Stat worth noting: The Giants finished this game with a whopping 397-86 edge in total yards, and most of Tampa Bay’s yardage came late in the game when the outcome had long since been decided. The Giants averaged 5.2 yards per play, the Bucs only 2.4.
Stat worth noting II: In the first half, the Giants posted 14 first downs while the Bucs only ran 14 plays and had no first downs. It was total dominance to say the least.
Turning point: The Giants already had a 7-0 lead but had been stopped by the Bucs on their second possession. But on the first play of the Bucs’ second ‘drive’ Tampa QB Byron Leftwich was under heavy pressure from Mathias Kiwanuka, who forced an early and errant throw. Second-year corner Terrell Thomas was in the right place at the right time and picked off the pass. That gave Big Blue the ball at their own 34-yard line, from where they drove to a 14-0 lead.
Play to remember: With this game pretty much over early in the third quarter, the most memorable play had to come when Sinorice Moss caught his first pass of the season for an 18-yard touchdown in the final period. Moss leaped high into the air to collect Eli Manning’s perfectly-placed toss and did a good job of shielding the defender (Aqib Talib) from being able to make the play.
Plays to forget: Perhaps the only rough spot of this game came right before halftime when the Giants really had a chance to bury the Bucs. However, on a 3rd-and-1 from the Tampa Bay 2-yard line, Brandon Jacobs was dropped for a 1-yard loss. Then Lawrence Tynes, last week’s hero, missed a 21-yard field goal try wide left, which was the shortest miss in Tynes’ NFL career.
What went right
New York finally got the green-zone monkey off its back. After failing to score a TD in its first eight trips inside the enemy 20-yard line this season, they took the opening kickoff and just rammed it right down Tampa Bay’s throats. Brandon Jacobs’ 6-yard run capped an 80-yard drive that gave Big Blue not only a 7-0 lead but its first green-zone TD of 2009.
New York’s edge in time of possession was practically laughable. Overall, Big Blue had the ball for almost three-quarters of the entire game – 43:38-16:22. In three of the four quarters, the Giants had the ball for at least 10:50. Not that the Bucs did much when they did have the pigskin in hand, but a surefire way to a shutout is to keep the opposing offense off the field practically all game long.
This was quite a momentous achievement for Big Blue. It served as their first shutout on the road in 26 years. On Nov. 20, 1983, the Giants travelled down the Turnpike and blanked the Birds in Philly, 23-0. Overall, New York’s last shutout came on Oct. 30, 2005 when they blanked the Redskins, 36-0.
What went wrong
With a 14-0 lead in the third quarter, the Giants were facing a 3rd-and-10 from the Tampa 12, yet opted to run. Ahmad Bradshaw only gained four yards and the Giants had to settle for a 26-yard Tynes field goal.
While the Giants were able to hit Tampa QB Byron Leftwich 10 times, they were unable to sack him during Sunday’s game. Mathias Kiwanuka had three QB hits and Osi Umenyiora and Dave Tollefson chipped in two apiece.
We are so obviously nitpicking after this game, but Steve Smith was flagged on three different occasions. He twice was penalized for false starts, moving before the snap. The officials also caught Smith for illegal touching, which occurred when he inadvertently stepped out of bounds and then was the first player to touch the ball once he returned in bounds.
A clipping penalty on tight end Kevin Boss negated the first ever Giants rush for Gartrell Johnson, who ripped off a 19-yard gallop only to have it called back.
0 – Number of first-half first downs for Tampa Bay, which finished with only 19 yards during the opening 30 minutes
3 – Number of plays until Justin Tuck entered the game; Tuck was questionable all week with an injured shoulder
25 – Years since both the Giants and Jets played at the same time due to the Jewish holiday
“[It was] one of the best ones that I’ve been a part of, obviously. We had a lot of three-and-outs. We had turnovers. We got after the running back, we got after the quarterback. It was a pretty solid game overall.” – Giants LB Antonio Pierce
“We were clearly out-manned. They came in here and took it to us. Out-manned us, out-gunned us. They were the better team, clearly. It wasn’t even close.” – Bucs Coach Raheem Morris