Eli Manning, master of the fourth-quarter comeback, struck again Sunday for the New York Giants. Trailing 27-13 Manning rallied the Giants for a 41-34 victory at MetLife Stadium. Manning, who set an NFL record last season 15 fourth-quarter touchdown passes, threw two on Sunday as the Giants (1-1) rallied for their first victory of the season.
Manning completed 31-of-51 passes for a career-high 510 yards. He rallied the Giants after throwing three first-half interceptions that led to 21 Buccaneers' points as Tampa Bay took a 24-13 halftime lead.
With the score at 34-34 and 1:58 to play, Manning went to work. He hit Ramses Barden for 24 yards. After a false start penalty he hit Hakeem Nicks on a 50-yard pass down the right sideline to set the Giants up at the Tampa Bay 11-yard line with 1:20 to play.
The Bucs tried to allow Andre Brown to score on a draw play, but Brown slid down at the 2-yard line. Brown then scored from there on the next play, giving the Giants a 41-34 lead with 31 seconds to play. That capped a wild finish to the final few minutes of the game.
The wild finish to this one began with the Giants trailing, 27-19. Manning hit Victor Cruz for an 80-yard score with 6:59 to play. Andre Brown ran the ball in for the two-point conversion, tying the score at 27-27.
The Giants then forced Tampa Bay into a three-and-out and took over at their own 37-yard line following a punt.
The Giants appeared to have won it when Manning threw a 33-yarder to Martellus Bennett, who wrestled the ball away from a defensive back with 3:59 left to play. That completed a four-play, 67-yard drive that gave the Giants their first lead since the first quarter.
Tampa Bay came right back, however, with an 80-yard drive, tying the game with 1:58 left on a 41-yard pass from Josh Freeman to Mike Williams, who caught the ball over defensive back Justin Tryon.
Manning then led the Giants on their winning drive. Manning's 510-yard passing day was the second-best in terms of yardage in Giants' history and the first 500-yard game of his career. Phil Simms threw for 513 yards in 1985.
Nicks played a huge and gutty game for the Giants. He had 10 catches for 199 yards, including the 50-yarder that set up the winning score. On several occasions he had to come off the field due to issues with his foot, broken during the offseason. Cruz caught 11 passes for 179 yards and one touchdown. Bennett had five catches for 72 yards.
Brown, who carried the running load after Ahmad Bradshaw left with a neck injury, had 71 yards on 13 carries.
The Giants played an ugly first half during which quarterback Eli Manning was intercepted three times. Each of those interceptions turned into touchdowns for Tampa Bay, including one in the closing seconds of the half that Eric Wright ran back 60 yards for a touchdown.
Tampa Bay then took advantage of three second-quarter interceptions to outscore the Giants in the second quarter, 21-7, taking a 24-13 lead at halftime. With the score 17-13 the Giants looked like they were about to take control of the game when Wright stepped in front of a pass for Victor Cruz then returned it 60 yards for a score.