BUCS RECAP – WEEK 11 – NOVEMBER 22
By Leo Haggerty
NEW YORK GIANTS
After losing their last two games sandwiched around a bye week, Tampa Bay needed to come out of the gate hitting on all cylinders and that they did. The Buccaneers scored on their opening drive and never looked back posting a 30-10 victory over the New York Giants at Raymond James Stadium. The triumph moved the Bucs to 7-3 and the loss dropped the G-Men to 3-7.
The Buccaneers took the opening kickoff and march right down the field to put up the first points of the contest at 11:03 of the opening period. QB Tom Brady (30 of 46 for 307 yards and 2 TD plus 1 INT) found WR Chris Godwin (6 for 65 yards and 1 TD) with a quick screen and #14 took it the rest of the way to complete a 14 yard catch and run touchdown. That finished off an eight play drive that travelled 73 yards in 3:57. K Ryan Succop hit the PAT and the Pewter Pirates had a quick 7-0 lead.
The Giants answered that score with one of their own at 4:04 of the first period. K Graham Gano booted a 37 yard field goal that ended a 13 pay drive that consumed 6:59 while going 56 yards. That cut the Tampa Bay lead to 7-3.
The Buccaneers increased their lead at 11:16 of the second period. After an 18 play drive that went 79 yards in 7:48 stalled inside the New York red zone, Succop nailed a 25 yard field goal to put the Pewter Pirates up by a 10-3 count.
The G-Men forced the first turnover of the game and that resulted in points at the 9:14 of the second stanza. After a 52 yard punt by Riley Dixon pinned the Bucs at their own 15 yard line, a Brady pass ricocheted off of WR Mike Evans (6 for 73 yards and 1 TD) right into the arms of CB Adoree Jackson who returned it to the Tampa Bay 5 yard line. From their it took only two plays and 39 seconds for QB Daniel Jones (23 of 38 for 167 yards and 1 TD plus 2 INT) to find eligible Offensive Lineman Andrew Thomas (1 for 2 yards and 1 TD) with a 2 yard aerial. Gano split the uprights with the extra point to knot the score at 10 all.
The Buccaneers retook the lead on their next possession at 5:06 of the second quarter. RB Ronald Jones (8 for 33 yards and 1 TD) scampered six yards around left end to culminate a 71 yard drive that took 8 plays and 4:08 of clock time. Succop converted again to give the Bucs a 17-10 advantage and that would be the score as both teams went to their locker rooms for halftime.
At halftime, former Buccaneer Safety John Lynch had the Hall of Fame logo added to his Ring of Honor banner. A very deserving honor as well as being long overdue and a big thank you goes out to Tampa media icon Ira Kaufman, who was Lynch’s presenter to the Hall of Fame voters, for leading the charge to have #47 inducted. Way to finish the job, Ira.
After stopping the Giants on downs to start the second half, the Bucs stretched their margin at 7:31 of the third period. Brady found Evans just over the goal line with a five yard strike to finish off a 10 play drive that traversed 74 yards in 4:51. Succop was perfect with the PAT to extend the Tampa Bay lead to 24-10.
The Pewter Pirates tacked on more points at 3:53 of the third period. After DL Steve McLendon intercepted a pass, the first in his 12 year NFL career, at the New York 37 yard line, Succop drilled a 45 yard field goal. That concluded a 15 yard drive that took six plays and 2:21 to increase the Bucs advantage to 27-10.
Tampa Bay turned another turnover into the final points of the contest at 7:44 of the fourth quarter. After LB Devin White tipped a pass that S Mike Edwards corralled at the G-Men 39 yard line, Succop converted a 30 yard field goal. That terminated a five play drive that went 27 yards in 2:18 to push the Buccaneers lead to 30-10 securing the victory.
Had a chance to ask and few questions at the postgame press conference. That included HC Bruce Arians and DE Jason Pierre-Paul plus Brady along with Evans plus McLendon finishing off with TE Rob Gronkowski. Their comments are transcribed below.
LH : On the first series of the game on offense, seven of your first eight plays were on the perimeter. Coincidence or did you pick up something on film?
BA : It was just the way it played out. I thought Byron had a great script to start this game and we wanted to use a lot of no huddle. 65 sounds cool for us, but it’s warm to them. Wanted to gas them out a little bit.
LH : You punted right before halftime. If that was the last play of the half, would you have though about giving Pinion a crack at a 62 yard field goal with the wind?
BA : No, not in this game. Had we been up 10, maybe, but not a chance where they can get their hands on it and run it back.
LH : Was the game against Washington an attention getter or a wake up call?
BA : I think both. It’s both. It’s hard to win on the road in this league. If you don’t play like this, with the crowd noise this year and everything back to normal, it’s never been easy on the road. It’s not just us. It’s everybody.
LH : After last week’s loss, you had to wait until Monday to play again. Did that feeling just simmer with you?
JPP : That’s what it had to be. We just had to play together. We had to play as one. It’s the only thing could do. That’s what it is.
LH : You not only get the first down but, on the way, you high step out of a tackle. When’s the last time you did that?
TB : It’s been forever. Probably never. That is not my, that’s not what I do. Good to have it come up. Hopefully, I can do that again next week too. Make a couple of those.
LH : How important was it to set the tone on that first drive?
ME : It was huge. We worked on that extra this week. A little bit extra after practice. We were desperate to get a win tonight and we went out and got one.
LH : Last week, you were dealing with a lot of third-and-shorts. How important was it to stop them on first and second down?
SM : It’s always very important. It’s not just last week or the week before. It’s always very important. When you take the field, you have to play with a passion to stop them. We have to stop them. The thing that I really love to do is take away what they do the best. That’s what we’re suppose to do. Take that away from them.
LH : What gives you more satisfaction. Catching the ball for a first down or digging the Mike out of the hole so the running back can make a first down?
RG : That depends on the situation. Depends on how many catches I have that game already and how many blocks I had that game. I really like to split it up. I’m not a guy that wants to run a route every single play. I’m not a guy that likes to block every single play either. That’s why tight bend is a perfect position for me. It depends on the situation. If you grind, and you get a good block, that feels pretty good. If you grind and get a good block so the running back gets a first down, that’s always a good situation.