News & Analysis

NFL Week 8 PFF ReFocused: Tampa Bay Buccaneers 25, New York Giants 23

Oct 25, 2020; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) celebrates against the Las Vegas Raiders at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

In a game that was not supposed to be relatively close, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers needed a controversial flag pickup on a New York Giants 2-point conversion to seal the 25-23 Monday night victory. 

Editor's note: All of PFF's grades and advanced stats from this game will be finalized and made available to ELITE subscribers within 24 hours of the final whistle.

STORY OF THE GAME

The Giants showed some fight on both sides of the ball against a Buccaneers team favored by 12.5 points and even held a 14-6 halftime lead.

James Bradberry versus Mike Evans was the big cornerback-wide receiver matchup to watch. Bradberry and the New York secondary were able to get the best of Evans in the first half, holding him to 27 yards on three receptions,  but Evans caught his sixth touchdown inside the 10-yard line of the season in the second half, with Bradberry the man in coverage.

Neither quarterback had much success throwing the ball downfield. Tom Brady completed none of his five attempts of 20-plus yards downfield, while Daniel Jones only completed two of his six attempts for 46 yards and the score that would bring the Giants within two. 

The main difference between the two was Brady’s composure and protecting the football. The knock that is constantly heard about Jones is his inability to protect the football, and we heard those again tonight as he gifted two interceptions to the Bucs, one to Carlton Davis and the other to Sean Murphy-Bunting. Jones has now turned the ball over in 20 of his 21 starts as a New York Giant. 

After an early fumble from Ronald Jones, it appears Leonard Fournette has emerged as the go-to back in Tampa Bay. Fournette outpaced Jones in carries (15-7) and snaps played (51-17). 

ROOKIE WATCH

The rookie offensive linemen showcase was in full effect Monday night, with Andrew Thomas and Shane Lemieux playing 69 snaps apiece for the Giants, while Tristan Wirfs played 66 for Tampa Bay. Lemieux and Thomas struggled against one of the best pass-rushes in the NFL, giving up nine combined pressures. Wirfs kept Brady clean, giving up zero pressures in primetime. 

Bucs wideout Tyler Johnson caught both of his targets from Brady, including one where he took a hard hit and still maintained possession. Both of Johnson’s receptions moved the chains for the Tampa Bay offense. 

On the other side of the ball, Antoine Winfield Jr. played 66 defensive snaps for Tampa Bay and made arguably the play of the game, breaking up the potential game-tying 2-point conversion. For the Giants, Darnay Holmes allowed a reception on all three targets for 26 yards and two first downs.

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