Bucs defense rests after halftime vs. Giants
The Bucs yielded 277 yards in the opening half, but three interceptions held Manning and the Giants in check. After intermission, there was no relief in sight.

Manning threw for 295 yards in the second half, eluding Tampa Bay blitzers long enough to find Cruz and Hakeem Nicks repeatedly running open in the Meadowlands.

When the Bucs defense trudged off the field after facing 76 snaps in a 3-hour, 23-minute slugfest, Tampa Bay had allowed 604 total yards the most in the history of the franchise.

"We had some good takeaways, but those turnovers also covered up a lot of stuff we didn't do today,'' said DT Gerald McCoy, who spent a quiet afternoon trying to pressure Manning. "We've got to learn to keep our foot on the gas.''

Cruz and Nicks were targeted 32 times and combined for 21 catches and 378 yards, with one touchdown reception apiece. Giants TE Martellus Bennett, brother of Bucs DE Michael Bennett, added five catches for 72 yards, including a 33-yard score that put the Giants briefly ahead 34-27 with 3:59 left.

"We knew it would be a dogfight and they made one more play than us,'' said Bucs CB Aqib Talib, who registered eight tackles and four passes defensed while frequently matched up in one-on-one coverage with Nicks. "It was our job to stop them and we didn't do it often enough.''

About the writer
Ira Kaufman has long been both a great writer for The Tampa Tribune and friend to the Bucs UK and BUCPOWER.COM. He writes on all sports for the paper but during the NFL season offers his stories on not just the Buccaneers, but also the NFL in general.