The Giants gave it all they had on Sunday to erase a two-touchdown deficit and battle back for yet another thrilling victory against Tampa Bay. There were many ups and downs throughout the course of the game, but here is a look at the five key plays that shaped the Giants' Week 2 win in MetLife Stadium.
Unable to capitalize on the goal line. Similar to Week 1 when the Giants had to settle for a field goal despite having a first-and-goal from Dallas' one-yard line, the offense was presented with a similar situation again in the first quarter against Tampa Bay. The Giants worked their way down to a first-and-goal at the two-yard line, but that's when things unraveled temporarily as Will Beatty – playing the jumbo tight end – couldn't catch a pass in the end zone from Eli Manning. Ahmad Bradshaw then took the handoff on the next down for one yard, and David Diehl was injured on the play. Then Beatty was called for a false start and Manning couldn't hook up with Martellus Bennett on third down. Even though Lawrence Tynes' 24-yard field goal gave the Giants a 6-3 lead late in the first quarter, not wrapping up a touchdown proved costly as the Buccaneers were able to find the end zone on the ensuing drive.
Manning's third interception is the costliest. Down by four, the Giants' offense had a chance to take the lead heading into halftime. Starting at their own 25 with 53 seconds left, Manning hit Hakeem Nicks once and Victor Cruz twice for sizable gains, leading the Giants into Tampa territory. However, any momentum was quickly erased by Manning's interception on third down, which was returned 60 yards by cornerback Eric Wright for a touchdown. The Buccaneers took a 24-13 lead into the locker room.
Webster turns the tables. Settling for another field goal, the air was let out of MetLife Stadium late in the third quarter as fans found their defending Super Bowl champs down by 11 late in the third quarter. They were also on the verge of an 0-2 start against a team that had won only four games the previous year. But then safety Kenny Phillips delivered a big hit on wide receiver Vincent Jackson for an incomplete pass that sparked the sideline and the stadium. On the next play, Corey Webster picked off Josh Freeman, handing the ball over to his offense at Tampa's 36 heading into the fourth quarter.
Manning to Cruz, just like old times. If a fourth-quarter comeback wasn't familiar enough for the Giants' faithful, how about Manning dialing up Victor Cruz when the team needed it most? That's what happened after the defense forced a key three-and-out, and Manning hooked up with Cruz for an 80-yard touchdown deep down the right sideline. Not to be overshadowed was running back Andre Brown's successful two-point conversion run, which tied the game at 27-27. The comeback was complete, for the time being.
Replay Assistant reverses ruling. From Martellus Bennett's catch in the end zone to the defense giving up a long score and Brown's final go-ahead touchdown, every play in the final six minutes of the game shaped the outcome. However, in the back-and-forth closing minutes, the Giants saw the light at the end of the tunnel with a seven-point lead with 25 seconds remaining. That's when Tampa Bay's offense took the field for one last attempt and made things interesting with a quick 19-yard pickup through the air. On the next play, Mike Williams seemingly caught a 29-yard pass and was knocked out of bounds by Antrel Rolle at the Giants' 19 with 12 seconds remaining. However, the completion was challenged by the Replay Assistant, who ruled the pass was incomplete as the receiver lost control out of bounds. Michael Boley then came up with an interception on the next play, bringing Manning and company on the field to take a knee and seal the victory.