Looking at the stats at half time, one would think the Giants were crushing Tampa Bay. They led in every major category, yet all they could muster were field goals. Twice they were first and goal and only picked up three points each try. Big Blue was not going to let that continue in the second half. Eli went from tying his worst record for interceptions (3) in the first half to being the elite QB that he is, recording his career-high 510 yds. His aerial assault resulted in a big game for receivers Hakeem Nicks, who had 199 receiving yards, and Victor Cruz with a monster 179 yards. What was a seemingly easy win for the Buccaneers in the first half turned into a tear-jerker for Tampa Bay fans, losing with a minute to go in the game. We also got to see a man by the name of Andre Brown.
Cruz proved that his post-Super Bowl hangover ended in the home opener loss to the Cowboys. Against the Bucs he caught an 80-yard TD pass that sparked himself, his team, and the fans when it was desperately needed in the fourth quarter. A rejuvenated Andre Brown was thrust into action when Ahmad Bradshaw was injured in the first half, and he even converted the crucial two-point conversion to tie the game at 27 with seven minutes to go. Bucs QB Josh Freeman then returned with a TD to shock the Giants and tie the game again with three minutes left. But Elite Eli redeemed himself with another touchdown drive where Andre Brown came up big by scoring the go-ahead touchdown (the first of his NFL career) with 31 seconds remaining. Micheal Boley sealed the game soon after with an interception.
We can speak about how everyone knew the Giants couldn’t go 0-2 playing both of their first 2 games at home, however, no one ever thought Andre Brown would be the diamond in the rough.
Tom Coughlin exploded on former Giants coach Greg Schiano shouting his disapproval after the game when the Bucs defense gave the Giants an unnecessary blow on the last play. The Bucs rushed the Giants unexpectedly during the final kneel down. Eli fell down and got right up, but that unclassy move still made Coughlin’s blood boil! This could be the start of a new rivalry.