EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — The New York Giants are on a winning streak! The Giants routed the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 38-35, on Sunday at MetLife Stadium. The Giants have won two straight and are now 3-7. The victory was their first of the season at MetLife Stadium in five tries.
The Giants finally sealed a wild game when B.W. Webb intercepted a deep pass by Jameis Winston with 13 seconds to play, the Giants’ fourth interception of the game. The Bucs had scored touchdowns on their four previous possessions since Winston replaced starting quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick.
Coach Pat Shurmur said the nail-biting victory was “hard on the heart.”
The Giants got the four turnovers, including a Pick 6 from linebacker Alec Ogletree, and a fourth-down stop.
“Four turnovers is outta sight, plus a stop on fourth down, which is essentially a turnover,” Shurmur said. “That was awesome.”
At 3-7, the Giants are now only 3 games out of first place in the NFC East after the Redskins lost to the Houston Texans, 23-21. The Redskins also lost their starting quarterback when Alex Smith was carted off with an ankle injury.
“Crazy, isn’t it?” asked Shurmur. “That’s what I said through the first eight weeks. You just gotta keep playing. You never know.”
Eli Manning completed his first 11 passes and finished 17-of-18 for 231 yards and 2 touchdowns. Manning’s passer rating of 155.2 was his best since he went 19-of-26 for 268 yards and 3 touchdowns against the Washington Redskins on Dec. 21, 2009 as the Giants won, 45-12.
“I think there is some excitement going around,” Manning said. “It is good. It is a good feeling to have in the locker room and you see some growth, You see the improvement. You see guys getting familiar with their spots and what they are doing.”
The 38 points the Giants scored were their most since a 52-49 loss to the New Orleans Saints in Week 8 of the 2015 season.
Saquon Barkley had his best rushing game as a pro and his ninth 100-yard game from scrimmage in 10 NFL games. He rushed 27 times for 142 yards and two touchdowns, and caught two passes for 10 yards and another score.
Odell Beckham Jr. caught four passes for 74 yards and a touchdown.
The Buccaneers ended up with 510 total yards of offense, but the turnovers and the fourth-down stop proved to be enough to help the Giants win a shootout with Tampa Bay.
“This was our first victory in front of the home crowd,” Shurmur said. “We were thrilled we were able to do that. It’s too damn late in the year for it to be the first one ... I’m just glad that they (fans) were able to watch a victory.”
Pat Shurmur talking about the play of Eli Manning and the offense in the Giants' 38-35 victory on Sunday, their highest-scoring game since 2015. pic.twitter.com/zE4AeLDeZN— Big Blue View (@bigblueview) November 19, 2018
Moments that mattered
Two quick scores: The Giants scored on their first two possessions.
They went 63 yards in 6 plays for a touchdown on their opening possession, with the score coming on a 6-yard pass from Manning to Barkley.
The Giants took their first two-score lead of the season on their second possession, going 95 yards in 12 plays (6:36) with Saquon Barkley going 5 yards for the touchdown. That gave the Giants a 14-0 lead with 13:37 left in the half, their biggest lead of the season.
The Bucs scored on fourth-and-goal from the 1-yard line when Fitzpatrick scrambled in to make it 14-7.
Fourth-down stop: After the Giants’ opening score, Tampa Bay drove to the Giants’ 5-yard line before Fitzpatrick was stopped on fourth-and-1.
Michael Thomas bails out OV: The Giants missed a scoring opportunity late in the first half when a drive stalled at the Tampa Bay 37-yard line after Manning and Barkley missed connections on a third-and-2 wheel route with Barkley unable to haul in a throw that was behind him.
The Bucs got a break when a third-and-10 roughing the passer penalty on Olivier Vernon gave the Bucs a first down at their 49. Vernon then committed neutral zone infractions on back-to-back plays, pushing the ball to the Giants’ 41-yard line and giving the Bucs an opportunity to tie the game before halftime. Michael Thomas intercepted a Ryan Fitzpatrick pass intended for O.J. Howard at the Giants’ 13-yard line, though, ending the threat with 30 seconds left in the half.
A Pick 6: The Bucs got the ball to start the second half and Alec Ogletree gave the Giants a 21-7 lead on the second play of the half. He picked off a Fitzpatrick pass for DeSean Jackson that Janoris Jenkins batted into the air, returning it 15 yards for a touchdown just 37 seconds into the half.
FitzMagic fizzles: Fitzpatrick got replaced by Jameis Winston late in the third quarter with the Giants ahead 24-7. Fitzpatrick finished 13-of-21 for 167 yards and three interceptions, which came on the final three possessions he played.
Winston led the Bucs on four straight touchdown drives, and this was a 38-35 game in favor of the Giants with 2:22 to play.
The Giants answer: Needing to do something to stem the Buccaneers’ momentum after the Bucs got within 31-28 with 5:11 to play, the Giants’ offense answered. A 54-yard pass from Manning to Evan Engram put the ball at the Tampa Bay 11-yard line. Three straight handoffs to Barkley, the last a 2-yard touchdown run, gave the Giants a 38-28 lead with 3:52 to play.
Giants’ defensive end Kerry Wynn left the game in the third quarter after suffering a concussion.
The Giants go down the road to Lincoln Financial Field to face the Philadelphia Eagles next Sunday. The Eagles defeated the Giants 34-13 in a Week 6 game at MetLife Stadium.