For the second straight week, the New York Giants lose on a game-winning long-distance field goal, this time to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
- New York Giants 23 (0-4)
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers 25 (2-1)
- NFL, Week 4, Final, Box Score
- Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, Florida
TAMPA-To save their season, the New York Giants needed to plunder a victory on the road from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Alas, they walked the plank instead.
Nick Folk made up for two prior mistakes by notching a 34-yard field goal through as time expired, leaving the Giants once again second-guessing their questionable decisions in a 25-23 defeat on Sunday afternoon.
Unusually dressed in blue for a non-Dallas road game, the Giants (0-4) started off with the ball. Though their blue garments were an unusual sight, the offensive struggles early on were something Big Blue fans have come to know all too well. After the Giants picked up just six yards on consecutive three-and-outs, Tampa took advantage when a Jacquizz Rodgers 36-yard run set up a 6-yard scoring throw from Jameis Winston to Mike Evans. Cornerback Eli Apple was the unfortunate victim on the opening score.
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Faced with another early deficit, the Giants mustered a solid drive, going 45 yards to the Tampa playcalling again rose at the worst possible time, as the Giants, who made it to the Tampa Bay 30, opted to go for it on 4th-and-4. A pass intended for Brandon Marshall went for naught, and Tampa Bay capitalized mere minutes later, as the second play afterward went for 58 yards, with Winston finding a wide open OJ Howard for the score.
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In perhaps an unintentional turning point, however, Nick Folk missed the extra point to keep the score at 13-0. After the teams exchanged three punts, Folk missed a regular field goal, his 46-yard attempt in the second quarter going wide right. Whether by coincidence or not, the Giants began to, pun very much intended, right their ship.
Though a subsequent 11-play, 52-yard was stopped in Tampa territory, forcing the Giants into a 30-yard Aldrick Rosas field goal, the Giants held Tampa (2-1) to a mere two yards on the next drive. Afterwards, on an even rarer occurrence thank blue jerseys on the road, Eli Manning showcased his inner Kordell Stewart on a 14-yard run to glory, narrowing the score to 13-10.
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The 14-yard score was Manning’s first since a September 2014 Thursday night win over Washington, as well as the longest scoring run of his career. Folk did manage to hit a 42-yarder to create a 16-10 halftime score. Evans appeared to have another touchdown late in the half, but a replay review showed he was stopped a yard short of the goal line. The Giants pulled off a three-play goal-line stand to force the short three-point try. The Giants had a chance to narrow the lead, but chose the conservative route, opting to go into the locker room trailing by six.
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Yet another Folk miss ignited the Giants’ offense once more. When the ex-Jet and Cowboy’s 49-yarder on the Bucs’ first drive sailed wide right once more, the Giants embarked on an 11-play, 61-yard journey that concluded in a short Manning throw to rookie Wayne Gallman. Celebrating his 23rd birthday, Gallman earned the best present of all, scoring in his NFL debut. Gallman wound up with 42 rushing yards, leading the Giants. His 42 yards are by far the most prolific performance from a Giants rusher this season.
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The single-point lead held into the fourth, but for the second consecutive week, a disastrous Brad Wing punt in the final quarter hurt the Giants. After a dreadful 15-yard boot, Tampa Bay needed a mere four plays to go 57 yards, with Cameron Brate being the lucky recipient, catching it from 14 yards out to give the Bucs the lead once more. The Giants quickly regained momentum back by denying Tampa the two-point conversion, keeping it a 22-17 game.
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On the Giants’ ensuing drive, one that would become their last of the game, Odell Beckham was on and off the field due to his nagging ankle injury, but he did manage to set the team up nicely with a 42-yard grab that set the Giants up at the Tampa 33. Gallman helped the Giants move closer, and, on a play where Kerry Wynn lined up at fullback, Manning found Rhett Ellison for a touchdown. A two-pointer was not to be, with Beckham called for illegal touching but the Giants had a slim lead nonetheless.
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But failure came full circle, as the defense couldn’t rise to the occasion.
Winston went on a 9-play, 59-yard drive, one anchored a deep Brate ball for 26 yards on 3rd and 1 from the Giants 39. Folk made sure not to miss this time, booting it from 34 yards out for the win.
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Wasted in another loss was yet another solid Manning performance, as he tallied 288 yards and a couple of scores. Ninety of those yards went to Beckham, and 62 went to Evan Engram. Landon Collins led the team with seven tackles.
As for the Bucs, Jameis Winston threw for 332 yards and three scores, improving to 1-1 against the Giants in his career. Brate had 80 yards on a quartet of receptions, while Rodgers had 83 of Tampa’s 111 rushing yards.
Now mired in a 0-4 hole, half of those losses coming in divisional play, the Giants dug their hole even deeper in what’s likely going to become a comeback gone for naught. They’ll get a chance to earn their first win against a fellow imperfect team, as the Los Angeles Chargers (0-4) visit MetLife Stadium next week.