Tiki Gets The Best Of Ronde
After Sunday's game, Bucs CB Ronde Barber sought out his twin brother, Giants RB Tiki Barber, at midfield. The two hugged, then posed for a photo. It's the same scene that has played out the three other times the Pro Bowlers have played against each other. The rivalry began in 1997, but Ronde was inactive for that game.
If Sunday's matchup indeed was the final Barber Bowl, with Tiki saying he will retire at the end of this season, Ronde's Bucs win the series 3-2.
"It was important for our team to continue the streak that we started three weeks ago and that is important," Tiki said. "But I think on a personal level, it is nice to get a win over Ronde."
Tiki entered the game as the league's leading rusher with 129 carries for 647 yards, an average of 5 yards per carry. The Bucs defense, which was ranked 30th in the league against the run, held Tiki to 68 rushing yards on 26 carries, an average of 2.6 per carry. Tiki's total did help him become the 21st player in NFL history to surpass 9,500 rushing yards (9,502).
"If you give him some room, then he is tough to deal with in space," Ronde said. "I think for the most part, and even he said so after the game, that we did a lot of what other teams couldn't do."
Field position differences
The Giants had a 10-yard advantage in terms of average starting field position. New York's average start was the 37-yard line, while the Bucs' was the 27. "That was a huge factor," Jon Gruden said.
Only five of the Bucs' 14 drives started past the 30-yard line. The Giants started nine of their 15 drives past the 30. New York's special teams were able to pin the Bucs inside their 5-yard line twice.
"It was just one of those days you had to bear down and concentrate as much as you can," Giants P Jeff Feagles said. "Field position was very big."
Two plays, one yard, zero result
Trailing by 11 points at the start of the fourth quarter, the Bucs were in Giants territory facing a third-and-1 at the 32-yard line.
On that play, RB Cadillac Williams rushed for no gain and the Bucs opted to go for it on fourth down, when QB Bruce Gradkowski scrambled and ultimately threw an incomplete pass. "That was a tough series," Williams said. "On fourth down, it was a play that we have been working on for three weeks that I thought was going to hit big."
DE Simeon Rice was shaken up at the beginning of the second quarter after batting down an Eli Manning pass but returned. MLB Shelton Quarles left the game in the third quarter with a left ankle sprain. He was replaced by Barrett Ruud but returned after missing some snaps. Quarles led the defense with 13 tackles.
DT Ellis Wyms was injured with 5:51 remaining. Wyms, who missed two days of practice with an ankle sprain, came off the field for one play after tweaking his ankle. He was replaced by Jon Bradley. Wyms sacked Manning in the third quarter, his third consecutive game with at least one sack.
Bucs GM Bruce Allen said CB Brian Kelly will have surgery this week to remove part of the bone on the toe that's been bothering him. The Bucs placed Kelly on injured reserve last week, ending his season.
The Bucs fumbled the ball six times Sunday, losing one. There are only two other times in franchise history the team has fumbled more and both games were against a New York team. The Bucs fumbled eight times (losing three) against the Jets in 1982 and seven times (losing five) against the Jets in 1985.
The Bucs defense had gone 18 quarters without allowing an offensive touchdown against the Giants before Sunday. But WR Plaxico Burress ended the streak with a one-handed touch
down grab on the Giants' second series. The last time Tampa Bay's defense had allowed an offensive touchdown to the Giants was 1993.
Sunday’s game marked the 183rd of Derrick Brooks’ career, tying him with tackle Paul Gruber for the most in Buccaneers history. Brooks has started 180 of those 183 games, leaving him just three shy of Gruber’s mark in that category. Brooks also has an active streak of 183 straight games played, as he has yet to miss a contest since being drafted in 1995.
DE Simeon Rice’s sack of QB Eli Manning in the second quarter was the 121st of his career. He forced a fumble on the play, too, the 37th time he’s done that.
DT Ellis Wyms sacked QB Eli Manning in the third quarter, giving Wyms four sacks in the last three games, including one in each of his two starts since the trade of Anthony McFarland.