a Ryan Succop field goal and the Bucs would take the initial 3-0 lead.
Despite all the issues Daniel Jones has had this season under center for New York, the second-year quarterback looked comfortable against Tampa Bay’s vaunted defense. Jones connected with Dion Lewis on a touchdown pass in the first quarter and gave New York a 7-3 lead. The nearly unthinkable happened in the second quarter when the Giants took a seemingly commanding 14-3 lead after a 2-yard Wayne Gallman touchdown run.
Tampa Bay’s offense needed to work quickly heading into halftime and Brady was able to guide the Bucs to another Succop field goal. The Buccaneers sorely missed wide receiver Chris Godwin who was out with an injury to his finger. Head coach Bruce Arians explained after the game that Jayden Mickens replaced Godwin. The addition of wide receiver Antonio Brown should help alleviate any concerns moving forward when it comes to explosive playmaking in case Godwin or Mike Evans is out.
Brady had himself a solid game, despite some erratic play around him. A Ronald Jones’ fumble helped the Giants with their first touchdown and after that, a couple sacks given up by the offensive line also hurt. The 6-time Super Bowl champion ended the night completing 28-of-40 passes for 279 yards and two touchdowns. A late 2-point conversion stop by Tampa Bay’s defense ended up being the deciding factor at the end.
Andy Villamarzo can be reached at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @avillamarzo.