AT A GLANCE: Daniel Jones’ first NFL start had a little bit of everything, including a victory. The rookie sixth overall draft choice ran in a seven-yard touchdown with 1:16 remaining for a 32-31 Giants victory over the Buccaneers. Jones, who had four total touchdowns on the afternoon, led the Giants back from an 18-point deficit for their first win of the season. The Buccaneers nearly spoiled the comeback with a last-second field goal, but Matt Gay missed a 34-yard attempt wide right as time expired.
UP NEXT: The 1-2 Giants return to MetLife Stadium for back-to-back home games, beginning with a visit from the Washington Redskins, who are searching for their first win on Monday night against the Chicago Bears. The Giants split the 2018 season series with the Redskins.
WHAT WE LEARNED ABOUT THE OFFENSE:
*In his first NFL start, Daniel Jones completed his first four passes for 53 yards, including gains of 26 yards to wide receiver Sterling Shepard and 18 yards to tight end Evan Engram. It led to a field goal as the Giants scored on their opening drive for the third consecutive game. Jones showed his legs on the first play of the second quarter, scrambling for 11 yards to convert a third-and-five. Fittingly, his first NFL touchdown came later that drive on a seven-yard designed run. His first touchdown pass? A 75-yarder to Engram on the first play of the third quarter.
*Jones finished 23 of 36 for 336 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. He ran four times for 28 yards and two more scores. The sixth overall pick, however, did lose two fumbles on strips by Shaquil Barrett, who recorded four sacks in the game. Jones had fumbled three times in the preseason and lost two of them.
*On Thursday, Saquon Barkley said, “I think the head coach [Bruce Arians] over there made it kind of known what the game plan is for them, and that’s to stop the run. That’s going to be the mindset of a lot of teams this year.” He was right. The Buccaneers geared up to stop Barkley and limited him to 10 yards on eight carries before he was forced to leave in the second quarter with an ankle injury on a tackle by safety Mike Edwards. He did not return.
*Down 28-10 heading into the locker room, the Giants got a much-needed quick strike to start the second half. Engram took a short pass from Jones and turned it into a 75-yard touchdown on the first play. Pat Shurmur kept the offense on the field for a two-point conversion attempt, which was successful on a Jones-to-Shepard pass. It cut the deficit to 10 points just with all but 12 seconds left in the second half.
*Rookie wide receiver Darius Slayton made his NFL debut after dealing with a hamstring injury for much of the summer. The fifth-round draft choice hauled in a 46-yard pass from Jones to set up a seven-yard touchdown from Shepard to pull the Giants within three points in the third quarter.
WHAT WE LEARNED ABOUT THE DEFENSE:
*Despite their struggles in the first two weeks, the Giants had not allowed any points on their opponent’s first possession – until Sunday. Jameis Winston led a 10-play, 75-yard touchdown drive, which running back Peyton Barber kept alive with a three-yard run on fourth-and-one at the Giants 41. Four plays later, Winston found Mike Evans in the end zone for a 21-yard touchdown. They connected for three touchdowns in the first half alone.
*The Giants allowed 311 yards and 16 first downs in the first half as the Buccaneers scored on all six of their possessions (three touchdowns, three field goals). In the second half, they allowed three points.
*Evans didn’t have a catch in the second half until a 44-yarder with 13 seconds remaining. It set up the potential game-winning field goal, which Gay did not convert.
*Safety Jabrill Peppers was on the wrong end of the new pass interference rules. After he wasn’t initially penalized on a deep pass for tight end O.J. Howard, Cardinals coach Bruce Arians challenged it and the play was reversed to a penalty.
*Linebacker and defensive co-captain Alec Ogletree left in the first half with a hamstring injury, which occurred on a fumble return that was then overturned as an incomplete pass. Rookie Ryan Connelly took over his play-calling duties in the huddle and intercepted Winston in the fourth quarter for Giants’ first takeaway of the year.
*Outside linebacker Markus Golden had four quarterback hits, including two of the Giants’ four sacks.
WHAT WE LEARNED ABOUT SPECIAL TEAMS:
*The Buccaneers scored a touchdown on each of their first two drives, but both extra point attempts were unsuccessful. Matt Gay missed the first one, and the Giants blocked the second.
*Antonio Hamilton made another impact play on the punt team, tackling Bobo Wilson for a loss of two yards in the second quarter. Last week, he caught Riley Dixon’s punt before it bounced in the end zone and flung it with two hands over his helmet to Cody Core, who downed it at the two-yard line.
INJURY REPORT: RB Saquon Barkley (ankle), LB Alec Ogletree (hamstring), LB Tae Davis (evaluated for possible concussion).
INACTIVES: NYG – WR Cody Latimer (concussion), QB Alex Tanney, CB Julian Love, G Chad Slade, OT Eric Smith, TE Kaden Smith, TE Garrett Dickerson. TB – LB Devante Bond (hamstring), CB Jamel Dean (ankle), QB Blaine Gabbert (left shoulder), LB Devin White (knee), OLB Devante Bond, G Zack Bailey, OT Jerald Hawkins, TE Tanner Hudson.
LINEUP CHANGES: NYG – Bennie Fowler for Latimer at WR. TB – Kevin Minter for White at ILB.