If only the final score were a real indication of how this game played out, because in retrospect the Giants are lucky Tampa Bay was scheduled between games against the Saints and Patriots. The Giants spent the entire evening struggling against the Buccaneers. New York had to rely on four field goals by Josh Brown, including two late field goals in the game, and a Trevin Wade fumble recovery for a touchdown, just to get out of Raymond James Stadium alive.
The Giants never really established themselves offensively; New York had only 213 yards passing on the night. Eli Manning had a his moments, but he also threw two interceptions, including one on the second play of the game that led to a Bucs field goal.
Yet through it all, the Giants never really beat themselves too much, because Tampa Bay doesn't have the teeth the make the Giants regret their mistakes. Manning led two first half scoring drives, that culminated in touchdowns to Ruben Randle and Shane Vereen to push New York to a 17-6 lead, which was really all the offense they would need on Sunday.
Manning finished 26-of-40 for 213 with the two touchdowns and two picks. Odell Beckham Jr. had a huge day, hauling in nine balls for 105 yards.
The Giants defense rebounded with a bend-but-don't-break effort against the Buccaneers, forcing three turnovers and making running back Doug Martin virtually useless to Tampa's execution. Jameis Winston wasn't horrible for Tampa Bay, but a rookie quarterback is not going to put up the numbers Drew Brees did against the Giants leaky secondary.
Jason Pierre-Paul, AKA the man with nine fingers, made his season debut for the Giants, wearing a heavily bandaged glove on his right hand that turned his damaged hand into a gigantic mitten. JPP played in 46 of the 63 defensive snaps for the Giants and recorded two tackles. He even got a couple pressures on Winston. So a good first test passed for JPP in his first game back since the Fourth of July fiasco that cost the lineman his index finger.
While the Giants succeeded in sneaking past the Buccaneers, they will not succeed at sneaking past their next opponent, the 8-0 New England Patriots. This will be a huge test for Big Blue. The Giants need an all world performance to come away with a win in that contest next Sunday at the Meadowlands.