For the better part of three-plus quarters, the Giants made their fans feel warm and satisfied on a gray, chilly day at MetLife.
Like I said, they will pass the Tampa Test. And they did.
The trust is back.
This was the Giants’ offense that everyone has been waiting to emerge with an efficient Eli Manning who really was given time to throw, and a hard-running and explosive Saquon Barkley.
Their 38 points was only the second time they broke the 30-mark this year, and only the third since Tom Coughlin’s final game on Jan. 3, 2016.
Manning was sacked four times, but they blended into the background during the time they built a 31-14 lead early in the final quarter.
A nearly 400 yards of total offense among nine receivers was an early holiday present.
Manning was impeccable with his pair of touchdowns and has seven touchdowns and two picks in his last four games.
Two straight wins and the momentum is building.
Problem is, the defense still hasn’t caught up. There were enough issues that allowed 35 points and a squirmy feeling until B.W. Webb officially ended it with an interception.
But they did have plenty of moments.
Defensively, Big Blue swiped four interceptions, one a pick six by Alec Ogletree to start the second half that nearly sealed the game.
They did apply pressure on Bucs’ starter Ryan Fitzpatrick for three pics and a sack.
Still, it does leave some accountability issues that Jameis Winston can come off the bench for the first time in three weeks and complete 12 of 19 passes for 199 yards and generate 28 points in the final quarter.
But everyone will look at the bigger picture: two consecutive wins.
The trust is back.
This wasn’t an offense a few weeks ago that could outscore the defense. Head coach Pat Shurmur did some constructive tweaking during their bye week, and it has showed.
For 60 minutes, the Giants were energized and confident.
Barkley got the work he needed, and he high-stepped and juked his way to 142 yards on 27 carries, the most yardage by any back in a game this season.
With this type of effort, they can win six or seven games.
It will play themselves out of a top five draft pick, but it brings their respectability back.
Now it on to Philadelphia in a suddenly very winnable situation against an Eagles team that was dissected by the Super Bowl favorite Saints.
Even though it’s only three wins, the hauntings and tracings from the 2017 season and early this year are rapidly disappearing.
In the current state of the two football teams, you can get excited with a 3-7 team.
There will be more to come. Trust Beckham and rest of Shurmur’s boys in blue.
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