“Monday Night Football” between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New York Giants played out a bit different than many would have thought, but Tom Brady delivered the result we expected.
The 43-year-old Brady and the Tampa defense propelled the Buccaneers to their sixth win on the season, a 25-23 verdict in the Week 8 clash at MetLife Stadium.
New York scored a touchdown in the final minute to cut its deficit to two points, but Tampa safety Antoine Winfield Jr. broke up Daniel Jones’ pass on the two-point attempt to help the Buccaneers pull out their third straight win.
“It was a great play. I think he sensed the ball was coming and put his arm out and ball hit him in the arm. It was a game-saving play for us,” Brady told reporters postgame, via the team. “They converted whatever fourth-and-16, fourth-and 17, and ultimately made a great throw and catch there to score. And then they had to make the two-point conversion and Antoine made a great play. So, you know, it was a great play, great job getting the onside kick to seal the deal.”
While Brady (28-for-40, 279 yards, two TDs) noted he was happy to get the win, the 6-2 Bucs going down to the wire with the 1-7 Giants certainly was unexpected. The signal-caller expressed how the team can, and has to, play better.
“We just didn?t play anywhere near the way we?re capable of playing,” Brady said. “Execution, that?s all it comes down to. We need to execute a lot better. I had guys open that I missed, and I got to hit those guys that are open.
“It’s not hard to grind. I don?t think that?s, I think we should be able to do that. And he?s (head coach Bruce Arians) right. We didn?t play the way we’re capable of playing,” Brady added. “And we’re going to have to play a lot better than that. Glad we got the win. Going to have to keep learning and understanding what we got to do better and then go out and execute better.”
But there is something to be said for Tampa finding a way to come out on top, which the Bucs failed to do earlier in a similar grind-it-out game against the Chicago Bears earlier this season.
“It?s hard to win games in the NFL. I think anyway you cut it, it’s hard to win. It comes down a lot of times to end-of-game situations and one play here, one play there. It’s very rarely that you win by seven touchdowns like you do in college football. So, you make one play, they make one play. You know, they made a good play on fourth-and-17 and that gave them a chance, had we stopped them there it wouldn?t have had the dramatic finish that it had. So, they made a play, we made a play. That?s just ebbs and flows. That?s football.”
Brady praised his offensive line, which allowed three sacks and helped the Buccaneers record a 3.4 yard-per-rush average. Tampa also won the turnover battle while intercepting two of Jones’ passes.
“I thought the line did a great job. Those are some big defensive fronts, they got a lot of really good players up front,” Brady said of the Giants. “They do a good job rushing, they do a good job in the run game, and the line fought really hard. So, proud of those guys for their effort, execution, and we?re going to keep battling.”
The Bucs now turn their sights to an NFC South rival, the New Orleans Saints, who they play Week 9 on “Sunday Night Football.”