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Giants Wash Out Bucs in JPP’s Return

The Giants are undefeated with Jason Pierre-Paul playing.

Small sample size, but still nice.

The defensive end didn’t make too big of a splash in his return, but the Giants (5-4) were still able to outlast the Buccaneers (3-5) in Sunday’s rain-soaked affair.

Pierre-Paul got the start, and while he (nor the rest of the Giants) picked up the sacks that have alluded them this season, JPP still managed two tackles, as well as a pair of QB hits.

Giants DE Jason Pierre-Paul made his long-awaited return against the Bucs on Sunday (Photo: Getty Images).

Giants DE Jason Pierre-Paul made his long-awaited return against the Bucs on Sunday (Photo: Getty Images).

The rain made it tough for either offense to find its groove, but QB Eli Manning was still good enough to win, despite not posting the best numbers. Manning completed 26-of-40 passes (65.0%) for 213 yards, two touchdowns and two picks. His 5.3 YPA tells the story of Manning’s day, as the downpour prevented him from reaching the ridiculous stats he accumulated in last week’s shootout in New Orleans.

Unlike last week, however, the Giants picked up a win, and that’s all that matters.

Odell Beckham had a strange statistical day. While his nine receptions for 105 yards looks pretty good by itself, OBJ was targeted a whopping 17 times, so his stat line could have been a lot bigger. Beckham didn’t have his best game, and he knew it. Beckham was the intended target on both of Manning’s interceptions. After the second INT, which came in Bucs territory in a one-possession game, Beckham was seen punching a Gatorade bucket and swearing at himself on the sideline.

The contest was a field goal frenzy early, with the Bucs leading 6-3 near the end of the first quarter. But with under a minute remaining in the period, Manning connected with Rueben Randle from eight yards out for his first touchdown of the day, giving the Giants took a 10-6 lead. The score capped off an impressive 12 play, 80 yard drive, lasting over seven minutes.

Bucs miscues allowed the Giants to extend their lead further.

On the third play of the ensuing Bucs drive, RB Doug Martin lost the ball after a two-yard run, and the fumble was recovered by LB Jasper Brinkley, who filled in for the injured Jon Beason and Uani’ Unga.

The Giants got the ball in Bucs territory, and after a number of plays picking up chunk yardage, Manning found the end zone once again, this time getting the ball to RB Shane Vereen. The Giants took a commanding 17-6 lead.

Jameis Winston led his team down the field, and sent Connor Barth out for a 43-yard attempt that would have made it a one-score game. But Barth’s kick sailed wide right, keeping the score at 17-6.

The Bucs would add a field goal before the break, making it 17-9 at halftime.

Another fumble on the Bucs’ first drive gave the Giants the ball in field goal range, and Josh Brown would nail a 35-yarder to go up 20-9. Unfortunately, the Bucs were able to respond with one of their own, bringing the Giants’ lead back down to eight.

Manning would throw his aforementioned second pick of the day in Tampa Bay territory, and the teams exchanged a couple of short punting drives.

Terrifyingly, the Giants looked poised to blow another late-game lead on Sunday.

Despite being pinned inside their 15 early in the fourth quarter, the Bucs offense surged thanks to a 59-yard run from backup RB Charles Sims. Winston immediately got his offense to a first and goal after an 18-yard grab from Mike Evans. Two plays later, Winston would display his wheels as he dove for the end zone, making it 20-18 Giants. The Bucs’ two-point conversion attempt failed, leaving it a two-point game.

Despite numerous opportunities, the Giants offense couldn’t put the game away in the fourth. They settled for field goals on two drives, putting them up by eight with 23 seconds left. Knowing what happened last week, Giants fans knew anything was possible.

Luckily, things went better for the Giants this time. On a desperation lateral to end the game, the ball was fumbled and CB Trevin Wade picked it up for a touchdown, ending the game at 32-18 Giants.

Game Balls & the Goat

Offensive Game Ball: WR Rueben Randle

In a game with this type of weather, it’s hard for any offensive player to stand out. But Rueben Randle did everything he could. He caught all five targets, including one for the Giants’ first touchdown of the day. He only managed 40 yards on those five catches, but give the guy credit for not dropping anything in the rain. He continues to do a decent job filling in for the absent Victor Cruz.

Defensive Game Ball: ILB Jasper Brinkley

Brinkley was a relative no-name on this team until yesterday, and he was able to impress in a big opportunity. Brinkley led the team in tackles with seven, including one for a loss. He also recovered Martin’s fumble, which was a big momentum shift for the Giants early on. With Beason out of the season, we could be seeing a lot more of Brinkley, who will likely at least share time with Uani’ Unga at ILB.

The Goat: TE Will Tye

For some reason, Tye, an undrafted rookie out of Stony Brook, had the second-most targets on the day with six. He didn’t do much with those targets, though, reeling in just two catches for 19 yards. He committed a drop in the red zone. He started the year no higher than fourth on the Giants’ tight end depth chart, so it’s not necessarily fair to expect much of him, but he still didn’t look good on Sunday. The Giants will hope Larry Donnell can return from his neck injury soon.
Up Next

The Giants return to MetLife Stadium for their biggest challenge of the year so far: the undefeated, defending champion New England Patriots.

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