RECAP: Neither team mounted much offense. The Giants marched to the Tampa Bay 40 before losing a fumble on a bad pitch from Kerry Collins to Tiki Barber. The Bucs ended the quarter inside the Giants 25 after winning the field-position game. The most interesting development was the multiple personnel packages coach Jon Gruden used for the Bucs offense, which included everything from running backs Thomas Jones and Michael Pittman lining up as receivers to tight end Ken Dilger lining up as the lone running back.
KEY PLAY: A pair of New York defensive penalties left the Bucs threatening to score as the quarter ended. A 5-yard call for illegal contact gave the Bucs a first down at the Giants 38 and, two plays later, linebacker Brandon Short was flagged for roughing the passer after hitting Brad Johnson in the head on a blitz. The 15-yard infraction left the Bucs at the Giants 22 to start the second quarter.
WORTH REMEMBERING: First questionable call? New York's deep pass on third and 1 from its 49 despite gaining 13 yards on its opening three rushing attempts. ... Jermaine Phillips downed Tom Tupa's second punt at the New York 2.
RECAP: The Bucs put together a 43-yard scoring drive to open the quarter, aided by a crucial face mask penalty. Tampa Bay appeared to stall at the 3 when Brad Johnson was sacked on third down. But defensive tackle Keith Hamilton grabbed Johnson's face mask on the play, giving the Bucs an automatic first down. Thomas Jones scored two plays later for a 7-0 lead with 11:21 left. . . . A Keenan McCardell fumble at the Giants 40 led to New York's first points. Five Kerry Collins passes moved New York to the Bucs 12, but a false start and an incomplete third-down pass forced the Giants to settle for a 30-yard Matt Bryant field goal to cut Tampa Bay's lead to 7-3. . . . The Bucs built a 14-3 lead on a 53-yard catch-and-run touchdown by receiver Charles Lee, his second career TD and his first with the Bucs. . . . The Giants mounted a late threat, thanks to runs of 22 yards by Collins and 20 yards by Tiki Barber. But on second and 7 from the Bucs 17 with 11 seconds left in the half, Collins was sacked by Simeon Rice, fumbled, and Chartric Darby recovered to end the scoring threat.
KEY PLAY: Facing second and 20 at their 47 after a holding call on John Wade, Johnson hit Lee, who was cutting from left to right across the secondary. A key block by McCardell on cornerback Frank Walker gave him some running room, and Lee stepped out of a pair of tackles for the touchdown.
WORTH REMEMBERING: The Giants were inches from tying at 7, but before Amani Toomer could land in the end zone with what would have been a 12-yard catch, Bucs safety Dwight Smith hit Toomer hard, knocking the ball (and Toomer's helmet) loose. New York settled for a field goal.
RECAP: A second fumble by a Buccaneers receiver (Reggie Barlow) set up New York's second field goal, another 30-yarder by Matt Bryant with 9:22 left. The Giants got as close as the Tampa Bay 12 before making it 14-6. . . . The Bucs pieced together a 10-play, 71-yard drive to set up Martin Gramatica's 21-yard field goal, extending Tampa Bay's lead to 17-6. Johnson had completions of 22 yards to Joe Jurevicius and 23 yards to Michael Pittman as the Bucs got as close as the New York 3 before Brad Johnson had to throw away his third-down pass under pressure and settle for the field goal.
KEY PLAY: A long kickoff return and two long gains by Tiki Barber (on an 11-yard catch and a 12-yard run) left the Giants knocking on the Tampa Bay door late in the quarter, facing first down at the Bucs 31. But under pressure from a charging Warren Sapp, Collins lofted a pass to the back of the end zone and Dwight Smith intercepted - his second big play of the night in the north end of Raymond James Stadium.
WORTH REMEMBERING: First boos - with 13:10 left in the third, when embattled Bucs tackle Kenyatta Walker was flagged for holding. . . . Johnnie Harris caused his second fumble of the night, knocking the ball from Barlow after a 12-yard reception. The play set up New York's second field goal. . . . A missed tackle at the New York 24 allowed a 36-yard kickoff return by Melvin Joyce after Tampa Bay's field goal, enabling the Giants to set up shop at their 46.
RECAP: A bad decision by Brad Johnson led to a Giants touchdown, trimming Tampa Bay's lead to 17-13. Under pressure, Johnson's pass for Joe Jurevicius was short and off the mark, allowing cornerback Frank Walker to intercept in full stride and race untouched down the right sideline for the 56-yard score. . . . The Giants had several opportunities to take the lead, but couldn't manage a first down on their last three possessions. The first resulted in a punt. The second, on first down from their 20, ended when John Lynch intercepted a wayward Kerry Collins pass and returned it to the New York 32. And the third resulted in an intentional safety with 1:57 left to give the Bucs their final 19-13 margin.
KEY PLAY: It would have put away the game, giving the Bucs a first down at the New York 15 with 3:56 to play and a four-point lead. But Johnson's 35-yard pass to an open Michael Pittman was thrown too far to the left, forcing Pittman to catch the ball in midair and land out of bounds. Called a completion, the pass was then ruled incomplete after a Giants challenge, and the Bucs had to punt. Lynch's interception came one play later.
WORTH REMEMBERING: Charles Lee made a great catch on the first play of the quarter, a 20-yarder diving toward the sideline. The catch gave the Bucs a first down at midfield. . . . The Bucs had a chance to run out the clock, but needed a foot on fourth down from the Giants 12. They didn't get it, giving the Giants one more chance with 2:15 left. After two incompletions, defensive tackle Warren Sapp got his second sack of the game, and on fourth and 19 from their 3, the Giants opted for an intentional safety. They attempted an onside kick on the free kick, but Tampa Bay recovered.