AT A GLANCE
Say this for the Giants - they play close, exciting games. But they must start winning more of them. On Monday night, they lost to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in MetLife Stadium, 25-23. The Giants' last three games – a win and two losses – have been decided by a total of four points.
For the second consecutive game, the Giants led in the fourth quarter, holding a 17-15 advantage with 10 minutes remaining. The Bucs jumped ahead, 25-17 before the Giants drove 70 yards in 13 plays, the last a 19-yard touchdown pass from Daniel Jones to Golden Tate with 28 seconds remaining.
The Giants attempted to tie the score on a two-point conversion, but Jones' pass to Dion Lewis fell incomplete. Rookie safety Antoine Winfield, Jr. seemed to make contact with Lewis and one of the officials threw a flag. But after a long discussion, referee Brad Allen announced that no penalty had been committed.
The Giants' second straight loss left them 1-7 at midseason. Tampa Bay improved to 6-2.
As they did in their 22-21 loss in Philadelphia in their previous game, the Giants hurt their own cause. Jones threw two second-half interceptions that led to 10 Buccaneers points. And defensive backs Isaac Yiadom and James Bradberry committed costly penalties down the stretch.
The Bucs took the lead on Tom Brady's eight-yard touchdown pass to Mike Evans with 9:02 remaining.
The Giants will travel to the nation's capital to face the Washington Football Team for the second time in four games when the teams meet Sunday in FedExField at 1 p.m. On Oct. 18, the Giants earned their first victory of the season when they defeated Washington, 20-19 in MetLife. Rookie linebacker Tae Crowder scored the decisive touchdown on a 43-yard fumble return with 3:29 remaining in the fourth quarter. Washington pulled to within a point on Kyle Allen's 22-yard touchdown pass to Cam Sims with 36 seconds remaining. Coach Ron Rivera elected to try what would likely have been a game-winning two-point conversion, but a pressured Allen threw a pass that landed far from any of his teammates in the end zone. The Giants have a four-game winning streak vs. Washington – including two in FedEx – and lead the all-time series, 103-68-4.
WHAT WE LEARNED ABOUT THE OFFENSE
Dion Lewis likes to play on Monday night. Lewis scored his second touchdown of the season – and second on a Monday - when he caught a seven-yard scoring pass from Daniel Jones with 4:10 remaining in the first quarter. Lewis hadn't scored since the season-opening Monday night game vs Pittsburgh, on a one-yard run. The touchdown was his first on a catch since Dec. 22, 2019, when he caught an 11-yard scoring pass for Tennessee vs. Houston.
Running back Wayne Gallman made his second start in the season in place of Devonta Freeman, who was inactive with an ankle injury. Gallman also started vs. San Francisco one week after Saquon Barkley suffered his season-ending knee injury. Lewis and veteran Alfred Morris also played in the backfield. Morris made his Giants debut after he was elevated off the practice squad earlier Monday.
Gallman, who rushed for 44 yards on 12 carries, scored his second touchdown of the season on a two-yard run with 14:46 remaining in the first half to increase the Giants' lead to 14-3. The score capped a 10-play, 77-yard drive.
The Giants continue to utilize their offensive weapons outside their normal job description. On their Giants' first offensive possession, Golden Tate completed an 18-yard pass to Gallman. Tate's pass was the first thrown by a Giants wide receiver since Dec. 2, 2018, when Odell Beckham, Jr. threw a 49-yard touchdown pass to Russell Shepard. On Oct. 7 that season, Beckham threw a 57-yard touchdown pass to Barkley at Carolina.
Tate's pass was the first thrown this season by a Giants player other than Jones.
Before the first half ended, wide receiver Sterling Shepard and tight end Evan Engram each had a rushing attempt. Shepard was stopped for no gain, but Engram picked up nine yards.
Two Giants mistakes led to nine Buccaneers points in the third quarter. On the second play of the half, Daniel Jones facing pressure from Shaquil Barrett, underthrew Shepard and the ball was intercepted by Carlton Davis. That led to Ryan Succop's third field goal, a 43-yarder.
The Giants faced a third-and-three on their next possession when Shepard got free down the left side for what could have been a long gain. But Jones overthrew him, forcing the Giants to punt. Tampa Bay then drove 67 yards in five plays to its first touchdown, on Tom Brady's three-yard pass to Rob Gronkowski. The Bucs' two-point attempt was unsuccessful but the two scores put Tampa Bay in the lead, 15-14.
In the fourth quarter, Jones was in the grasp of Barrett when he threw a short pass to Tate that was intercepted by Sean Murphy-Bunting. Six plays later, Evans scored the go-ahead touchdown.
WHAT WE LEARNED ABOUT THE DEFENSE
The defense set up the Giants' first touchdown with an opportunistic takeaway. After running back Ronald Jones caught a three-yard pass from Tom Brady, linebacker Blake Martinez forced him to fumble. Rookie cornerback Darnay Holmes recovered the ball at the Bucs' 12-yard line. Lewis scored the game's first touchdown three plays later. It was Holmes' first career recovery and Martinez's first forced fumble of the season.
Leonard Williams' eight-yard sack of Brady on third down forced Tampa Bay to punt in the second quarter leading to the Giants possession that ended with Gallman's touchdown.
WHAT WE LEARNED ABOUT SPECIAL TEAMS
Dion Lewis replaced Corey Ballentine as the Giants' kickoff returner and gave the team a lift. Lewis returned three kickoffs for 98, including a 44-yard runback that was 10 yards longer than any previous Giants return this season.
Graham Gano made his only field goal attempt of the night, a 33-yarder, but Tampa Bay's Ryan Succop was the game's kicking star. Succop made all four of his attempts, from 37, 43, 40 and 38 yards to score 12 points in a game decided by eight.
NYG: None reported
TB: None reported
NYG: The Giants' inactive players were running back Devonta Freeman (ankle), wide receiver C.J. Board (concussion), safety Adrian Colbert (shoulder), cornerback Ryan Lewis (hamstring), tackle Jackson tight end Eric Tomlinson and defensive lineman RJ McIntosh.
TB: The Buccaneers' inactive players were wide receivers Chris Godwin and Cyril Grayson, guard Aaron Stinnie, defensive tackle Khalil Davis and quarterback Ryan Griffin.
NYG: Rookie fifth-round Shane Lemiuex made his NFL starting debut in place of Will Hernandez, who missed the first game of his three-year career. Hernandez is on the Reserve/Covid-19 list. Lemieux was the third rookie offensive lineman to start for the Giants this season. The Giants last had three rookie offensive linemen start at least one game in the same season in 2003, when David Diehl, Wayne Lucier and Jeff Roehl were the linemen.
With Ryan Lewis inactive because of a hamstring injury, Isaac Yiadom returned to the starting lineup at right cornerback. The start was Yiadom's third of the season (vs. San Francisco, at the Rams). Lewis started the previous three games.
TB: Wide receiver Chris Godwin was inactive after undergoing surgery on his fractured finger, so Jayden Mickens and rookie Tyler Johnson got increased snaps.