Giants stay atop NFC East after bouncing Bucs

The New York Giants (5-4) maintained their tight lead in the NFC East with Sunday's 32-18 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-5). Here's what you need to know:

  1. Eli Manning's first pass of the game, an ill-fated toss to Odell Beckham running a slant, was picked off by Bucs defensive back Sterling Moore. The Giants quarterback bounced back from there to throw a pair of touchdowns before unfurling another killer pick late in the third quarter -- once again on an attempted slant route by ODB. Duplicating last week's six-touchdown outing was never a reality for Manning -- not in a driving Tampa rain -- but he kept the Bucs alive with his poor decision-making. His 5.3 yards per pass on the day landed him deep in the dreaded Gabbert Zone.
  1. Jameis Winston is showing weekly progress. The Bucs rookie quarterback picked his spots in the passing game on Sunday without turning the ball over. Despite scant help from his running backs, Winston showed chemistry with wideout Mike Evans, who finished with 152 yards off eight grabs. Winston (19 of 36 for 247 yards) needs to convert more field-goal drives into touchdowns, but his pass-catchers did him no favors with a handful of killer drops -- some by Evans -- in the second half. Eight games in, the rookie looks comfortable in Dirk Koetter's offense, cycling through his progressions, setting his feet before the throw and searching for targets beyond the sticks. Not known for his mobility, Winston also made this a game with his brilliant, fourth-quarter touchdown scamper, a 10-yard burst capped by the signal-caller's leap into the end zone.
  1. Jason Pierre-Paul's first game action of the year saw the Giants pass rusher tally a pair of tackles over a surprising 47 snaps (76 percent of New York's defensive downs). Wearing a thick, padded mitt over his surgically repaired hand, JPP looked to be in solid shape. He was flagged for an offsides penalty in the second quarter, but Pierre-Paul came closer and closer to Winston as the game edged along. He'll get his first sack of the year sooner than later.
  1. Speaking of Beckham, the Giants didn't hide their desire to showcase the star wideout, with Manning targeting him a season-high 17 times for 105 yards off nine grabs. He can beat double coverage and make all sorts of plays, but ODB and the Giants will be better off when Rueben Randle (5/40) starts handling his side of the bargain.
  1. Doug Martin has been a revelation this season, but the Bucs running back struggled for just 31 yards off 11 carries on Sunday. He vanished for the rest of the first half after losing a fumble on the first play of the second quarter. Fellow back Charles Sims lost a killer fumble of his own on Tampa's opening drive of the third quarter, but made up for it with a marvelous 59-yard run in the final period that set up Winston's rushing score.
  1. The Giants remain very much alive in the sordid NFC East. Their schedule down the stretch is no joke, though, with the Patriots in Week 10 before upcoming tilts against the Jets, Panthers, Vikings and Eagles. Tampa's playoff hopes took a severe hit, but this Bucs team is better than people expected here in mid-November.
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