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Mikefan - Gamegirl Reviews
Game 1
  1st 2nd 3rd 4th Final
Giants 7 0 7 3 17
Bucs 0 10 3 0 13
Preview E-Giants Recap ESPN Recap ESPN Stats

Gamegirl, it looks like the defense picked up right where it left off last year.
"It really does. I wonder what the Vegas odds were on Christian Peter scoring the first touchdown of the NY Giants season?
They really had some opening day! As it turned out, my Giants D scored 14 of the total 17 points, and caused the turnover for the other 3! On top of that, they did it without Conrad Hamilton and Jason Sehorn.
They were out there on that field most of the game, only allowed 13 points, and that was what was supposed to be an explosive Tampa Bay offense."

Did you think the heat and playing time would affect them.
"Yes, but those guys showed that they can play in Hell if they have to, and do anything it takes to win a game. They're really amazing, and speaking of amazing, I didn't
expect the Tampa Bay defense to be so good as to totally shut down our offense the way they did.
I'm hoping they're really that good, and it's not just that our offense is really that bad."

We have a hunch you're right on that one.
Teams barely scored against them in preseason.
"If you say so, and I guess thinking on it, even if we had Gary Brown in there or switched quarterbacks to Kerry Collins the results would probably have been about the same.
We won't know until next week when we play Washington, and they lost a tough one today to the Cowboys in overtime. They won't want to go 0-2 by losing to the Giants."

It would be foolish to underestimate the Redskins.
"Right, and we can't expect this exceptional level of play from the defense week in and week out. I mean Percy Ellsworth had two interceptions,and Phillipi Sparks had one, and they were all over the field.
It seemed like everyone was blocking passes and batting balls away. What an effort, and Maynard was really on his game. He had a good rush coming at him, had to re-kick a few times, and even kicking into the wind he got the ball where he wanted."

Maynard had 12 punts and averaged 43.8
"OK, and I think about half of them put the Bucs inside the 20, including the one that rolled out of bounds at the Tampa Bay 1 yard line.
It's just too bad that there's not much to say about the offense.
Toomer and Mitchell caught a few, but there was no kind of consistency with all the penalties, and no running game.
I guess the best thing you can say is that the offense didn't hurt themselves. There were no interceptions or fumbles.

Is that it?
One more thing. I saw the Jets game earlier, and with Testaverde out for the season, and the way the Tampa Bay fans were booing Trent Dilfer, he might as well pack his bags and head to NY to fill in!"

Mikefan, it looks like you have the rundown.
"Yes, but before we get to that, Gamegirl was a little bit off on one thing.
The offense did hurt themselves with some bad play calling.
Like what was the deal with calling on Bennett to run up the middle with a third and one on the opening drive? I guess Fassel didn't read my preview report. Bennett can't run up the middle any better than Wheatley right now. He might learn to do so, but was this the best time to teach him? The offense was three and out on the opening drive thanks to that, and it became the trend for the game."

So you're going to send Fassel a reminder note to read your previews?
"Hey, the defense must have read it. They knew they were in for trouble right away, because on the very next series Armstead hits into Trent Dilfer, causes a fumble, and Christian Peter scoops it up and runs it in for a TD.
The fired up Giants defense had to stay on the field again, and they simply ate up the Tampa Bay offense.
Of course the Giants got a bad call on the next offensive series when Toomer made a great catch and they still can't get a first down.
Then the Bucs get their act together using their running backs to catch passes as well as run, and they come away with 3 points, but it was a costly drive as Dunn, Mike Alstott, and Reidel Anthony all get hurt, but they were back in later."

That drive ran over into the 2nd Quarter and made it Giants 7 - Bucs 3.
"Right, and this time the Giants get the ball and go 3 and out for the third time, but not before Graham gets knocked down twice, and Tiki Barber drops a 3rd and 10 pass right to him.
Now the overworked Giants defense takes the field and gives up some ground, but holds, just so the offense can take the field and they start off with a penalty, giving them a 1st and 15 from the 16 yard line.
Again Kent hits Toomer but then SACK, and next Tampa stops Bennett at the 15.
Maynard punts it good, and it's a fair catch at the TB 31, but we pull a penalty on the play, and after the re-kick, Tampa gets it on the 49. Luckily, the Bucs go 3 and out because Phillipi Sparks is all over the place quietly having one of his usual good games."

You're right. He doesn't get much notice for the job he does.
"Graham takes over at the Giants 7 and Bennett goes for 3, and then Kent hits Toomer for 11, giving the Giant their first 1st down of the game, and it's about time with only about 5:12 left in the 2nd Quarter.
On 2nd and 10 from the 21, Graham hits Hilliard for 12 yards and another first down. Then he opens it up with a deep one to Pete Mitchell, but it's incomplete.
Kent calls a timeout, and then hits Bennett for 7 on a screen.
Now it's 3rd and 3, and it's all set up for Graham to hit Tiki on the third down, but Tiki dropped it the last time and Kent looks at Tiki but can't bring himself to throw it. He takes off instead and doesn't make it.
Next there are a bunch of stupid penalties, and instead of Tampa Bay taking over on their own 15, they end up with it on the 47 with 1:42 left."

The penalties were really costing us now.
"You bet, and the Bucs made a few plays for a first down, and called a time out and on the 1st and 10 from the NY 40. They decide to test Lincoln and he looks lost out there while they complete a 39 yarder to Emanuel and and before you know it, Dilfer completes to Moore for a 1yard TD Pass.
There's only 10 secs left in the half and you wonder where Bashir Levingston is as Patten mishandles the ball and there's no runback, and then the Giants offense takes a knee."

That's the end of the half, and it's Giants 7 Bucs 10.
"The Bucs end up starting from their 20, make a 2nd and 12 for a !st down, and then another 1st down. The Giants are making some sloppy tackles now and you start to worry the the heat is getting to them.
The Bucs are moving the ball and are at the TB 44.
Then it's like the defense has had it with this, and they swarm and the next thing you know, it's 4th and 11, and TB has to punt it away, and it ends up out of bounds to the NY 16.
Graham hits Toomer for 8, then Jurevicius drops a pass.
Bennett picks up 5 and the first down. Graham does the hard count and it costs the Bucs 5. Bennett goes nowhere on the next play, but Graham passes to Mitchell for 9 and gets the first down.

Just when things are looking good, Stone pulls a False Start penalty. (He had 8 in 1998), and Graham is stuck with a 1st and 15.
It ends up being too much as Graham passes to Toomer for 6 yards and Hilliard for 6, but incomplete to Jurevicius with TB Kelly all over him. Maynard punts another good one for 40 yards, and out of bounds at TB11.
Armstead and then S.Williams make big plays and the Bucs have to punt without getting a first down.
Giants on offense from the NY 45 get nowhere as the refs let Tiki's brother Ronde beat up on Hilliard. To right this injustice, the football Gods intercede, and Maynard punts a 52 yard beauty that hits down and rolls out of bounds at the TB1.

Alstott goes up the middle to the TB2 for only 1 yard. Dilfer passes to Hape who is in the clear and would have gone far, but he flubs it.
Maybe that got to Dilfer, because he shotgun passes the next one toward Green but it's intercepted by rookie Andre Weathers at the TB8, and he runs it in for a TD.
The Tampa Bay fans boo Dilfer off the field. Daluiso does his thing, and gets the extra point.

Now the Giants are ahead 14 - 10.
Daluiso's kickoff goes out of bounds and Dilfer, amidst more boos takes the field, getting to start off from the 40. He misses a wide open Emanuel on the left sideline deep and gets more boos.
Dilfer changes the call at the line and people are moving on both sides of the ball and he passes to Alstott for 12, and then follows it with a pass to Moore for 26.
The fans are all cheering now as Dilfer has the Bucs moving and at the NY 22.
Now the Giants defense toughens against the Bucs for no gain on three tries, and Gramatica kicks a 36 yard field goal."

That makes it Giants 14, Tampa 13.
"Levingston gets to return a short kick from the NY 17 to the 33 yard line.
Kent Graham resists the temptation to apologize to the defense and instead takes the field and hits Jurevicius for a 4 yarder that ends the quarter.
Bennett tries one up the middle and gets only 1 yard. Then Graham passes incomplete, but there's offsetting penalties. Unfortunately, there's none called on the next play when Abraham is all over Toomer.
Maynard punts it 45 to TB17 and it's Fair Catched by Green.
Dilfer gets some boos as he takes the field and then completely loses it as he scrambles backfield and lobs one intended for Moore, but it's intercepted by Percy Ellsworth at the TB29 and he wisely runs it out of bounds at the TB24.
Giants on offense get only 3, as Daluiso just barely makes a 36 yard field goal.

Now we're at Giants 17, Tampa 13.
Backup QB Eric Zeier, formerly from the Ravens, takes the field at the TB20 amidst many cheers, but P.Ellsworth ruins his debut, as he bats away the ball headed to Emanuel who would have gotten big yardage.
They run Dunn for 5 yards, and then Zeier working from the shotgun passes to Green who catches it out of bounds on the deep right side.
Tiki Barber gets a good return on the punt, taking it to the NY39 for 13 yards.
The Giants need to get a drive going so they can kill some clock. Graham passes to Pete Mitchell for 7, but then they foolishly send Bennett up the middle for no gain, and the next pass is incomplete to Mitchell, but it doesn't matter because of a False Start on Oben.
Now it's 3rd and 8, and Kent hits Patten deep but he has gone out of bounds first so it counts as no catch. Maynard punts 48 yards to the TB11.

The Giants on defense won't even let Zeier test our secondary as they nail Alstott for minus 2, chase Zeier into the end zone where he passes incomplete to Dunn, and then they allow a 6 yard pass to Williams for no first down.
The punt goes to Tiki who has no choice but to jump out of bounds at the NY36.
Campbell gets penalized for 5 yards for a False Start to put Kent Graham in the hole with a 1st and 15.
Kent passes to Pete Mitchell to the NY40 for 9 yards, but Charles Way gets hit for -1 yard by Sapp and Tiki's brother, Ronde. Then they pass to Way but it only nets 1 yard."

Tampa called their first time out with 3:10 left.
"Right, and Maynard punts it 45 yards to the TB15 and Green has to Fair Catch it. Zeier pass falls incomplete as Percy Ellsworth knocks it down, and his next pass is knocked into the air by Cedric Jones who almost intercepts it.
Zeier realizes that this is not so easy as his next pass is complete to Anthony but for no gain. Royals punts a good one 50 yards and it's tough to handle, but Tiki Barber fields it and returns it 8 yards to the NY43."

Now the Giants have it with only 2:32 left.
"Right, but you and me and Gamegirl and all the Giants fans and even the booing Tampa Bay fans know that the Giants on offense won't be able to kill all the time, and Tampa will get another chance, and that's exactly what happens.
They feed it to Charles Way 3 straight times for a gain of 2 yards, gain of 1 yard, and loss of 2 yards as Tampa Bay uses all their timeouts, and we're at the 2:00 warning.
Maynard punts it 41 yards to the TB15, and on the return Green runs it to the NY6 where Maynard shoves him out, but there are penalties on both sides, and when all is said and done, Bucs have it at the TB23 with 1:41 left.
Eric Zeier's pass is almost intercepted but bounces over Williams and it looks good for the Bucs for 28 yards to the NY49. The Tampa fans groan as the on-field official's decision was reversed by the Replay Official who said it was trapped by Williams against the ground.
Now it's 2nd and 10 and Zeier completes to Williams for 8 to the TB31.
On 3rd an 2, E.Zeier shotguns it incomplete to R.Anthony, and his 4th and 2 pass intended for B.Emanuel is intercepted by the Sparks at TB38 and he takes it to the TB10."

Giants take the field with 1:17 left, and Tampa Bay has no time outs.
Yes, and this time the offense isn't supposed to move the ball, so it all works out very well as Kent Graham takes 2 knees and they're out of there.
The Tampa Bay fans go home unhappy, wondering what's going on at the quarterback position, because as unhappy as they were with Dilfer, Zeier was 3-of-11 for 14 yards, didn't make a 1st down on four possessions and also threw an interception."

Anything else Mikefan?
"Kent Graham was 12-of-23 for only 91 yards as his longest completion was just 12 yards. but as Gamegirl said, there were no mistakes as far as turnovers go.
I agree with her that Collins would have done no better. A healthy Gary Brown going up the middle might have produced a few more first downs, but we didn't have him, and yes, Gamegirl, the Tampa Bay defense is really that good.

Giants were 1-14 0n 3rd down conversions and had only 4 first downs.
Sean Bennett rushed 13 times for only 24 yards.
Charles Way rushed 6 times for only 2 yards.
Percey Ellsworth had 2 Interceptions.
Phillipi Sparks had 1 Interception.
Andre Weathers had 1 Interception.

Corey Widmer had 10 tackles and 1 sack.
Jesse Armstead had 7 tackles and 1 sack.

Next Week - September 19
Giants play Washington at home at 1 PM.
Tampa Bay travels to play the Eagles at 1 PM.

Game 1 - Preview

Preseason Game 4 - Preview

Preseason Game 3 - Review


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