New York Giants Define Heart in 41-34 Win over Tampa Bay Buccaneers

By Jeff Shull

While watching the first half of the New York Giants game today against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, I had the strangest feeling of deja vu. The Giants looked flat on offense: failing to score in the red zone, dropping touchdown passes, missing blocks, and more importantly Eli Manning turning the football over all forced the Giants into a 24-13 hole by half time.

At first, I immediately thought back to the debacle at home in the 2007 season against the Minnesota Vikings. Manning threw three interceptions which were all returned for touchdowns and the Giants got bounced by a very average Vikings team 41-17. Then, as half-time dragged on and I had time to think, I still had that deja vu feeling, though my mind began to shift to a different game.

The 2010 game against the Jacksonville Jaguars came to mind. I swear this is not a case of hind sight, but I actually came back to that game before the second half started, and tweeted the following.

That game in Jacksonville was very similar to today’s game. The Giants were down by 11 in both and a comeback did not seem to be in the cards with the way they were playing. It also had the element of the Giants playing at home against a team they were heavily favored against.

Yet in both contests the Giants found a way to win, and today’s comeback was even more incredible with the numbers the Giants put up. The Giants scored 15 points in the fourth quarter against Jacksonville, and today they scored a ridiculous 25 points in the fourth to come from 14 points down and win the game.

Manning and his offense defined heart today. If someone ever asked me to pick one game to show you the definition of a team that refused to give up, this would certainly be in the conversation.

It was a tale of two halves. Manning played just about as bad as he could in the first half, throwing three interceptions that all led to 21 points in some way. The Giants found themselves in a deep hole, down by 14 midway through the third quarter, but like they did so many times in 2011, they found a way to crawl out of it.

Though with the numbers Manning and his receivers put up, a better description would be to say they shot themselves out of the hole with a rocket.

Manning finished with 510 yards, the second-most in franchise history and eighth-most in NFL history. Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks combined for 21 catches, 378 yards and two touchdowns, becoming the first duo in NFL history to each reach 10+ catches and 150+ (and 175+) yards in the same game.

Manning finished the fourth quarter with 243 yards, the same number Josh Freeman finished for the entire game, proving once again why he is the best quarterback in the clutch. There are not many guys you want leading your offense with your team down in the fourth quarter.

It was a beautiful thing to watch—especially after the terrible showing in the first half. Good thing an NFL game is 60 minutes long, allowing the Giants to avoid a dreaded 0-2 start.


Jeff is an NFL Featured Columnist for Like Jeff’s Facebook Page here. Follow him on Twitter @Jeff_Shull


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