The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have intercepted Eli Manning three times in the first thirty minutes of play, building a 24-13 lead over the New York Giants. Josh Freeman has been aggressive, finding Vincent Jackson (three receptions, 87 yards, one touchdown) early and often for 104 yards on 7-of-12 passing.
With both teams exchanging field goals as drives stalled in the first quarter, it seemed the Buccaneers were going to need a big break to make some serious noise. And Manning answered by throwing an interception to Mason Foster on the first play of the second quarter.
Freeman wouldn't waste the opportunity either, tossing up a beautiful fade route to Jackson for a 29-yard touchdown.
Giants running back Ahmad Bradshaw would suffer a neck injury on New York's following drive, forcing to Manning to air it out even more. Manning didn't respond well, overthrowing Victor Cruz and instead hitting Buccaneers defensive back Brandon McDonald. McDonald returned the ball 40 yards before a horse collar extended the play even further to set up a Doug Martin eight-yard touchdown scamper.
Manning got some help from reserve running back Andre Brown on the next drive and was finally able to get something going. The Giants would cap off an 80-yard drive with a 23-yard Manning to Nicks touchdown connection.
The Buccaneers didn't do a good job of running out the clock on their final drive, but perhaps it's because they realized what would happen next. After the Giants moved the ball well following the punt, Manning tossed his third interception of the day to Eric Wright. Wright proceeded to return that pick 60 yards to extend the lead to 24-13 with only a few seconds remaining in the half.
The Bucs will get a chance to build on that lead when they receive the ball coming out of the locker room. They might be better suited taking their chances on defense, though, as 21 of their 24 points have been set up by Manning interceptions.
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