East Rutherford, NJ - Eli Manning threw for 510 yards, and Andre Brown's 2-yard run with 31 seconds left lifted the New York Giants from a 14-point deficit to a wild 41-34 victory Sunday over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Manning was the first-half goat and the second-half star in the second-best passing day in team history and tied for seventh in league history. His three first-half interceptions staked the Bucs (1-1) to an 11-point lead, and his monster second half helped the Super Bowl champions avoid a dreaded 0-2 start.
Manning threw touchdowns of 23 yards to Hakeem Nicks, 80 to Victor Cruz and 33 to Martellus Bennett with 3:59 to play to give New York a 34-27 lead. Andre Brown scored on a 2-point conversion run to tie the game after the Cruz score that ended with his trademark salsa.
Josh Freeman tied the game with a 41-yard pass to Mike Williams, but Manning drove New York 80 yards in four plays to win it. A 50-yard completing to Nicks led to Brown's score.
There was an incident between Giants coach Tom Coughlin and former Rutgers and current Bucs coach Greg Schiano at the end of the game. Coughlin yelled at Schiano about a scrum when Manning took a knee after Michael Boley intercepted Freeman's pass in the closing seconds.
Manning was not touched, but there was shoving and maybe even punches in the scrum. Coughlin contended that someone might have been hurt on a play in which teams typically go through the motions.
Manning finished 31 of 51 in helping the Giants gain 604 yards in total offense. Cruz, who attended his grandmother's funeral on Friday, and Hicks, who has battled foot injuries all season and had a foot stomped on in the Giants' 25-point fourth quarter, both had career games.
Cruz finished with 11 catches for 179 yards, both career highs, while Nicks had 10 catches for 199 yards, with the yardage a personal best.
Lawrence Tynes kicked four field goals for the Giants, who played a lot better after a dismal effort in the season-opening 24-17 loss to Dallas 10 days ago. But they were trailing for most of the game.
Freeman finished 15 of 28 for 243 yards and two touchdowns. The first score covered 29 yards to Vincent Jackson. Doug Martin ran 8 yards for a TD and Eric Wright returned the last of Manning's interceptions 60 yards for a touchdown just :08 before halftime.