A starting defense riddled with injuries is usually a bad sign for a NFL team. Luckily for the Giants, a roster made up of players like the ones the Buccaneers sent into battle today is a worse sign. The Giants had no need for Justin Tuck (although he played with a shoulder injury), Kenny Phillips, Aaron Ross or any of the rest of their starters, actually. Their backups could have won the game without much trouble, so with starters in the lineup it meant the first Giants shutout since 2005.
The 24-0 laugher wasn't in doubt after the first Giants drive of the game. Eli Manning led a 12-play, 80-yard drive that featured plenty of precision passing, plenty of Brandon Jacobs and very little defensive competence for the home team. It ended with a good sign for the Giants, a Jacobs touchdown run from within the red zone, and set a tone that there wasn't going to be much in the way of competition.
The Giants just relentlessly pounded the ball down Tampa's throat, resulting in a 76-36 advantage in offensive plays when all was said and done. Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw combined for 40 carries and 196 yards as the Giants were content to just keep churning up yards and taking what was obviously theirs all afternoon.
On the rare moments when the Giants didn't have the ball, the defense made sure they'd have it back soon. They didn't give up a first down until more that half the third quarter was gone and allowed just 86 net yards for the entire game. That's just six more than the opening Giants drive, in case you weren't paying attention, which is why Manning got to take an early seat on the bench, sit back and rest on a capable and, more importantly, efficient performance.
The red zone efficiency was something that the Giants badly needed after two games that saw the offense fall apart as they got close to the opposing end zone. It didn't prove to be a problem this time around, as the Giants scored touchdowns on three of five trips inside the Bucs 20. If that wasn't encouraging enough, two of them came on Manning passes. As well as Eli played against the Cowboys in Dallas last week, his inability to avoid settling for three continued an unsettling trend from last season.
Leaving points on the table made the season-opening victory against the Redskins (the same Redskins that ended the Lions' long losing streak today) more difficult than it needed to be, so it was nice to see the Giants taking advantage of every opportunity. They've got two more potential laughers in the next two weeks against the Chiefs and Raiders, and making life as easy for them as possible will make getting to 5-0 a snap and set them up to be healthy and dangerous when the schedule gets more difficult.