Saquon Barkley ran for a career-high 142 yards and scored three touchdowns as the New York Giants held off the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 38-35 on Sunday to win consecutive games for the first time since December 2016.
Eli Manning also threw two touchdowns and linebacker Alec Ogletree returned one of the Giants’ four interceptions 15 yards for another score in New York’s biggest point output of the season.
The Giants (3-7) never trailed as Manning found a wide-open Barkley on a 6-yard TD pass on the opening series, and the No. 2 overall pick in the draft scored from 5 yards out on the second possession to give New York the lead for good.
Odell Beckham Jr. had four catches for 74 yards, including an 8-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter.
Tampa Bay (3-7) made things interesting after Jameis Winston replaced a turnover-plagued Ryan Fitzpatrick in the third quarter and led four touchdown drives. The last score came on a 41-yard pass to Mike Evans with 2:22 to play and got the Bucs within 38-35.
The Bucs got the ball back at their 20 with 23 seconds to play, but B.W. Webb intercepted Winston’s long throw down the sideline to ice the win and send Tampa Bay (3-7) to its fourth straight loss.
After Tampa Bay got within 31-28, Manning (17 of 18 for 231 yards) connected with tight end Evan Engram on a 54-yard pass and run on the second play after the kickoff, and Barkley capped the drive with a 2-yard run with 3:52 to play.
The Winston-to-Evans TD pass closed the gap to three points again.
Fitzpatrick scored on a fourth-down 1-yard run for the Tampa Bay, which squandered a chance to score on its opening possession when Fitzpatrick was stopped on a quarterback sneak inside the Giants’ 5.
Evans recovered a fumble in the end zone in the third quarter to start the comeback, Peyton Barber tallied from 5 yards out and Adam Humphries and Evans caught TD passes in the fourth quarter to get the Bucs within three points twice.
Winston finished 12 of 16 for 199 yards and two touchdowns. Barber rushed for 106 yards on 18 carries. Evans had six catches for 120 yards. Fitzpatrick was 13 of 21 for 167 and the three interceptions.
Buccaneers TE O.J. Howard left the game in the fourth quarter with an ankle injury. Giants DL Kerry Wynn left the game in the second half with a concussion.
Buccaneers: Host the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday.
Giants: Travel to Philadelphia to face the Eagles on Sunday.
Source: The Associated Press