Tom Brady and his Tampa Bay Buccaneers were supposed to have an easy time of it when the left the warm confines of South Florida for the cold and rainy weather in East Rutherford, New Jersey to take on the 1-6 New York Giants as 12.5 point favorites.
But apparently no one told Giants QB Daniel Jones and his teammates. What was expected to be a boring Monday Night Football game turned out to be quite a thriller yesterday, with the Bucs holding on for a 25-23 win. The NFL is keeping with its current-season tradition of not letting fans get too comfortable.
The Bucs Only Barely Survive
At halftime, the Giants were up 14-6 against the potent Bucs and bettors holding paper on Tampa Bay were starting to get a bit nervous. But of course, the Bucs still had Tom Terrific and Brady, being who and what he has consistently been, came back from 11 points down in the second half to take the lead and win the game.
The Bucs offense as efficient in the middle of the field but struggled getting into the red zone during the first half and had to settle for 2 field goals from kicker Ryan Succop for their first-half points.
“Second down was what was killing us,” said Tampa Bay head coach Bruce Arians in his post-game interview. “We kept stalling around the 28, 29. We were missing guys and we ended up in third and nines, 10’s, 11’s, when it should have been third and fours and fives. But the second half we kind of fixed it.”
Brady Saves The Day
The Bucs victory marked the third time that Brady had to lead his team back from a double-digit deficit to win the game. Tampa Bay also came back to beat the LA Chargers 38-31 after being behind 24-7. Then, after once again being behind 10 points to the Green Bay Packers back in week 6, Brady and the Bucs made a furious comeback to beat the Pack by a final score of 38-10.
So, in the end, Tom Brady did what he nearly always does and staged a comeback from 11 points down with touchdown passes to his buddy Rob Gronkowski and the dependable WR Mike Evans to seal the victory. Not only did he save the team, but he also set a new record for most touchdown passes, surpassing by one the previous record of 560 held by New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees.
DPI Or No DPI – The Debate Will Rage On
The ending on this game was not without controversy, as Daniel Jones, the heir-apparent to Eli Manning’s legacy with the Giants, threw to Golden Tate in the end zone to bring the Giants to within two points of Tampa Bay with only 28 seconds left in the contest. They went for the two-point conversion to tie the game, and Jones threw a dart to running back Dion Lewis right on the goal line. But, enter rookie safety Antoine Winfield Jr. to break up the pass, at what certainly appeared to be a split-second early, and the pass interference flag came out as Giants fans stood and cheered.
However, the refs picked up the flag and huddled together in conference. In the end, they determined that no foul had been committed on the play, and that was that. There was no defensive pass interference (DPI), no two-point conversion and no tied game. Brady could breathe a sigh of relief at not getting beat by the worst team in the league this season.
After the game Tampa Bay head coach Bruce Arians told reporters, ‘‘We did not find energy fast enough. Credit to Giants head coach Joe Judge, he had his team ready and they played their tails off. But we made enough plays to win the game and you never apologize for wining. We had a very slow start offensively and defensively. I don’t like to see people run on us, but we made the plays that count’’.
Tampa Bay moves to 6-2 and remains on top of the NFC South, ahead of the New Orleans Saints, who they will face in Week 9 when Drew Brees and the Saints come down to Raymond James Stadium to challenge that position.