Tom Brady, Tampa Bay Buccaneers humble New York Giants in prime time


TAMPA, Fla. — The Giants wanted to prove something Monday night against Tom Brady and the Buccaneers, and they did exactly that.

In proving they still are not ready for prime time, the Giants were – humbled by the defending Super Bowl champions in their own building.

The Bucs showed they’re not dead yet. The Giants showed they are still a long way from being the team they want to be – and need to be – to compete at this level.

The Cowboys and Rams revealed the Giants’ flaws in blowouts last month.

The Buccaneers did more of the same, whether they were picking apart the defense, smothering the offense or turning back the clock on Daniel Jones, who struggled with his decision-making in the second half en route to a pair of ugly interceptions that just turned a rough performance overall even uglier in Monday’s 30-10 rout.

The game was tied at 10 in the second quarter. Tampa Bay scored 20 unanswered.

Saquon Barkley’s return did very little to impact the offense, which managed one touchdown, and that came on a gadget play of sorts when Jones found Andrew Thomas on a tackle eligible pass for the score.

The Giants’ pass rush against Brady was very quiet, and the interior of the offensive line – Will Hernandez at right guard in particular – struggled mightily. 

Now the Giants (3-7) will have to regroup on a short week and play a red hot Eagles team for the first time this season at MetLife Stadium on Sunday. Philadelphia has made the most of its chances in recent weeks, surging into the race for a wild card spot in the NFL.

If those teams in the hunt, from the Eagles to Washington to Carolina and New Orleans, are considered mediocre, it begs the question: what are the Giants? They’ve got seven games remaining to show us before an offseason that promises to bring more criticism and change if the losses keep piling up.

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The Giants’ promising offensive drive to begin the second half stalled on fourth-and-1 from the Bucs’ 25. Inexplicably, the Giants took Kenny Golladay and Kadarius Toney off the field, brought Collin Johnson and backup tight end Chris Myarick on and Bucs All-Pro linebacker Devin White blew up the play.

White used his speed to get to Daniel Jones just as he rolled out to his right. The play had no chance and Jones’ hurried throw bounced in front of Johnson.

The Bucs wasted no time in adding to their lead, slicing up the defense and cashing in when Tom Brady hit Mike Evans for his second touchdown pass of the game.

Coming away with zero points on the first drive of the third quarter seemed like a big missed opportunity, and when Tampa Bay punched the ball in the end zone, that was magnified.

The Giants have gotten two big defensive stops, including one late in the second quarter to prevent Tampa Bay from scoring. But, other than a few trick plays, the Bucs have been stout defensively, preventing the Giants from getting into an offensive rhythm.

Giants wide receiver John Ross leads his team in rushing yards (16) as Saquon Barkley has been limited to 10 yards on three carries. Tampa Bay has 273 total yards and 19 first downs, with Brady completing 20-of-29 passes for 198 yards, a touchdown pass to Chris Godwin and one interception.

Daniel Jones has completed 11-of-16 passes for 81 yards and a touchdown to left tackle Andrew Thomas, who reported in as an eligible receiver on the play. The Giants nearly cashed in on a trick play from Kadarius Toney, who threw the ball downfield nearly 50 yards to Darius Slayton. Slayton got tangled up with a Tampa Bay defender, and while officials threw a flag for pass interference initially, they picked it up and waved off the penalty.

Big man touchdown!

The Giants got an interception by Adoree’ Jackson off a Tom Brady pass that bounced off Mike Evans, setting them inside the 10. That’s when Big Blue pulled off some trickery as Andrew Thomas reported as tackle eligible – technically a tight end on the left side – and no one covered him. Daniel Jones floated a pass in the direction of Thomas, who made a leaping grab for the score.

Thomas caught a 2-point conversion last season as a rookie.

Well, that was surgical, and quick. Tom Brady took advantage of the Giants’ defense with a creative script to open the game, and the first possession closed with a touchdown pass to Chris Godwin.

The Giants need to adjust to how Brady attacked them with a lot of misdirection.

Saquon Barkley and Andrew Thomas make their respective returns after being sidelined for the last month as the Giants seek to upset the Buccaneers on Monday night at Raymond James Stadium.

Barkley has not played since he suffered a left ankle sprain in Week 5 against the Cowboys, while Thomas was sidelined the following week after his left leg was rolled up on against the Rams.

The Giants (3-6) have not been whole offensively since their upset of the Saints in New Orleans, and they won’t have Sterling Shepard (quad) against the Buccaneers.

Daniel Jones and the offense, in addition to welcoming Barkley and Thomas back to the lineup, should have Kenny Golladay and Kadarius Toney at full strength. The latter two were not on the injury report this week.

Thomas was designated to return to practice this week and the Giants officially activated their left tackle from injured reserve by Monday’s 4 p.m. deadline.

The defending Super Bowl champion Buccaneers (6-3) have lost two games in a row and Tom Brady has lost three games in a row just once in his career as starting QB.

In addition to the Thomas move, the Giants also signed outside linebacker Trent Harris to the active roster. Tight end Chris Myarick and defensive back Steven Parker were game day elevations from the practice squad, and return specialist Pharoh Cooper was added to the roster from the practice squad as a COVID replacement.

Safety Logan Ryan remains on the COVID/reserve list and he will not play Monday.

Tom Brady has 18 wins on Monday Night Football and hasn’t had a three-game losing streak since 2002. Daniel Jones has not won a game in prime time in seven tries, and the Giants have lost nine in a row under the lights.

That’s what the Giants are up against. Two keys: how Xavier McKinney and Julian Love will play together at safety on the back end without Logan Ryan, and will Andrew Thomas’ presence at left tackle – likely against Bucs star rusher Shaq Barrett – allow the Giants offense to function differently and attack a suspect Tampa Bay secondary?

If the Giants get those two things to happen, they might be in this game and have a chance to steal one in the end.

Giants: WR Sterling Shepard, FB Cullen Gillaspia, S Nate Ebner, OLB Oshane Ximines, OLB Lorenzo Carter, G Wes Martin, TE Kaden Smith

Buccaneers: DT Vita Vea, WR Antonio Brown, DB Andrew Adams, OL Nick Leverett, LS Carson Tinker and QB Kyle Trask

Art Stapleton is the Giants beat writer for Follow him on Twitter @art_stapleton

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