'86' defense: Giants hold Bucs to 86 yards in shutout
Eli Manning and Co. are unbeaten, though there's still plenty of room for improvement.
Reviving a dominant rushing attack offensively and stopping the run defensively were major priorities Sunday, and the New York Giants did both during a 24-0 rout of the winless Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
A week after giving up 251 yards on the ground and needing a field goal as time expired to beat Dallas, the defending NFC East champions (3-0) pushed the sputtering Bucs (0-3) around from start to finish.
"We had a couple of objectives coming in here," coach Tom Coughlin said after Manning threw for two touchdowns and Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw led a resurgence of a powerful ground attack that was absent the previous two weeks.
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"We had a game in which we didn't play very well against the run, so we knew that we would be tested and we would have to rise up and do a better job there," Coughlin said. "We also knew we needed to rush the ball better than we had, so we did a pretty good job with that."
Tampa Bay, which has lost seven straight dating to an 0-4 December that cost it a playoff berth last season, was outgained 397 yards to 86 and did not have a first down until late in the third quarter.
It was the Giants' first shutout since a 36-0 home victory over Washington in October 2005. They hadn't blanked an opponent on the road since beating Philadelphia 23-0 in November 1983.
"They beat us down," said Tampa Bay's first-year coach Raheem Morris, who's still looking for his first win.
"We were beat by a grown-man team, a team we want to be like one day," the NFL's youngest head coach added. "They came in here and took it to us. Out-manned us, out-gunned us. ... It wasn't even close."
Manning completed 14 of 24 passes for 161 yards, following up on an impressive performance in a dramatic 33-31 victory at Dallas the previous week. He led a game-winning drive in the closing minutes, producing Lawrence Tynes' 37-yard field goal as time expired.
The New York star left this one after his 18-yard TD pass to Sinorice Moss put the Giants up 24-0 early in the fourth quarter. Backup David Carr and an injury-depleted defense finished up, with New York perserving a shutout by stopping the Bucs on downs at the Giants' 5 with five minutes to go.
"Our defense was very, very, very impressive," Jacobs said. "I knew they would come out with a chip on their shoulder."