FINAL SCORE: GIANTS 24, BUCS 14
Eli Manning shrugged off all of the criticism he’s faced since the 23-0 blowout playoff loss in 2005 as he led the Giants to his first career playoff win this week in Tampa! Eli had 2 TD’s, zero interceptions, was 20-27, and had a 117.1 rating as the offense started their engines in the second quarter.The offense had -2 yards in the first quarter, the worst amount of yardage gained in the first quarter of a playoff game since the ’01 Ravens.
Great job by the Giants defense to stop Giant-Killer Jeff Garcia from beating the Giants a 3rd straight time in the playoffs. The defense started off fine, but then allowed a touchdown to Tampa as the Giants faced an early 7-0 deficit. The Giants then took the ball and scored a touchdown of their own on a short Brandon Jacobs pass that was nearly deflected with 10:02 to go in the first half.
On the next Giant drive, Amani Toomer caught 3 passes for 40 yards that ended in a Brandon Jacobs touchdown run. The Giants extended their lead to 14-7. The Bucs got the ball back and tried to score before the half unsuccessfully, as the Giants got the ball back to run out the clock and head into the second half. The Bucs fumbled the kickoff at the start of the second half and Corey Webster recovered.
Webster, who started the first few games, did poorly in the beginning of the year leading to him being inactive and limited to special teams duties. He played in place of the injured Sam Madison and did a great job including an interception, that fumble recovery, and also a key deflection of a Jeff Garcia pass intended for Joey Galloway.
The fumble was lead to a Giants field goal and a 17-7 lead. The Giants then scored a touchdown on a drive where Eli Manning found Amani Toomer to make the score 24-7 with 8:03 remaining in the game.
The Bucs’ Alex Smith caught a TD pass a little bit later, but it didn’t make a huge difference. The score was 24-14 and the Giants got the ball back. They ran it a little, but the Bucs ended up getting the ball back. Jeff Garcia threw a pick to R.W. McQuarters, a play that was originally ruled out of bounds but overturned by booth review, sealed the deal.
Well, The Giants pick up their first post-season win since the 2000 NFC Championship Game that was won 41-0, and Tom Coughlin grabbed his first playoff victory since 1999.