Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) walks onto the field after defeating the Las Vegas Raiders in an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/David Becker)

Buccaneers find way to beat Giants after falling behind early

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers never panicked after falling behind 14-3 to the New York Giants in the second quarter of Monday Night Football.

Instead, they mounted a second-half comeback to narrowly escape with a 25-23 road victory at MetLife Stadium. With the win, the Bucs improved to 6-2 for just the third time in team history.

Brady comes through in the clutch

No lead is safe against Tom Brady. The Giants, along with the rest of the NFL, were reminded of that Monday night.

New York (1-7) kept the future Hall of Famer relatively quiet in the opening half. Brady completed 16 of his 24 passes for 132 yards and zero touchdowns through the first two quarters.

With Tampa Bay in an eight-point hole at the break, the 43-year-old quarterback turned up the heat. Brady hit on 12 of his 16 passes for 147 yards and two touchdowns in the second half.

At the six-minute mark of the third quarter, Brady connected with Rob Gronkowski in the end zone for the 93rd time in their careers. The three-yard strike not only put the Buccaneers up 15-14, but it also surpassed Steve Young and Jerry Rice (92) for the second-most touchdown passes by a quarterback-receiver duo in league history (including postseason).

The Giants responded with a 33-yard field goal from Graham Gano to take a two-point advantage in the closing seconds of the third frame. But the Bucs remained unfazed, as they should always be, with a six-time Super Bowl winner under center.

Brady, per usual, worked his magic in the fourth quarter of a primetime game. With 9:02 remaining, he found Mike Evans on an eight-yard fade to give Tampa Bay a 22-17 lead. Evans’ go-ahead score marked his seventh touchdown of the season, which is tied for most in the NFL.

The Buccaneers ultimately held on for their third-straight win, yet Brady harped on the offense’s execution after the contest:

Buccaneers defense holds strong

The Bucs came into Monday night’s showdown with one of the best defensive units in the league. However, they had trouble stopping New York’s low-powered offense early on.

Giants quarterback Daniel Jones, who has a tendency for turning the ball over, made no glaring mistakes in the opening half. And it’s for that reason the Giants took a 14-6 lead into the locker room.

Tampa Bay’s defense stepped up in the second half at Jones’ expense, though.

The No. 6 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft threw two ill-advised interceptions, one in the third quarter to Carlton Davis and another in the fourth to Sean Murphy-Bunting, which resulted in 10 points for the Buccaneers.

Coach Bruce Arians noted the importance of those two turnovers after his team’s win:

Nevertheless, Jones had an opportunity to redeem himself in the last minute of the game. His 19-yard touchdown pass to Golden Tate trimmed New York’s deficit to 25-23. But a late throw to Dion Lewis in the ensuing two-point conversion gave Bucs safety Antoine Winfield Jr. enough time to bat the ball away and prevent overtime.

What’s next?

The Buccaneers will host the Saints (5-2) at Raymond James Stadium for Week 9’s edition of Sunday Night Football. First place in the NFC South will be on the line, with kickoff set for 8:20 p.m.

About Bryan Matamoros

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