The Bucs won the toss and elected to defer to start the game. The Giants immediately turned to rookie running back Saquon Barkley before quarterback Eli Manning aired it out for wide receiver Odell Beckham to get down to the seven-yard line in a hurry. The quick drive was capped off by a quick pass to Barkley in the end zone as the Giants went up 7-0 less than four minutes into the game.
The Buccaneers countered with their own rushing attack, putting an emphasis on getting running back Peyton Barber involved early. The Bucs got all the way down to the four-yard line before going for it on fourth-and-one. New York stopped the Bucs short on a quarterback sneak and they came up empty.
The Giants turned back to Barkley and the run as they started deep in their own territory. Behind the effort of the young running back, they were able to march down the field and Barkley scored his second touchdown of the day, this time on the ground. The Giants took a 14-0 lead with 13:37 left in the second quarter.
The Bucs stalled on their next possession. After creeping up to almost midfield, Barber was dropped for a loss and then Fitzpatrick was sacked, forcing the punt. Behind a big sack of Manning by former Giant Jason Pierre-Paul, the Bucs answered with their first three-and-out of the game.
After getting the ball back, the Bucs spanned the field and got inside the red zone once again. This time, it was Fitzpatrick on fourth-and-one who took it in after a busted play. New kicker Cairo Santos added the extra point and the Bucs cut the lead to 14-7 with 4:50 left in the first half.
The Bucs ended up stopping the Giants on their next possession after a long catch by wide receiver Sterling Shepard was called back after it was discovered his knee was down on replay. The Giants ended up punting it away with about a minute and a half remaining in the half. The Bucs took the ball with all three timeouts. A couple nice passes and back-to-back-to-back penalties by the Giants’ defense put the Bucs into New York territory with three free first downs. Unfortunately the drive would end with Michael Thomas getting underneath a throw intended for O.J. Howard and picking off the pass with 25 seconds left. It left the score 14-7 going into halftime.
The Bucs got the ball to start the second half and on the second play of the drive starting at the 10-yard line, Fitzpatrick threw a side arm pass that was intercepted on a deflection and taken into the end zone, putting the Giants up two scores again, 21-7.
The next drive saw the Bucs backed up into first-and-30 before wide receiver Adam Humphries took a short screen pass 39 yards to convert on first down and get the Bucs into Giant’s territory. A couple plays later, Fitzpatrick aired the ball out for the end zone with DeSean Jackson as the intended target, but the defender got underneath him and picked the ball off, returning it to the New York 40-yard-line.
The first play of New York’s possession saw Barkley get across midfield on a 23-yard run. The Giants ended up settling for a field goal to make the score 24-7 with seven minutes left in the third quarter.
Quarterback Jameis Winston took over for Fitzpatrick on the Bucs’ next possession. Barber broke loose on the outside and picked up a huge gain to get the Bucs across midfield. From there Winston drove down the field. On second-and-goal at the six, Winston scrambled toward the end zone when the ball was stripped out of his hands. Luckily, it was wide receiver Mike Evans who recovered the ball in the end zone, giving Tampa Bay the touchdown and pulling them within 10 points, 24-14 with under two minutes to play in the third quarter.
The Giants answered with another touchdown of their own, as Manning hit wide receiver Odell Beckham in the back corner of the end zone. It extended the Giants’ lead to 31-14 with 13:04 left in the game.
Winston and Barber led the charge down the field as the Bucs answered with a rushing touchdown. It was Barber on a five-yard run into the end zone to put the Bucs back within 10 with under 10 minutes to play. Then the Bucs’ defense came up big behind a sack from defensive tackle Gerald McCoy on third down, forcing a three-and-out.
The Bucs offense went back to work with just over seven minutes to play and all three timeouts. Tampa Bay quickly answered with a quick slant to wide receiver Adam Humphries that took just 2:22 to complete. With the good point after, the Bucs pulled within a score, 31-28, with 5:11 left in the game.
New York got back downfield in a hurry with a short pass to tight end Evan Engram, which he took 54 yards to get inside the Bucs’ 15-yard line. Barkley punched the ball in from just a couple yards out on third down for his third score of the day, pushing the Giants back up 38-28 with just 3:52 left in the game.
The Bucs continued to fight and quickly struck back. Winston hit Evans down the near sideline for a 41-yard pass that sailed into the end zone, putting the Bucs back within three. With no timeouts left, the Bucs attempted the onside kick but the Giants recovered.
New York was able to run the clock down to give the Bucs just over 30 seconds. On the first play, Winston aired it out for DeSean Jackson but the pass was picked and the game ended there as the Bucs fell 38-35 to the New York Giants.