for this game

Manning, Giants pick apart Buccaneers

Jan 6, 2008 - 11:35 PM TAMPA, Florida (Ticker) -- The Tampa Bay Buccaneers dared Eli Manning to beat them. Manning was happy to oblige them.

Manning threw a pair of touchdown passes and continually carved up Tampa Bay's defense, leading the New York Giants to a dominating 24-14 victory over the Buccaneers in an NFC wild card game Sunday.

New York (11-6) extended its franchise-best road winning streak to eight games to secure a matchup against NFC East rival Dallas next Sunday.

The Cowboys won both regular-season matchups against the Giants, but New York looked like a different team Sunday - largely due to play of the much-maligned Manning, who erased a history of inconsistent play with one of his best efforts of the season.

"This was a great game, a playoff game, a lot of pressure on him and he stood in there," said Giants defensive end Michael Strahan of Manning. "You couldn't ask anything more from him and I think it was a great performance by Eli."

Manning finished 20-of-27 for 185 yards with two TDs and zero interceptions, moving the ball at will against the league's top-ranked pass defense.

"He was smart," Tampa Bay cornerback Brian Kelly said. "He did a good job protecting the ball. He made some safe throws. He didn't take chances and we didn't have too many opportunities to capitalize on some things."

The backbreaking drive for Tampa Bay bridged the third and fourth quarters, when Manning guided New York 92 yards on 15 plays, eating up more than 8 1/2 minutes on the clock.

"Everybody stepped up and had a role," Manning said.

Manning was 5-of-6 for 56 yards on the drive and capped it off with a 4-yard pass to Amani Toomer to boost the lead to 24-7 with 8:03 to play in the game. Toomer finished with seven receptions for 74 yards.

"Eli had a great game today," Toomer said. "He took what was out there and didn't force anything. He doesn't get real excited; there is more than one way to lead a team. He showed that today."

It was a run of 24 unanswered points by the Giants, who carried the momentum over from the stellar play in a 38-35 loss to the New England Patriots in their regular-season finale.

Running back Brandon Jacobs caught a touchdown pass and ran for another score as the Giants won a postseason game for the first time since routing the Minnesota Vikings, 41-0, in the 2001 NFC Championship game.

"I feel good," Jacobs said. "The first playoff win came in my era, I feel good about that. We came out, won it. Now we have to go to the second round and never look back."

New York's defense also rose up after allowing the early score. Backup cornerback Corey Webster, thrust into the lineup due to an injury to Sam Madison, had an interception in the end zone and recovered a fumble on the second-half kickoff.

"A person is going to be doing what they are doing all year and I just happened to be in the right place at the right time," Webster said.

Meanwhile, the Buccaneers (9-8) had lost their final two regular-season games as coach Jon Gruden elected to rest the majority of his starters.

The lack of sharpness showed as the Bucs, aside from a first-quarter touchdown that forged a 7-0 lead, punted four times and had an interception in the next five possessions.

Quarterback Jeff Garcia, who had just four interceptions all season, completed 23-of-39 passes for 207 yards, one TD and two picks. He finally broke the Bucs' scoring drought with a 6-yard scoring pass to Alex Smith with 3:25 to play.

"We didn't really do a good job around (Garcia)," Gruden said. "Joey Galloway was ineffective, he tried. In all fairness to Jeff, the pass protection at times didn't allow him to find complementary receivers and things of that nature."

Tampa Bay continually stacked eight defenders in the box in the first quarter against Manning, resulting in three consecutive three-and-outs by the Giants.

The Buccaneers jumped on top, stringing together a 10-play drive in the waning minutes of the opening quarter behind the running of Earnest Graham, who capped the march with a 1-yard plunge for a 7-0 lead with 1:49 to go.

"We ran the ball well early, then unfortunately we came out in the second half and had a turnover," Graham said. "They got ahead and made plays and they definitely deserved the victory."

New York, which failed to pick up a first down in the first quarter finally abandoned the emphasis on the run in the second quarter and put the ball in the hands of Manning, who responded tremendously.

Manning moved the Giants 53 yards in eight plays, finishing the driving with a 5-yard screen pass to Jacobs to tie it at 7-7 with 10:02 left in the first half. Manning was 5-of-6 for 49 yards on the scoring drive.

After a second straight three-and-out by Tampa Bay, Manning completed four straight passes for 50 yards to get the Giants in position for Jacobs' 8-yard scoring run and a 14-7 lead with 4:06 left in the half.

"Eli played well, he showed that no matter what, he's going to hang in there," Strahan said. "He's going to figure out a way to get it done."

Manning finished the opening 30 minutes 11-of-14 for 108 yards and a touchdown, compensating for a running game that produced just 25 yards on 11 carries.






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    Giants 24, Buccaneers 14  FinalFeb 24 6:05 PM


  • WILD CARD PLAYOFFS
    NFL WILD CARD PLAYOFFS
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    NY GIANTS 0 14 3 7 24
    TAMPA BAY 7 0 0 7 14 FINAL
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: TAM - TD, EARNEST GRAHAM 1 YD RUN (MATT
    BRYANT KICK), 13:11. Drive: 10
    plays, 54 yards in 5:13. Key plays:
    Graham 11-yard run to New York 43;
    Garcia 11

    Jan 6 3:55 PM


  • WILD CARD PLAYOFFS
    NFL WILD CARD PLAYOFFS
    TD TAM
    ALEX SMITH 6 YD PASS FROM JEFF GARCIA
    (MATT BRYANT KICK)
    NY GIANTS 24
    TAMPA BAY 14 3:25 LEFT, 4TH QTR

    Giants vs. BuccaneersJan 6 3:37 PM


  • WILD CARD PLAYOFFS
    NFL WILD CARD PLAYOFFS
    TD NYG
    AMANI TOOMER 4 YD PASS FROM ELI MANNING
    (LAWRENCE TYNES KICK)
    NY GIANTS 24
    TAMPA BAY 7 8:03 LEFT, 4TH QTR

    Giants vs. BuccaneersJan 6 3:23 PM


  • WILD CARD PLAYOFFS
    NFL WILD CARD PLAYOFFS
    END, 3RD QTR 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    NY GIANTS 0 14 3 17
    TAMPA BAY 7 0 0 7 END, 3RD QTR
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: TAM - TD, EARNEST GRAHAM 1 YD RUN (MATT
    BRYANT KICK), 13:11. Drive: 10
    plays, 54 yards in 5:13. Key plays:
    Graham 11-yard run to New York 43;
    Ga

    Jan 6 3:11 PM
  • ekabrazi Brandon Jacobs can not run like for an entire game!!

    Giants vs. BuccaneersJan 6 2:44 PM
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    Giants vs. BuccaneersJan 6 2:44 PM


  • WILD CARD PLAYOFFS
    NFL WILD CARD PLAYOFFS
    FG NYG
    LAWRENCE TYNES 25 YD
    NY GIANTS 17
    TAMPA BAY 7 9:56 LEFT, 3RD QTR

    Giants vs. BuccaneersJan 6 2:44 PM


  • WILD CARD PLAYOFFS
    NFL WILD CARD PLAYOFFS
    HALFTIME 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    NY GIANTS 0 14 14
    TAMPA BAY 7 0 7 HALFTIME
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: TAM - TD, EARNEST GRAHAM 1 YD RUN (MATT
    BRYANT KICK), 13:11. Drive: 10
    plays, 54 yards in 5:13. Key plays:
    Graham 11-yard run to New York 43;
    Garcia

    Jan 6 2:21 PM
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    Giants vs. BuccaneersJan 6 2:11 PM


  • WILD CARD PLAYOFFS
    NFL WILD CARD PLAYOFFS
    TD NYG
    BRANDON JACOBS 8 YD RUN
    (LAWRENCE TYNES KICK)
    NY GIANTS 14
    TAMPA BAY 7 4:06 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Giants vs. BuccaneersJan 6 2:08 PM


  • WILD CARD PLAYOFFS
    NFL WILD CARD PLAYOFFS
    TD NYG
    BRANDON JACOBS 6 YD PASS FROM ELI MANNING
    (LAWRENCE TYNES KICK)
    NY GIANTS 7
    TAMPA BAY 7 10:02 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Giants vs. BuccaneersJan 6 1:55 PM


  • WILD CARD PLAYOFFS
    NFL WILD CARD PLAYOFFS
    END, 1ST QTR 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    NY GIANTS 0 0
    TAMPA BAY 7 7 END, 1ST QTR
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: TAM - TD, EARNEST GRAHAM 1 YD RUN (MATT
    BRYANT KICK), 13:11. Drive: 10
    plays, 54 yards in 5:13. Key plays:
    Graham 11-yard run to New York 43;
    Ga

    Jan 6 1:41 PM


  • WILD CARD PLAYOFFS
    NFL WILD CARD PLAYOFFS
    TD TAM
    EARNEST GRAHAM 1 YD RUN
    (MATT BRYANT KICK)
    NY GIANTS 0
    TAMPA BAY 7 1:49 LEFT, 1ST QTR

    Giants vs. BuccaneersJan 6 1:30 PM
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