TAMPA, Fla. - This is a game the Buccaneers should have put away well before the Giants had a chance to tie it, but the heavily favored Bucs gave the Giants life all game long.
The Bucs' biggest issue was failing to convert on third down. The Bucs managed just four conversions the whole game, causing many promising drives to stall.
It's an area that Bruce Arians wants to see improve.
“I think so," said Arians. "Each game is so different. I think our explosive plays lead to more touchdowns, but our third-down conversions in this ballgame, obviously, we're not very good. We had some potential guys open, we just didn’t make the plays. I think it’s been really solid. We’ve been in the 50% [conversion] range for three or four weeks until last night.”
Antonio Brown will join the team on Wednesday for his first official practice. The Bucs' struggles on offense against the Giants may be representative of why Bruce Arians felt the need to take a chance on Brown.
Bucs receivers consistently failed to get open against a 1-7 Giants secondary.
“I think there were two coverage sacks, but there were guys open," said Arians. "We’ve just got to do a better job deciphering what we’re seeing and getting the ball to the guys. I thought Jaydon [Mickens] played really, really well for us, but it’s not having Chris [Godwin] in there when you’re used to it. Tom [Brady] practices a lot with Jaydon, so that didn’t surprise me. Our third-down conversion rate was not what we’re anticipating.”
Tom Brady extended his comeback record to 30 wins when trailing by 10 points or more in a game. The Bucs tied their best first-half start, matching their Super Bowl season with their sixth win, and despite a less-than-impressive performance against the Giants, Arians believes they're a better team than when they faced New Orleans in the opener.
“I think probably lightyears, offensively for sure," said Arains. "Special teams and the kicking game – we’re a lot better. Defensively should be the same or better because of the way we’re playing. I think [in] two phases – having no preseason games and going into the first week making some mistakes we shouldn’t make on offense, turning the ball over and a couple fiascos in the kicking game – I think we’re a different ballclub now.”
Advertising: Enter the NFL Challenge contest on the FOX Super 6 app for free and you can win the $1M jackpot! Download now!