Coming off a loss in the season opener to the Dallas Cowboys, the 0-1 New York Giants knew 0-2 was not the start they wanted for their 2012 campaign. Standing in there way was the young, talented, and fresh faced Tampa Bay Buccaneers who previously beat the Cam Newton led Carolina Panthers. For a game that started off as a disaster for the defending champs, it turned into another Eli Manning engineered comeback, as the Giants defeated the Buccanears 41-34. Let's disect the offensive, and defensive performances for each team:
Eli Manning didn't start off the way he wanted with 3 first half interceptions, which lead to an 11 point lead for the Buccs. However in the second half Manning got hot, and never turned back. His turn over stretch came to an end, and he lead the offense to multiple scoring drives, especially in the 4th QTR where they scored 25 points. Eli finished with a astounding total of 510 yards, 3 touchdowns, and 3 interceptions. The highlights of Manning's day were an 80 yard touchdown pass to Victor Cruz, and a 33 yard strike to Martellus Bennett to give them the lead in the fourth QTR. Eli will surely work on cutting down on the turnovers, but you can't be mad at the end result from him if your a Giants fan. Eli Manning joined the elusive "500 club" for QBs who have passed for 500 yards or more in a single game, he is 9th out of the 13 QBs.
The rushing attack suffered the early first half lost of starting back Ahmad Bradshaw, however the backup Andre Brown stepped up with a pretty good performance finishing with 13 carries, 71 yards, and 1 touchdown. Brown's touchdown gave the Giants the game clinching lead to win the game. It hurt the team to lose Bradshaw so early (neck injury, X-rays negative, appeared fine on sideline), but the emergence of Brown helped keep the Giants balanced throughout the game. Bradshaw will be looked at closely by the medical staff, but get use to seeing more carries by Brown who has shown he is ready to play when called upon.
Hakeem Nicks, Victor Cruz and tight end Martellus Bennett were dangerous weapons for Eli Manning today. Nicks finished with 10 receptions, 199 yards, and 1 touchdown. Cruz finished with 11 receptions, 177 yards, and 1 touchdown. And Bennett finished with 5 receptions, 75 yards, and 1 touchdown. All three receiving options made the games big time plays such as Nick's 25 yard touchdown reception, Cruz's 80 yard touchdown catch & run, and Bennett's 33 yard touchdown reception that gave the Giant's the lead in the 4th QTR. Hopefully for the G men this starts a pattern in the receiving core, especially if Ahmad Bradshaw and that rushing attack can't get things going.
Josh Freeman also had some issues on offense against the NY Giant defense. However he also made some nice plays in the game, his finest play a 29 yard touchdown pass to receiver Vincent Jackson that had given them the lead in the 2nd QTR. He was doing well for a major portion of the game, and had his team leading when the Giants struggled in the early parts of the game. Freeman finished with 243 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 2 interceptions. Look for Freeman to continue to develop, and build on chemistry with his targets.
Rookie Doug Martin led the Buccs in the rushing category. He had 20 carries, 66 yards, and 1 touchdown. That touchdown was the first of his NFL career, and we should be prepared to see more of that from the talented Rookie back. Martin will be the number 1 back in Tampa Bay for the entire season unless injury, or bad games plaque him.
Vincent Jackson was the receiving leader for the Buccs today, and he looked just as dangerous as he's been for the majority of his career. Jackson was only able to haul in 5 receptions but still managed to finish with 128 yards, and 1 touchdown. He provided big plays for the Buccs against the iffy Giant's secondary. With his big frame, and ability to make big plays he'll with out a doubt be Freeman's top target the entire season.
The Giant's defense gave up a lot of points today, not including Eli's pick six of course. Still they were able to make some game changing plays, and escape this week 2 shoot out with a victory. Jason Pierre Paul, and Linebacker Chase Blackburn recorded the only 2 sacks of the game. Michael Boley, and cornerback Corey Webster were both able to get 1 interception each. The Giant's defense was able to do better keeping the rushing game contained. Look for the G men to focus on their secondary as they prepare for Cam Newton next week.
The Buccanear's defense was doing a good job of stifling the Giant's offense early in the game. They forced Eli Manning to throw 3 first half picks, including the defensive highlight of the game from cornerback Eric Wright with a 60 yard interception return for a touchdown. The team also saw a high tackle total from linebacker Mason Foster with 12, he also had an interception. However in the second half the Giant's passing attack shredded the secondary, and they lost their lead late in the 4th QTR. Look for the Buccs to regroup, and work on sustaining leads.
Thanks for reading 1st & 10's Week 2 game analysis of the New York Giants.
The New York Giants are 1-1, and will head to Bank of America Stadium to face the Carolina Panthers (1-1) Thursday September 20th, at 8:20 pm, on the NFL Network.