TAMPA, Fla. -- Just when it appeared that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' well-documented kicking woes were behind them, rookie Matt Gay missed a 34-yard field goal with four seconds left, giving the New York Giants a 32-31 win and dropping the Bucs to 1-2. Gay also missed an extra point attempt after the Bucs’ opening possession and had a blocked extra point at the end of the first quarter.
QB breakdown: Against a weak Giants defense that had given up the third-most passing yards in the league heading into Sunday’s game, quarterback Jameis Winston finally looked in sync with his receivers, and they were able to establish a rhythm in the passing game. He connected with Mike Evans for 190 yards and three touchdowns.
Evans made a gorgeous, 44-yard grab along the right sideline to put the Bucs into field goal range with 34 seconds left and set up Gay's attempt. Winston did have a turnover -- a fourth-quarter interception by Ryan Connelly -- on a pass intended for Evans. He was saved two plays later by a forced fumble from Shaq Barrett that was recovered by Rakeem Nunez-Roches. Winston wasn’t able to replicate his first-half magic (thee TD passes) in the second, but his performance should evoke some level of confidence.
Describe the game in four words: Where was the defense? Defensive coordinator Todd Bowles’ work with this unit had quietly become the talk of the NFL after the team surrendered just one touchdown in eight quarters. But the Bucs had no answers for Giants rookie quarterback Daniel Jones, who threw for 336 yards and two touchdowns and ran for two more in his first NFL start. Tight end Evan Engram had six catches for 113 receiving yards and a touchdown. There were too many missed tackles and poor angles taken to the ball, which is troubling with a daunting five-game road stretch starting with the Los Angeles Rams next week.
A big point of emphasis by coach Bruce Arians all week was practicing the same way coming off a win as they had a loss. Although Arians seemed pleased with the effort in practice this week, it's clear that this group can't be caught off-guard the way it was by Jones in the second half. The Bucs had a substantial 28-10 first-half lead and under no circumstances should have lost this game.