From Comcast SportsNetEAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- Eli Manning needed a near-record performance to make up for his own mistakes and help the Super Bowl champion New York Giants avoid a second straight loss.Manning threw for 510 yards and three touchdowns and capped the second greatest passing day by a Giants' quarterback by setting up Andre Brown's game-winning 2-yard run with a 50-yard pass that lifted New York to a wild 41-34 victory Sunday over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.The game featured four touchdowns in the final 6:48, and ended with some postgame squabbling between Giants coach Tom Coughlin and Tampa Bay coach Greg Schiano. Coughlin screamed at the former Rutgers coach after Manning was knocked down on the final play because the Bucs went all out to try to force a fumble on a kneel-down."I told some of our young players, you've played in big games in college, but this is something else," Giants defensive captain Justin Tuck said. "This is what you live for. We'd have liked to play better, but if I was a fan at the game and not so close, I would have enjoyed it."Manning, who completed 31 of 51 passes, made it really enjoyable for Giants' fans. The two-time Super Bowl MVP overcame a miserable first half with a 295 yards passing in the second half, tying for the eighth most in NFL history and coming up 3 yards short of Phil Simms' club record. After his three first-half interceptions staked the Bucs (1-1) to an 11-point lead, Manning was nearly flawless when the Giants needed him at his best."Eli hung in. He made a couple of bad plays, but he didn't get discouraged," Coughlin said. "We just kept talking about the character of this team and we finally made some plays and came back."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. After Cruz scored and celebrated with his trademark salsa, Brown scored on a 2-point conversion run to tie the game."Nobody wants to start 0-2, so it was a big win, especially after the first half playing poorly," said Manning, whose previous single-game best was 420 yards passing against Seattle in a loss last season. "After not playing well, it's kind of getting back to that level of playing good football. Really good. No punts, no turnovers. Some big-time plays and stepping up when we needed it, that was fun to have."In 1951, Los Angeles' Norm Van Brocklin threw for a record 554 yards against New York.Josh Freeman tied the game at 34-all with a 41-yard pass to Mike Williams, but Manning drove New York 80 yards in four plays to win it. A 50-yard completion to Nicks led to Brown's score, which came one play after he kneeled at the 2 when Tampa Bay was letting him score."They made plays. It's a game of inches," Schiano said. "They were able to make them. We were close and we didn't. Just got to do a better job all around, coaching, playing.Schiano defended the way the Bucs played on the final snap, saying his team will play through the final whistle, which came one play after Michael Boley intercepted Freeman's pass at the Giants 30 in the closing seconds.Manning was not hurt, but there was shoving and maybe even punches in the scrum."It was a little bit of a cheap shot," Manning said. "We're taking a knee in a friendly way and they're firing off. It's a good way to get someone hurt."Manning's effort helped the Giants gain 604 yards and hold the ball for 33:29. 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.The Giants are the second team in NFL history to have a 500-yard passer and two 150-yard receivers in the same game. Van Brocklin's '51 Rams were the first."This team always says we're going to come back. It's just a confidence level you've got to have," Nicks said. "Eli is an elite quarterback, so there's a confidence that he can get it done."Lawrence Tynes kicked four field goals for the Giants, who played a lot better after a season-opening 24-17 loss to Dallas 10 days ago. But they trailed 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, who had five catches for 128 yards. Doug Martin (20 for 66) 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."It hurts, but I still believe in my teammates, and the coaching, and the staff," Buccaneers defensive lineman Michael Bennett said. "It's going to come together and it's going to be something great."The Bucs turned Manning's three first-half interceptions into 21 points, with the most crushing pick being Wright's 60-yard return for a 24-13 lead. Manning was moving New York into position for a field goal when Wright simply reached up and snatched Manning's short pass to Cruz. He then weaved his way through a logjam and down the sideline.Linebacker Mason Foster got the first interception at the Giants 28 early in the second quarter when Manning didn't put enough air under a touch pass to Bennett.Three plays later, Freeman showed poise under pressure and lofted an arcing pass that Jackson caught in stride for a touchdown.Backup cornerback Brandon McDonald got the second interception as the replacement officials missed a holding call on Barber against Cruz. McDonald returned it 40 yards and a personal foul moved the ball to the 13. Martin scored two plays later.Manning's 23-yard touchdown pass to Nicks closed the gap to 17-13, but Wright ended the half with his big play."He made some throws," Barber said. "They made more plays than we did. One more, in fact."NOTES:Wright's interception return was the 40th defensive TD for the Bucs since 2000, the third most in the NFL behind Baltimore and Green Bay, who are tied at 42. ...Tampa Bay PK Connor Barth made field goals of 45 and 52 yards and now has made 20 straight. ...Foster led the Bucs with 13 tackles. ...The Giants had two sacks with linebacker Chase Blackburn and Jason Pierre-Paul recording them. ...Pierre-Paul led New York with eight tackles. ..The Giants rushed for 94 yards against a Bucs' defense that limited Carolina to 10 yards in the season opener.
SAN JOSE – Despite what was technically their sixth loss in the last eight games, the Sharks seemed to put more stock in the point they gained in a 2-1 overtime loss to the Bruins on Sunday night at SAP Center, rather than the one they left on the table.
They have that luxury.
The Sharks will enter their bye week five points ahead of Edmonton and Anaheim for first place in the Pacific Division, and figure they’re due for some time off after a short summer followed by a World Cup for some, and a brutal condensed NHL schedule for all.
“[We’ve] showed up and played hard,” Joe Pavelski said. “We’ve been in a lot of games. Games we’ve lost, we’ve battled. There hasn’t been any cheat in [our] game. Defensively, we’ve been strong. There’s a lot of good areas in our game that we like right now.”
Playing in the second of a back-to-back against a Bruins team had was coming off of its own bye week, the Sharks fell behind 1-0 on a first period goal by Ryan Spooner, but notched a Patrick Marleau equalizer in a second period in which they outshot the Bruins 16-9. An evenly played third period gave way to overtime, where Brad Marchand scored on a breakaway to give the Bruins their fourth straight win since changing head coaches.
The Sharks spoke before the weekend about finishing the final two games strong before the respite. They ended up gaining three of four points, including Saturday’s 4-1 win in Arizona, and were pleased with their effort against the Bruins as they capped off 10 games in 20 days since the All-Star break.
“It was an important push into this break,” Pete DeBoer said. “To go in up [five points] on the next closest team is a real testament to our group.”
Paul Martin said: “I thought we played pretty well, considering the back-to-back with some travel, and a team that was waiting for us.”
Perhaps the most encouraging performance came from Martin Jones, who was one of a number of Sharks players that was looking particularly fatigued lately. The goaltender entered the game with a 1-0-2 record, 4.46 goals-against average and .837 save percentage in his last four starts, including getting pulled after the first period in Boston just 10 days ago.
Jones was impressive, though, making a vital pad stop on the dangerous David Pastrnak in front of the net midway through the third period to keep it a 1-1 score.
“It was a good game. Two teams playing hard,” Jones said. “We can take a lot of positives from that one. It was a good hard game, just didn’t go our way tonight.”
Overtimes have been an issue lately, though. The Sharks have lost their last four games decided during the three-on-three, all coming within the last two weeks. As satisfied as they are with their cushion in the division, it could have been cushier.
Against the Bruins, Tuukka Rask denied Brent Burns on a two-on-one in overtime, and Marchand scored off of the ensuing faceoff, blowing the zone past Pavelski and Marc-Edouard Vlasic and corralling a long toss from Torey Krug before sliding it home.
“We get to overtime, shootouts – we expect to get that extra point,” Pavelski said. “We haven’t found it lately. We’ll just keep looking for it.”
DeBoer said: “The points are critical, they’re valuable. I don’t read a lot into [overtime decisions], we’ve won our share over the time I’ve been here. We had a chance to win tonight, too. … I concentrate on the effort, and I thought we got better as the game went on.”
Being focused and energized, as they have been most of the season to this point, shouldn’t be a problem when the season resumes next Saturday in Vancouver. The Sharks are in prime position to win their first division title since 2010-11, and a return trip to the Stanley Cup Final is a distinct possibility.
Losing six of eight won’t be nearly as acceptable coming out of the break as it apparently is going into it, but that’s not something to worry about now, even after another defeat.
“There are some games you wish you could get back and get those points, but we’re still in a good spot,” Marleau said.
There was a lot of complaining about the lack of defense in this year’s All-Star Game, as though last year’s All-Star Game didn’t happen.
But the Most Valuable Player, which was putatively Anthony Davis for scoring a record 52 points in front of his home crowd, was actually the man with the fewest minutes of all.
Yes, the man, the god, The DeMarcus Cousins. The Very Definition Of A Sacramento King, By Becoming An Ex-Sacramento King.
Cousins, now the second-best player on the New Orleans Pelicans, played only two minutes Sunday, the lowest total by any All-Star since Connie Hawkins in 1971, ostensibly because he told head coach Steve Kerr he was a little ouchy, but more likely because the Kings were frantically trying to trade him and didn’t want him hurting himself in a game with even no contact whatsoever.
Not during the All-Star Break, mind you. DURING THE ALL-STAR GAME ITSELF! Adam Silver must have been vomiting hedgehogs into a bucket at the very thought.
As it turns out, the Kings, who have sworn up and down that they would never consider trading Cousins, did that very thing, closing a deal to send Cousins and forward Omri Casspi to the New Orleans Pelicans for a first and second-round pick in the upcoming draft, Tyreke Evans, Langston Galloway (who is likely to be waived in true Kings fashion) and 2016 first-rounder Buddy Hield.
You remember Buddy Hield. He’s the guy who clocked Cousins in the joy division going around a Cousins pick during the last Pelicans-Kings game, and got tossed for doing so.
In other words, the Kings prefer the guy who punched their best player in the goolies to their best player. This is so Kingsy.
But on the back end, Cousins’ agent, Jarinn Akana, said Cousins is disinclined to sign a long-term contract with his next team, making him a rental who could some day return to Sacramento in a Groundhog's Day remake that would cause the Oroville Dam to get up and walk off the job.
This too is so Kingsy.
This is the greatness of the Kings. They blew up the All-Star weekend during the game itself. They blew it up trying to get rid of their best player when they are within fighting distance of their first playoff spot in 11 years. They blew it up after saying they weren’t considering trading the dynamite at all.
Kingsy, Kingsy, Kingsy. It’s Kingstastic!
And the best part of it all is that the trade leaves everyone deflated and confused and ultimately angry, while the Kings undervalued their only marketable player to invest in a future they have mocked for decades.
You know what we;’re talking about. Gimme a K! Gimme an I! Gimme an N-G-S, throw an extraneous Y on the end of it what does it spell?
It’s remarkable thing, being a King. While we have all amused ourselves with the machinations of the thick-as-two-short-planks New York Knicks and Carmelo Anthony, the Kings have been Kinging this way for most of the last 35 years.
And now, they have decided to feed their obsession with the Golden State Warriors by running even further away from them, by tossing their only bargaining chip for a future player or players that they typically ruin, and Buddy Hield, who just found out that even at these prices life can still be cruel.
Give them their due, though. The Kings could win the NBA title and hock the trophy. They could be invited to the White House when the President is off playing golf. They could increase their Forbes valuation to $5 billion and declare bankruptcy.
Because they are the Kings, and that sentence has rarely meant more than it does now.
Not because they traded Cousins. Trades happen all the time. Wilt Chamberlain got traded twice.
But the Kings handled this with all the skill of a pickpocket with feet where his hands should be. They lied unconvincingly. They talked hard business and ended up with a nebulous deal that guarantees nothing except more speculation come summer. And they have nothing else to trade between now and . . . well, whenever they stopped being so damned Kingsy.
For New Orleans, it is a roll of the dice, an attempt to make the playoffs with a two-headed monster in Cousins and Davis. It may be too much to giver, but without knowing how the Kings will screw up those picks, it remains speculative at best.
Indeed, this is subtraction by subtraction, the standard Kings deal. And whatever the Kings have gained in this trade (hey, you never know), we remain safe in saying that they did it in such a Kingsy way that they may never top this.
Until the next time they do anything at all. Never doubt the power of Kingsiness.