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Saquon Barkley’s Career Day Propels Giants Over Bucs 38-35

There was a different feel around the day for the New York Giants. Maybe this was a feeling of confidence after a solid outing against the 49ers or the adjustments made with the offensive line. Coupled with their victory in San Francisco last Monday, the Giants have won consecutive games for the first time since Dec. 11-18, 2016, when they beat Dallas and Detroit at home.

Either way the results equaled a 38-35 victory against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers led by the one tow punch of Eli Manning and Saquon Barkley. Barkley rushed for a career high 142 yards on 27 carries and three touchdowns.  Manning was 17-18 for 231 yards and two touchdowns and was a s close to perfect as you could be, the only dropped pass was from Barkley in the third quarter.

Manning had knew when he released the pass to Barkley that he was off a bit “I just missed him. I have to look at it on film. Just a combination of both, I could probably throw it a little better and see when he is looking back to make sure he is not looking too late. We have to be able to hit that one. That was a big third down.”

Barkley had a career day and made his mark early. “We definitely got the run game going today. We got great calls from our coaches, too. But when we get the run game going, everything else kind of clicked. We got them (Tampa Bay) to commit more to the run so we could take some deep shots and take shots down the field. It also keeps the clock and the chains moving.”

New York came out with confidence and showed they had some swag in their step as it took only 3:13 to put a touchdown on the board against the Buccaneer defense led by former Giant Jason Pierre-Paul. The first series was highlighted by a 41 yard bomb by Manning to Odell Beckhan Jr which led to a six yard touchdown pass to Barkley for the early lead.  It was the third time this season the Giants scored a first-possession touchdown. They also did it at Houston on Sept. 23 (on Barkley’s 15-yard run) and a week later vs. New Orleans (on Manning’s two-yard pass to Sterling Shepard).

As mentioned the Giants played against an old friend today as JPP spoke earlier in the week of about attempting to sack his former teammate Eli Manning. Well he got to Eli twice today.”I was just having fun out there doing my job, and he knows that, and doing the job the right way. I had fun with it, but whoever the next team is, that’s who I’m on [to]. I’m going to look at the film study and see what I can do better and obviously get better, come back, and be ready for the next team.”

The Giants forced a season-high four turnovers, all on interceptions. Michael Thomas, Curtis Riley, Alec Ogletree and B.W. Webb each had picks, and Ogletree returned his for a touchdown early in the third quarter. “I forgot what coverage we were in, but I saw Janoris kind of undercut the route.” said Ogeltree ” I told him he should’ve caught it the first time. It would’ve been his pick, but he kind of bobbled it, and I was running to the ball and was able to get my hands on it and kind of scoop it, and get up. It was a good play, and it scored a touchdown for us.”

“I’m just glad that Bettch (James Bettcher) and coach Lou (Anarumo) keep finding ways to put me on the field” Said Thomas. “I just thank God for the opportunity, I’m just going to keep taking advantage of it. We know that their tight end is one of his top targets, period, but especially in the red zone. It’s a big matchup for me. I love that I was able to go out there and prove that I can make a play and to seal it right before halftime so they don’t get points, that’s huge.”

The other big interception came from Michael Thomas in the 4th quarter to ice the game. Thomas was a player Coach Shurmer has=d come in to contribute to special teams and has now been a big part of the defense. He is a leader in the locker room. ” He’s one of the adults in the room.” Coach Shurmer explained. “He’s an outstanding person, he gets it, he’s able to get it and he leads. He does the right thing at the right time for the right reasons and doesn’t care about the consequences. That’s Mike. He’s always got a smile on his face, he’s very competitive. Every time we put him in there to do something, he competes. He’s the kind of guy you want on the field.”

The Buccaneers started Ryan Fitzpatrick at quarterback for Tampa but he struggled even with his seven yard run in the first quarter for their first touchdown. After three turnovers, Head Coach Dirk Koetter  made the decision to pull Fitzpatrick and reinserted Jameis Winston back into the lineup. Winston finsished 12/19 for 199 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.

“I have been telling you all along Jameis’ day was going to come back, that’s water under the bridge right now” Said Coach Koetter. “He came in and lit it up.”

“I always want to play.” Says Winston [Ryan] Fitzpatrick was doing an amazing job at the beginning of the year, so I was doing everything I possibly could to be a good teammate. ” I just don’t like losing. I was more focused on the opportunity I had to play with my guys again.”

As far as what this means going forward for New York, Odell Beckham said it best. “It’s the same mentality every week. If the o-line is playing like that every single game, it’s going to be hard. The goal is to win every game. So six games left, it’s really only crazy until you do it.”

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