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Bucs vs. Giants: Live Game Grades and Player Analysis for Tampa Bay

Caleb AbnerContributor IIIOctober 9, 2016

Bucs vs. Giants: Live Game Grades and Player Analysis for Tampa Bay

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    Today, the New York Giants host the Tampa Buccaneers at the Meadowlands.

    This game pits the defending Super Bowl champions against a Buccaneer team that features former Giants quarterback coach Mike Sullivan as offensive coordinator and former Giants defensive coordinator as DC. 

    The Giants are coming off a disappointing loss to the Cowboys, while the Bucs surprised many by beating the Panthers 16-10 last week.

    We will be providing live game grades and player analysis throughout the afternoon. All you have to do is keep this page open and let the matchup unfold.

    The game is over and a heartbreaker for the Bucs. It truly came down to the last seconds.

    41-34 Giants

Starting Quarterback

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    Overall Grade: B+

    Q4 Grade: A

    Josh Freeman knows that he has receivers other than Vincent Jackson, right? Right?

    Actually, he does. On the Tampa Bay's final touchdown scoring drive, he throws three straight to Dallas Clark, then a 41-yard bomb to Mike Williams.

    On the final drive of the game, he throws a beautiful sideline pass to Mike Williams that is dropped. 

    That last interception doesn't count because it was a desperation throw.

    Q3 Grade: D

    Freeman is 1/5 for 22 yards this quarter. He threw an interception on a forced pass. Flashing glimpses of  2011 version.

    Q2 Grade: B

    Oh, Freeman. You have to know when to throw it away and when to scramble. Here's a hint: if it's a three step drop and no one is open, just throw it away. We won't fault you for it.

    In all seriousness, Free has simply not looked good under pressure. And unfortunately, he's under pressure a lot.

    On the bright side, if he gets time, you get to see great things from him, like touchdown passes to Vincent Jackson.

    Q1 Grade: A- 

    Josh Freeman started out the game hot, first with an 11-yard completion to Mike Williams, then with a 41-yard bullet to Vincent Jackson. The offensive line did not give him much time to throw on the second drive, but still he managed a couple of completions.We're seeing many more deep balls than we did last week.

Offense

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    Overall Grade: B-

    Q4 Grade: B

    So. Many. Runs. 

    Yet for all this running, Doug Martin has a yards per carry stat of less than four, which is below average. The offensive line fails to push the defense around enough to open holes.

    Q3 Grade: C

    We moved into a run-heavy offense in the third quarter, Doug Martin running seven times versus five pass attempts. Vincent Jackson continues to dominate. The offensive line continues to underperform in pass protection.

    Q2 Grade: C+

    Up until the Brandon McDonald interception, Tampa Bay's rush attack was nothing to be proud of. It may, however, be jumpstarted by Doug Martin's first career touchdown, a Madden-esque effort displaying prime agility and vision. The first of many to come, hopefully.

    If the game ended now, Vincent Jackson would get the MVP award. He has 87 receiving yards between three receptions and one touchdown grab. All day Jackson has drawn match ups away from the other receivers.

    The offense needs to keep a steady drive to win this one. They can't rely on turnovers forever.

    Q1 Grade: B-

    The rest of the offense has not been as sharp. The wide receivers, especially V-Jax, have been excellent, but the  offensive line hasn't been getting a push on the defensive line. Sure, it may be difficult to do that against the likes of Jason Pierre-Paul, Justin Tuck, and Osi Umenyiora, but one would expect better.  The running backs haven't been able to do much, aside from a few short runs by Doug Martin.

Defense

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    Overall Grade: C

    Q4 Grade: D+

    Eli Manning ends the game with 510 yards passing, three touchdowns, and three interceptions. I think the Giants found a weakness in the Bucs. 

    Q3 Grade: B-

    The defensive line is doing a great job, but the secondary needs to do better. Eli Manning, besides for a few bad throws, has been on target and his receivers seemingly-unstoppable. Aqib Talib has looked borderline sluggish in this outing. 

    Bend-don't-break, anyone?

    Q2 Grade: C

    On there first play of the second half, Mason Foster turned just at the right time to catch a brilliant interception. Eight minutes later, Brandon McDonald earns his paycheck as well, with a 40-yard interception return.

    The comparisons to the 2011 Pats defense just continue to stack up, besides for the fantastic job the Bucs have done shutting down the run. Like the Pats of yesteryear, Tampa Bay is able to force turnovers that save them after they let up huge gains through the air. 

    Not-so-Fun Fact: Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks both have other 70 receiving yards.

    To end the half, Eric Wright snatches an Eli Manning-throw out of the air and brings it back for a 60-yard score. At one point in his career, he must have been a wide receiver.

    Q1 Grade: C-

    Right now, the Bucs pass defense is looking quite a bit like the Patriots' 2011 defense. They are giving up big plays to guys like Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz, but are playing better once they are in the red zone. The run defense has been better, while the pass rush isn't what it needs to be.


Special Teams

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    Overall Grade: B

    Q4 Grade: B

    The field position battle was pretty even. No game changers on special teams.

    Q3 Grade: A

    This just got real.

    Connor Barth extends his streak to 20, following a 55 yard kickoff return by Arrelious Benn, in his first game of the season.

    Q2 Grade: B-

    Not a lot to see here, other than that the Giants seem to getting some good field position.

    Q1 Grade: B

    Connor Barth currently has the NFL's longest active streak of 19 consecutive field goals scored. The Giants have started both drives past their own 30 yard line. We need to see the Bucs landing more tackles on kickoffs.

Coaching

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    Overall Grade: C+

    Q4 Grade: C+

    I think I understand the Bucs' game plan now. It's to get the lead, then run the ball for the rest game with a few passes here and there. Without a defense to bring in the turnovers, though, there is no way that it would work. The coaches are gambling with the strength of their own defense. And when they fail to pressure Eli on a blitz and cover Victor Cruz with only Ronde Barber, this game plain falls apart. A poor play call led to that game tying score.

    Then when that secondary gets tired, they let up a potentially-game winning touchdown. Poor play calling on the defensive side.

    The second-to-last drive the Bucs had was engineered beautifully. Too bad Tampa Bay followed up with more terrible pass defense.

    Q3 Grade: C

    Many times, it's hard to determine if a team struggles because of poor execution or poor on-field performances.

    In this game, the offense seems to be stilted by the coaches, the defense by the players. Mike Sullivan is being rather obvious with the pass (if it's a pass,it's going deep to V-Jax) and weren't not seeking a whole lot of creativity. The best word to describe it would be "uber-conservative."

    The defensive play calling is spot on. Besides for a few runs, the Bucs seem to have diagnosed every one before the snap. No matter how good the play calling though is regarding the secondary, it doesn't matter, because the coverage just isn't there.

    Q2 Grade: B

    Though the Bucs continue to run a lot of ineffective screen passes, they are doing some impressive stuff with the deep ball. Schiano seems to have figured out how to manipulate the Giants defense with some varying success, but can't seem to find the right defensive scheme to stop Eli Manning's pass attack. If not for three poor throws by Manning, it would be very possible that the score would be 34-3 New York.

    Q1 Grade: B-

    The Bucs have held their own so far in this game, which is something when you consider that they drafted within the Top 10 last year. I think it's fair to attribute much of this improvement to improved coaching. Still, the pass defense is weak, and it is time for the Bucs for make some adjustments.

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