Game Ball:** On an evening in which the running game struggled to break out until the fourth quarter and his receivers dropped a handful of on-target passes, rookie QB Jameis Winston kept the Buccaneers in the game until the final five minutes. Winston completed 19 of 36 passes – a 52.8% completion rate that deserved to be significantly higher – and did not come particularly close to an interception. He was not picked or forced to fumble for the fourth straight games, and when pressure did collapse the pocket he scrambled effectively for 24 yards and the Buccaneers' only touchdown of the game. His 10-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter ended with an impressive dive over a Giants defender, the goal line and the pylon on a do-or-die third-down play.
Play of the Game: For the Buccaneers, it was Charles Sims' 59-yard breakaway run in the fourth quarter, which set up the aforementioned touchdown run by Winston. With the Bucs trailing by eight with 12 minutes to play, the Buccaneers' defense got the stop it needed, forcing just the Giants second punt of the day. Unfortunately, New York P Brad Wing boomed a 64-yard punt that put the hoe team 87 yards away from the end zone. Sims took care of more than two-thirds of that on the first play of the drive, and he did it after breaking free of what seemed like a sure tackle just 10 yards into the run.
WATCH: BUCS VS. GIANTS HIGHLIGHTS
Turning Point: The Buccaneers seemed to have swung the momentum back in their favor in the fourth quarter when, following Winston's touchdown, DT Henry Melton tipped a third-down pass intended for WR Odell Beckham, forcing the Giants to try a long field goal. Even though Josh Brown hit on his 53-yard attempt to make it a 23-18 game, the Bucs still had a chance to win it with an answering touchdown drive. An 18-yard catch by Mike Evans helped the Buccaneers get a first down just across midfield. However, a shot downfield to Sims missed and Winston was then forced into two scrambling throws to Evans on the right sideline. Neither one connected, with CB Trevin Wade breaking up a third-and-10 try. The Bucs punted with five minutes to play, hoping to force a quick punt in return, but they failed to get the football back with any meaningful time on the clock.
It Was Over When: Eli Manning completed a short pass out to the left to Odell Beckham on third-and-six from the Giants' 24 with four minutes left. That play moved the chains, kept the clock running and allowed the visitors to not only run out most of the clock but also tack on three points with a field goal. An Akeem Spence personal foul on the next snap didn't help, but that key third down throw was the big play in the Giants' attempts to run out the clock. Manning didn't have to put the ball in the air again.
Photos from Buccaneers vs. Giants at Raymond James Stadium.