If there ever was a hot start you’d want from a team, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers provided that Sunday afternoon.
If there ever was a team taking their foot completely off the gas pedal in the second half, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers also provided that Sunday afternoon.
The literal tale of two halves played out at Raymond James Stadium, as the Buccaneers wasted a 380-yard, three touchdown performance from quarterback Jameis Winston and fell 32-31 to the New York Giants.
The talk of the game, however, became the missed 34-yard field goal by Matt Gay as time expired. The Buccaneers got inside the 10-yard line, but head coach Bruce Arians opted to purposely take a delay of game penalty to take a 29-yard field goal to a 34-yarder. It proved to come back to haunt Arians and the Buccaneers, as the old kicking woes continued.
Gay ended up also missing two crucial extra point attempts that could’ve put the game out of reach towards the end. Despite the offense totaling 499 yards, it was the debut of New York Giants’ rookie quarterback Daniel Jones that wowed many across the NFL.
Jones had a spectacular preseason, in which he completed over 70 percent of his passes and threw zero interceptions. The former Duke product continued his success and transferred that to regular season play, as Jones ended up throwing for 336 yards, two touchdowns and scored the game’s go-ahead score on a 7-yard scamper.
Tampa Bay (1-2) started off the game quickly with two touchdowns in the opening quarter, as Winston connected with Mike Evans both times. Evans has himself a night, catching 15 passes and churning out 190 yards. The Buccaneers also had solid night from the 2-headed rushing attack of Peyton Barber and Ronald Jones. The two combined for 128 yards rushing in the losing effort.
The Buccaneers went into halftime with a seemingly commanding 28-10 lead but the Giants wasted no time in the second half getting themselves back into the game, as Jones connected with tight end Evan Engram for a 75-yard touchdown. New York (1-2) got to within 28-25 but were stalled before their final score due to the play of linebacker Shaquille Barrett. Barrett notched four more sacks, bringing his total to eight in the season.
Jones engineered a game-winning drive late and with just over a minute to go, Winston and the offense went to work. Winston drove the Buccaneers down inside of New York’s 10-yard lone before Gay’s missed field goal at the end of the game.
Tampa Bay travels next Sunday on the road to face the Los Angeles Rams. Kickoff is slated for 4:05 p.m.
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