Tue, 30 Nov 2021

Top Three Takeaways from Giants vs. Buccaneers

Buccaneers
24 Nov 2021, 18:26 GMT+10

Tampa Bay Buccaneers The Buccaneers played up to expectations on Monday Night Football against the Giants, improving to 7-3 on the season and halting their two-game losing skid in front of the home fans. Carmen Vitali

1. The offense started and continued with a clinic.

The Buccaneers' first drive of the game went: pass, pass, wide receiver rush, wide receiver rush, pass, rush, pass, touchdown. When it was over, quarterback Tom Brady was a perfect five-of-five, each play had been the definition of a successful one and in just under four minutes, a very typical amount of time for an offense, the Buccaneers had a 7-0 lead over their opponent. Brady hit four different receivers on the drive and six different skill players were involved in getting the Bucs 73 yards down the field. It was absolutely clinical and the Giants had no answer for it.

From there, the offense would only punt three times the rest of gam, including twice in the fourth quarter with an already substantial lead. Brady finished his night completing 30 of 46 passing attempts for 307 yards and two touchdowns against one interception and was pulled halfway through the fourth in favor of backup Blaine Gabbert. As a team, everyone was on the same page. Ten different receivers caught a pass in Monday night's matchup. Four receivers had exactly six catches and both Chris Godwin and Leonard Fournette, who make up two of those four, caught all of the targets thrown their way.

There wasn't a period in which the offense wasn't in control, save for maybe the tipped interception that set the Giants up at the Bucs' five-yard line in the second quarter. They nearly doubled New York's offensive production, amassing 402 total yards of offense to the Giants' 215. They did it with about 10 more minutes of possession. That was also thanks to a balanced effort where Tampa Bay recorded 94 yards rushing. Heck, like we said before, wide receivers were taking their turns in the rushing game and for that matter - so was Brady. He insists his second-quarter scramble was 11 yards though the official stat sheet has it at 10. Either way, it resulted in a first down and a burst of energy from Brady that's usually reserved for his pregame warmup. But that continued to translate throughout the game. With Brady at the helm, the Bucs converted six of 11 third down attempts for a 55% success rate. It meant extended drives and a little bit of rest for the defense, who played with a ton of energy all night as a result.

2. The defense followed suit.

Speaking of the defense, they never let up. The Giants' first possession spanned the field, getting them as close as the Bucs' 19-yard line before ultimately settling for a field goal when the Tampa Bay defense clamped down. That's as close as they'd get on their own the entire game, in fact. The Giants' only touchdown came after Brady was intercepted on the first play of the Bucs' second drive of the game. Adoree Jackson came up with the tipped ball and returned it to the Tampa Bay five-yard line. It took a pass to an offensive tackle to end up scoring even in that proximity. On the night, the Giants had just 215 yards of offense, with 149 passing yards and 66 rushing yards. Running back Saquon Barkley was held to just 25 yards on six carries in his return from injury. No New York receiver had more than 40 yards. The Giants' average pass play went for just 3.6 yards. They converted just one of nine third-down attempts and just one of three fourth-down attempts.

Meanwhile, this was all with the Bucs missing Vita Vea on the interior. They made up for it with Rakeem Nunez-Roches, who himself was questionable before the game, and some help from outside linebacker Joe Tryon-Shoyinka who played 50% of the team's defensive snaps, which included some on the interior. Defensive tackle Steve McLendon also picked up some extra work and ended up securing the first interception of his career at 35 years old. It was one of two interceptions the Bucs ended up with off Daniel Jones. The other came thanks to a tipped ball by Devin White, who was a one-man wrecking crew all night, into the hands of defensive back Mike Edwards.

The defense did exactly what they were supposed to do a game after nothing seemed to go right and they couldn't get off the field. It still wasn't a perfect effort, but as Head Coach Bruce Arians said after the game in the locker room, "This is what we're capable of."

3. Playing on your own terms makes mistakes manageable.

The reality is that you're not going to have a perfect game, ever. But when you're playing on your terms and playing complementary football, the mistakes don't have as much of an impact. The Bucs still had six penalties in the game, the same amount they had in Washington, but the team was able to recover thanks to a total team effort. Plus, while three of the penalties were pre-snap, one was intentional (the Bucs took a delay of game before punting), another was an illegal substitution on Evans and the lone offsides penalty came early in the game and was called on Jason Pierre-Paul. That can probably be chalked up to him just being excited to play his old team, honestly. But not a single penalty, pre-snap or otherwise, was particularly damning. The team recovered within the drive more often than not. So a week after Brady said they 'never played on their terms' the team turned around and only played on their terms, and their homefield, to break their two-game losing skid.

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